By Renee Fisher
Life in the Boomer Lane lives in a house that was built in 1912. It was built by someone who had very interesting notions of what a house should be. One of them was that there should be no access to the outside from the kitchen. Several rooms had no obvious purpose at all. The living room, for example, was configured in such a way as being useful only as a hallway. Each room had as many doors or doorways as possible, eliminating most useful wall space.
Although electricity had been invented by then, the person who built the house clearly believed it was a passing fad. The builder allotted one outlet per room, usually in random places. The one outlet in the kitchen was halfway up a small wall, near the entryway to the dining room.
Over the years, LBL has spent time and money reconfiguring the house to be something that might actually be inhabited by human beings. One task has been adding and/or enlarging outlets. The bathroom remained the last room with one outlet.
That one outlet in her bathroom had become extremely overloaded. It’s one outlet was reserved for an overly large nightlight. The other had a chunky multi-outlet extension cord, so that LBL’s hair dryer and flat-iron could be plugged in at the same time.
Last week, LBL realized that she had created a unwieldy mess of extension cords, regular cords and hair appliances. She overreacted. She pulled everything out of the outlet, including the nightlight, which had done nothing except be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“We need a new nightlight!” she declared to Now Husband. This one is big and ugly!” Now Husband, relieved that this demand could be resolved for less than $10,000, went to the neighbourhood hardware store and purchased a new nightlight. It was even larger than the first one. Unacceptable. A subsequent nightlight was small and unobtrusive, but was orange. Unacceptable. LBL requested one that would be both small and white. In the meantime, there would be no nightlight.
During that night, LBL went to the bathroom. It was do dark, she couldn’t find her way around. She went out, grabbed the nightlight in another room and returned to the bathroom. She attempted to plug in the new nightlight, but because it was so dark, she couldn’t. After about a dozen tries, she gave up and turned on the big overhead light. By this time, she was wide awake.
“I have found the perfect nightlight”, Now Husband said, later that day. LBL was filled with joy, and yawned her approval.
The new night-light arrived and was plugged in. During the night, LBL made her usual foray into the bathroom. Half-asleep, she stumbled into the bathroom, toward the inviting light. Within a moment, the light seemed to turn from white to blue. LBL squinted, and assumed she must be imagining it. Suddenly the blue turned to green, then to yellow. LBL now doubted her sanity. Then the light seemed to go red, then turn off completely. Now LBL was wide awake, and, whatever cylinders she had left, were firing at top speed.
She watched another cycle. She watched again. And again. And again. She lost count of how many times she watched. The nightlight had placed her bathroom into a time machine and hurtled it back to the 1970s. For a moment she suspected she could see John Travolta hip-swaying into the room. At such point as LBL felt the overwhelming urge to do the Hustle, she grabbed the nightlight and pulled it out of the socket.
She fled back to the bedroom. “The nightlight!” she yelled, waving it overhead. “It’s alive!” Now Husband rolled toward her. “It’s just a nightlight,” he yawned. “No. It’s a freaking disco,’ LBL answered. “Where did you get it, Party City?” She spent the rest of the night with a blanket over her head.
LBL still doesn’t understand why it would be so difficult to get a small nightlight, one that wouldn’t take over half the wall or be too bright or harken back to a time when Donna Summer was riding high. She also doesn’t understand why she can’t just sleep through the night and have no use for a nightlight. But that is the stuff of another blog entirely.