I have to buy lightbulbs today. To some this might seem like a simple, mindless task of daily living. To me, it’s become a task full of trauma, gnashing of teeth, and denial.
Once upon a time, in the good old energy-wasting days of the 90’s, you’d go to your local hardware or discount retail store and see shelf after shelf full of beautiful 40, 60, 75 and 100 watt soft-light incandescent lightbulbs in clever, multi-bulb packages all eager to jump off the shelf into your cart. It was a splendid sight. Okay – maybe I’m exaggerating… But there were lots of bulbs to choose from and they were all pretty cheap. Except the extended life ones. I always wondered how “extended” their lives really were. I mean, who keeps track?
Now, I have to ask a store clerk where the incandescent bulbs are on the light bulb shelves because I can’t find them. I think they try to hide the few they have for kicks just to frustrate those of us of a certain age. Then, when you find them, you have a choice between two 4 packs of 60 watt bulbs and a 2 pack of 100 watt bulbs. How did this happen? When did this happen?
A number of years ago, I do remember half listening to a news story about the possible phasing out of incandescent light bulbs in favor of the more energy efficient, but more expensive LED, florescent, and halogen bulbs. Dismissing it as hearsay nonsense that would never make it past our Tea Party/Libertarian “defenders of the right to buy any lightbulb we damn well please”, I ignored it.
But The Energy Independence and Security Act was indeed signed into law by then President George W. Bush in 2007. What?? No wonder the Tea Party mobilized for the 2008 election…
Evidently the 75 and 100 watt incandescents were phased out in 2013. The 40 and 60 bulbs are the latest to go as of the beginning of 2014. Oh, the humanity! I’ve moved four times since 2007, restarted my little business twice plus one of my sons got married. I’ve been busy, but I honestly didn’t think I was that THAT preoccupied. I don’t know how I missed this. I could have stocked up!
Have you seen the light from those LED, florescent and halogen bulbs? Harsh, glaring and unnatural. Ugly. Flashbacks to my Junior High girl’s bathroom [shiver] and every morgue scene you’ve ever seen on film. And you know how those corpses looked…
Thirty years ago, this would not have been a personal crisis. However, I’m at an age now where gentle, friendly lighting is my friend. A very good friend. My best friend. Possibly a lover. As a teenager, I remember hearing stories about Doris Day being filmed thought gauze. Now I understand. With age comes great wisdom and insight, but also the need for gentle, soft lighting.
I’m a fervent supporter of policies/legislation that deal with environmental protection, finding “green” alternatives and developing clean, renewable sources of energy. But, seriously, everything has it’s limits. Oh, I know that the “new” ugly bulbs pay for themselves in two years and have an unnaturally long life. I’m sure some of the bulbs I buy today will outlive me. There’s my happy thought for the day… And I realize that I’ll be saving money every month while becoming more energy efficient and helping to do my share to reduce toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants. It’s everything I support. I just don’t want my house looking like my Junior High bathroom. Or a morgue.
Mr. DeMille, looks like I’ll never be ready for that close-up unless I can get some gauze. Lots of gauze.