I don’t like the dark. I’m not afraid of the dark. Not really anyway. I just don’t like the dark. It’s more of a “fear of the unknown” thing. And it’s not really fear, exactly, I just don’t like it. And since I don’t like the unknown, and there is a lot of “unknown” in the dark, I don’t like the dark.
But I should also say that I’m talking about utter darkness. Complete darkness. Can’t see my hand in front of my face darkness. I don’t like that.
These days it’s not really something I often have to worry about. And I’ll bet you don’t either. Turn off all your lights and look around. With modern technology being what it is, I bet you’d be hard pressed not to be able to see clearly enough to get around easily. So many appliances and devices in our homes these days have some sort of light on them, even when they’re “turned off”.
In my living room, there are two lights on the front of my printer. The modem which sits on top of my DVR on my TV stand has five lights lit or blinking at all times. There’s a clock on top of my mantle that is back-lit with an orange glow. Even my laptop, when completely powered down has a light next to the port the plug is in.
In my kitchen the stove, microwave and iPod dock all have illuminated clocks on their faces. When the automatic timer has activated it, my Keurig machine has a back-lit LCD display that is quite bright.
In my bedroom, right now there are three separate alarm clocks, all with lit faces, not to mention the face of my iPhone which is often turned on and lit up. There’s even still a VCR in there with a lit LED display.
There happens to be a nice soft, blue night-light in the hallway which was there when I moved in and I never bothered to unplug.
Add to all that, the street light right outside my front door which shines through the windows in the kitchen, living room and bedroom, even through the closed plantation shutters on all the windows.
I have ambient light, all the time. Not enough to bother me, but enough to keep me comfortable in my surroundings.
I am also not a morning person. I do not rise easily. I do not spring out of bed at the first sound of the alarm clock and I am not raring to go with my day. It takes time for me to be awake enough to get out of bed. (This is the reason there are multiple alarm clocks in my room.) The clock on my night stand goes off at 6:30 and tunes to my favorite morning radio show. The clock on the dresser across the room goes off at 7:00 with an obnoxious beep that gradually grows louder until it is acknowledged. I throw the covers back and slowly push myself into an upright position before dragging my self just far enough out of the bed to reach across and snooze the clock. Then I plop back down on the bed, pull the covers over my body and I’m out cold again in seconds. Nine minutes later we repeat this process and I crawl back into bed slightly more awake than the last time. Nine minutes after that we go through the whole thing again and nine minutes after that and nine minutes after that. With each interval I am a little bit more awake.
At some point, I lie in bed, listening to the radio show, 75% awake and 25% not while I wait for the alarm to go off again and I debate whether this will be the time I get up and stay up.
And that’s were we were today, sometime in the second quarter of the seven o’clock hour, when suddenly the radio show went silent. I opened one eye and reached out to turn the radio back on when I noticed that the clock face was blank. That’s when I realized that when the radio went silent I had also heard a downward sliding groan of noise outside.
There was a momentary resurgence of power and then the downward sliding groan again and everything was silent. The power in the entire neighborhood had gone out. I called PG&E to be sure and they were already aware of it.
At 7:20 in the morning it is not exactly dark around here. The sunlight pierced the louvers of the shutters and the house was sufficiently illuminated. And yet, with out all the random ambient lights and without all the soft hums of electronic components, it seemed oddly dark.