Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Changing Lightbulbs

I do not like changing light bulbs. It's an absurdly simple task, no? The subject of innumerable yuks, often of the ethnic variety. I can tell you that this one Brit needs help when it comes to even this simplest of household chores.

My heart sinks at once when Ellie takes note--she's more attentive to these things than I--that one of our ceiling bulbs has blown. It used to be--remember?--that all it took was to unscrew the bulb that dangled from the fixture and screw another one back in. Those days, friends, are gone. First, can anyone account for the sheer number of different types of bulb they use these days? It seems that every socket, or at least every socket in each different circuit of lights, has a different configuration, a different voltage, or wattage, or whatever. (I never understood the difference, nor why it mattered; as for amperes, well...) So first you have to find the right bulb for the particular socket where it needs to be replaced. No mean feat. We seem to have drawers full of the things, indoor and outdoor, each in a different location--and of course the one you want is the one you fail to find after your half-hour search. That means a trip to the hardware store, and more bulbs to add to the collection. You probably had the right one in the first place--you just couldn't find the damn thing.

Once you have the right bulb in hand, you have to secure it in the socket. Again, unscrewing and screwing back in are things of the past. There's the push and pull, the push and twist, the tiny prongs to be inserted into tiny receptacles--and what's the chance you'll find that it's a different size? There are bulbs you can touch, and bulbs you can't. The bulbs you can't, you have to hold in a handkerchief, which of course obscures the holes supposed to receive the pins. This operation can take another half-hour of your precious time, just when you wanted to get down to some work.

Oh, and lest I forget... the ladders. All this juggling of light bulbs and finding of sockets has to be done, inevitably at the top of a ladder. I don't know about you, but I'm dead scared of heights, and two steps up the ladder is already a dizzying height in my experience. One step up, and my head begins to whirl. Two steps, and I'm ready to come crashing down to the floor. Picture me this morning, then, on a short ladder, juggling a bulb (screw-in, thank God!) on a suction cup at the end of a long pole and trying to fix it into a socket twenty feet above my head. Picture me on that same short ladder in the hallway, trying vainly to get the pins of one of those nasty little halogen jobs stuck in and twisted in just the right way to hold.

Lucky it's Wednesday. Wednesday Joe the gardener comes by to help us tend the yard. This Wednesday he was called into service as Joe the light bulb changer. Without him, doubtless, we'd be living eternally in darkness. (Memo to self: change light bulbs, in the future, only on a Wednesday.)


mandt said...

JHC Peter, you have a gardener to screw in a light bulb. I'm laughing my ass off. Brilliantly funny :)

Green Monk said...


Gary said...

The solution is be a Hollywood Director. You place the light bulb in the socket and the world turns.

robin andrea said...

I actually sympathize, Peter. I don't think I could do it either.