No Close Ups!


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.

104 thoughts on “No Close Ups!

  1. I know the new lighting makes my eyes crawl and my skin green. After learning here, about Doris Day and gauze I think I’ll wrap myself up in some before heading out the front door. I’ve been looking for blogs about getting older and kicking butt – so thanks – your blog is terrific, perfect and age-appropriate 😉
    new blogger with errant greys

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So happy I just found you on Freshly Pressed…this is so perfect in so many ways! I learned long ago that bar light is my friend…hehehe. At home I keep lots of candles and find that the soft glow of the TV is flattering as well!
    Love your writing!


  3. I should send you the energy-saving lightbulb we have in our utility room. It takes a good 10 minutes to warm up and emit anything more than a candlelight flicker of light – not good when you’re trying to sort washing, but I suspect great for making any grey hairs/wrinkles/sagging from being noticeable.
    I guess it’s better that we have a planet that still allows us to light bulbs – and breathe and have water, etc etc – but I do wish the new ones worked properly.


  4. “They used to shoot Shirley Temple through gauze. They should shoot me through linoleum.” — Tallulah Bankhead, talking about “Die, Die My Darling” (1965)
    I’m 60, my eyesight is poor, and I have enough wrinkles to qualify for the “vaseline filter”. That’s what they used more often by Doris’ day. But I digress…
    What your amusing post is really talking about is not brightness (lumens) but COLOR TEMPERATURE (Kelvin). Incandescent bulbs for household use burned at 2700-3000K, which is a warm yellow light source. If you ever took snapshots without a flash indoors by room light in the days before digital cameras, you’ve seen how it looks on film. Most “energy saver” mercury fluorescent bulbs give off a more green-blue light, which is a slightly higher color temperature. However, halogens burn at an even higher color temp, closer to sunlight (5000K+) which is a blue-white light.
    You can still buy cheap light bulbs that will make your room (if not your face) look just like you remember. Look for internet sources, and make sure the spec is for 2700-3000K, no matter what the wattage is.


  5. There was a time when age was respected. It was good to have the marks of aging, so the young folks knew from whom they should take advice. I still think aging is a good thing, as the alternative is the end and another beginning. I used to worry about how I looked, but there is little to be done without going under the knife, and even then, every body knows you are old. I say if you got age flaunt it. I am 72 and feel as good physically and mentally as I ever did, so if people don’t like the way I look, tough shit!


  6. I have the same problem. Don’t wish to take me a picture of our ‘little bulb storage’ at home. It happened because we bought plenty of light bulbs wrong size or terrible light for our eyes and more. We could light a whole street for months 🙂


  7. Reblogged this on angel31260's Blog and commented:
    I like that aging gracefully my ass ! Just what I did when I read that ! Laughed my ass off ! I look at getting older your age number is only a number, your life is what you do and your happiness everyone should look at age is just that a number ! You want to know why? Because life is to dammit to short !


    • As I said earlier – aging isn’t for the faint of heart! Congrats on your upcoming milestone! And I’m really just a pseudo-blogger so I don’t know what POV means… I’m actually lucky I figured out how to reply to comments… Oh my.


    • I am always wondering how is it possible, that when i am shopping any clothes and trying them in the store dressing booth it looks so awesome. I LOOK SO AWESOME! Nearly to supermodel!
      And then i come home, dressing it again. Sometimes my face changes from happy smile to a terrifying grimace. It’s because of the light! The light in the dressing booths make you look more sexy, gorgeous and awesome even you would be trying an empty bag from potatoes.


      • But I’m sure it is a lovely potato bag… It is pretty amazing how much lighting changes how you look – what a racket! There must be a degree offered somewhere in “fairy tale, happily ever after” lighting. I wonder where you can hire one of those folks??


      • Hilarious! So true. I might just try that next time if I can find a store that sells potato sacks. I, too, have spent many hours admiring myself in store changing rooms. I always looks so beautiful – like a supermodel as you say 🙂


  8. This is so funny, I’ve just spent the day with my sister. We are both now women of a certain age, in need of many layers of gauze and yet we are wondering how and when did this happen! There is only one option and that is to laugh and carry on!


  9. Your blog made me smile, I am a keen gardener and am in desperate need of some sort of poly filler! I heard an expression this year – some people just simply go to seed sooner than others….that’s me!


  10. I gnash my teeth when shopping for simple light bulbs. Why are the wattages 38, 57, etc? Grrrrrr. I hate the so-called “long-life” flourescent spirally things and resent paying a king’s ransom for them. I’ve YET to make one last 1 or 2 years and I detest the quality of light that they give off. I find it difficult to apply make-up, especially in hotel rooms, too. All the global whining seems to be drowning out the will of the people. I really am happy to see this post…for a while there, I thought I was the only one upset about these things.


    • I get it and will use the new bulbs just because it’s the right thing to do, but I’m hoping some brilliant person will hear our cries and figure out how to make them energy efficient AND flattering! It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to do. And next time I buy one of those bulbs with the 5 or 10 year guarantee, I swear I will keep the receipt and be on them like flies on you know what if it burns out before then. If I’m still alive. Any, happy thought!


  11. So true – I’d rather live by candlelight than under stadium floodlights that take 10 minutes to ‘warm up’. My boyfriend’s family stockpiled a whole load of proper lightbulbs when they started to phase them out. Yes they’re sickeningly organised. And yes we ‘steal’ some when we go to visit. I think you can still pick them up from eBay if you’re looking 🙂


  12. it’s been said … but i too lol-ed. i am trying to age gracefully. failing miserably but trying non the less. thank you


  13. As a supplier of light fittings, the cooler tones of light omitted by 3000+kelvin lamps has led to a huge surge of Sales of Vintage filament 2200k warm white lamps. Designers just won’t accept the cold tones and rightly so. Also huge increase in people looking for Amber, Gold or Warm Cream lampshades to combat the onset of depression due to cold tone living environments.


  14. Had to share this on Facebook for my mother…she has been stocking up on the old light bulbs for a couple of years. We laugh and tell her that someday after she dies, we’ll be cleaning out her house and finding light bulbs stashed in every drawer, closet, nook and cranny that she can stick them in.


  15. I’m 69 and work in an emergency room where the lighting makes me want to drape my whole head in gauze. It takes a certain amount of humility to repeatedly subject my self esteem to this environment…or perhaps it is simply the reality of the paycheck that motivates. Thankfully there are no mirrors in the place!


    • Still working at 69 in an incredibly important role under bad lighting… I think you’re my new hero! And heck yeah – no mirrors is a serious plus! When there isn’t a mirror around, I’m incredibly beautiful and look 35 years younger!


    • Wow, thanks! I love that you laughed out loud! The best ones are the ones that take you by surprise and make you laugh so hard that the soft drink you are drinking shoots out through your nose… That’s my ultimate writing goal!


  16. Pingback: Love is love | Aging Gracefully My Ass

  17. Pingback: Love is love part deux | Aging Gracefully My Ass

  18. Pingback: Close up time? | Aging Gracefully My Ass

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