Flip the Switch

If you have a switch, I can flip it. You should consider that light as good as turned on. When it comes to illuminating a room, the only thing I do better than flicking from “OFF” to “ON” is yawn or blink.

But all of that lighting hinges on one simple requirement:

The light has to work.

Sadly, that was not the case as my roommate informed me rather unceremoniously that the kitchen would be in an in determinant state of darkness. Both bulbs had flashed their filament for the final time and in his effort to remove the busted bits, remnants remained in the sockets.

My Friday morning alarm clock, closely followed by my lighting Achilles, started in on me early. The kitchen would be dark this weekend, at least until my roommate returned Sunday evening (part of a safety precaution not to finagle with electricity whilst home alone.)

If you haven’t filled an ice cube tray by the light of the open refrigerator door, you can’t possibly appreciate what I’m talking about.

And still, like a moth to a flame… except in this case there was neither moth nor flame, there was only my incessant light switch flicking — until I realized the light wasn’t going to turn on — because we hadn’t changed the bulbs yet.

Rather than think before I reached for the molded plastic toggle, I would snap it back and forth, growing temporarily angry that my environment wasn’t instantly artificially sunnier before realizing that it just wasn’t going to happen.

But still, in my mind, I thought, “that light is going to turn on. I’m great at turning on lights.”

It did not turn on.

Finally, under my direct supervision, my roommate, a chair and a pair of pliers were able to let there be light.

Shortly thereafter, the Internet went down. I don’t mean that the router was on the fritz or the snow had caused some catastrophe to the cable network. No, something called a DNS stopped doing its job… for several hours across six states.

I would refresh a web page, but to no avail. Shoot an email reply I had been putting off for too long? Have to let it sit in the inbox for awhile instead. Twitter feed? Going to have to count on the ol’ blackberry for that.

My illumination, both the light that wouldn’t light and the deficient access to the information super highway made it clear that I don’t quite think enough.

I’m usually thinking about something often more complex than blinking or yawning, but not having to worry about where the information will be accessed from or the brightness will come from or how it got there to begin with, was absent.

Before they put a light bulb in the fridge, Thomas Edison had to invent it. He had to think about it. Microprocessors and vast networks and facebooks had to be thought of before they could be missed when they weren’t there.

I don’t quite know what the next thing we don’t realize we’ll reach for instinctively and won’t be available to us will be, but I don’t think it hurts to think about what it could be.

Keep thinking.