I’m hoarding lightbulbs.
I can’t help it. Every time I go to a supermarket, I buy more incandescent lightbulbs. Beginning in 2012, they will no longer be manufactured in the U.S., they will vanish from store shelves, and all I will have are the bulbs I can accumulate between now and then.
Yes, I know lightbulb hoarding is a shameful thing to admit. In every other way, I try to be environmentally responsible. I drive a hybrid car and scowl at gas-guzzling SUVs. I turn in ink and toner cartridges for recycling. I carry even the tiniest scrap of clean paper to the recycling bin and hate it when paper is so soiled that I have to toss it in the trash. Bottles, caps, cans, anything and everything that can be recycled goes into the bins.
I’m also in favor of saving energy by using more efficient bulbs. In principle. But this is where environmental consciousness collides with personal needs. Fluorescent lighting gives me headaches. It makes my eyes hurt. The longer I’m subjected to it, the worse I feel. I’ve read that this reaction is caused by flickering that’s invisible to the eye but nevertheless has an effect on the body and brain. Whatever the reason, the ill effects I suffer from fluorescent lighting are real and unmistakable.
And I hate the way it looks. Weak, watery, with a blue-green tinge. Manufacturers can give fluorescent bulbs the outward appearance of incandescents, and they can claim fluorescents have equivalent light output, but I have yet to find one that is bright enough and provides the kind of warm, soothing light an incandescent does. We already have fluorescents in the fixtures outside our two back doors, and the low level of light they provide is noticeable, regardless of their “equivalent” wattage. When a fluorescent is installed in every lamp and fixture in the house, I will feel deprived, trapped in a dim, cold place that will be bright only when the sun streams through the windows. I expect to have a constant headache. How will I write under these circumstances?
I have read that professional studio photographers are concerned because they’re being robbed of the best lighting for their indoor work. Photographers may be doing a lot more Photoshopping of images if they’re forced to shoot in fluorescent light. Maybe some of them are hoarding bulbs right now too, just like me.
I will collect incandescents and I will use them until the last one burns out. Maybe by then the manufacturers will have found a way to warm up fluorescent light and make the lamp bulbs brighter and less irritating to the eye than they are now.
How do you feel about fluorescents? Are you prepared to screw them into every socket in your house and never look back fondly at the days when a lamp cast a a soothing, natural glow over a room? Or are you collecting incandescents against the dreaded 2012 date when they will disappear from stores forever?