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The act of illuminating can be a dark topic

It was a validating visit.

And it unfolded when a friend stopped by for an impromptu back porch chit-chat session that included a casual, innocent comment.

She mentioned how pretty she thought the house looked whenever she’d drive by at night and see all the lights on through all the windows.

Everything looked sooooo picture postcard-ish all lit up like that, she said with genuine appreciation and admiration.

First came agreement, then a confession.

I told her Better Half must have been distracted or slipping or on an ice cream cone break in the kitchen or something when she’d driven by on those coincidental occasions and witnessed this miracle, this phenomenon, because the lights are never on for very long in our household, considering we’re involved in an ongoing his-and-her, lights-off, lights-on battle.

I turn the lights on.

He turns the lights off.

I turn the lights back on.

He turns the lights back off again.

Not all of them, mind you, just the lights I like to have on — the ones in rooms, for example, that we’re not in (just because I hate it to be dark and dungeon like) or the hall light to remind me there are steps there or the front porch lights.

Now that really bugs him.

Why do you need the front porch lights on, he’ll ask me, intent upon us not contributing to making the power company such a prosperous utility.

So people can see where the door is, I say in a “duhhh” kind of way.

Nobody visits us at night, he counters.

That’s because they’re afraid of the dark. They can’t see the sidewalk or the porch much less the front door. Very unwelcoming.

My friend laughed, an empathetic chuckle, because this all rings familiar. The same switch-up or switch-down battle brews in her household, too.

I felt a kinship. Sisterhood.

Funny how the act of illuminating can be such a dark topic, but amusing just the same.

Husbands must go through some special schooling where they have advanced training to be especially agitating in this area.

My friend and I related to having shared similar lights-off experiences, chief among them, leaving a room where the light is on, only to return to it a mere moment later to discover it’s pitch black. Someone has turned off the light already.

Mr. Not Reddy Kilowatt strikes again.

“I was going back in there!” my friend and I have both said in defending ourselves from the actions of switch-happy spouses.

Oh, I didn’t know that, comes the innocent response.

Interesting how this commitment to conserve, though, doesn’t extend to the television being on without a viewer in sight.

The TV goes on in the morning and stays on, hour after hour after hour.

Turn that off, and you’re tempting trouble.

“Hey, I was watching that!” might be the argument.

Sorry, dear.

I didn’t see you sitting there in the dark.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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