4.18.2008

How many light bulbs does it take to change clothes?

Sometimes, illumination isn't such a good thing.

I recently changed a light bulb (insert joke here), and it's going to end up costing me money.

That's because the light bulb was in my walk-in closet. When I replaced it, I discovered that the dead bulb dated from before we moved into this house, four years ago.

The previous homeowner had used a dim bulb -- 40 watts, something like that. I installed a new 100-watt bulb and the closet suddenly was filled with bright light.

Here's what I discovered in this newly illuminated space: None of my clothes match. And many of them bear the faint traces of old food stains.

I also found the closet was covered in dust and pocket lint and other litter that had accumulated there in the half-light. Much of this detritus was on my clothes.

How did this occur? Well, for one thing, I've essentially been dressing in the dark for the past four years -- who knew? For another, I work at home, which means my clothes don't get trotted out into the daylight very often.

Those of us who work at home tend to wear the same items over and over. A bathrobe, for instance. A favorite pair of ratty jeans. Ancient T-shirts announcing tours by long-dead rock stars. Sweats. If no one is going to see us all day, what difference does it make? Why not be comfortable?

On occasion, we work-at-home types must go out into the greater world, and this requires decent clothing. Then we have to sort through our closets for shirts and slacks and dress shoes. Preferably, these garments will have no major holes or stains or depictions of beer. But that's not easy to detect in a tight space lit only by a dusty 40-watt bulb.

Now that I've gotten a 100-watt look at my wardrobe, I find I must buy new clothes. This raises a fresh problem -- shopping.

I hate to shop for two reasons. One, I am a guy, and everyone knows guys have a genetic disposition against any kind of mall-trolling. Two, I'm a very large guy and my sizes are hard to find.

A typical clothes-buying excursion for me consists of frantically rifling through folded garments, trying to find something, anything, in size extra-large/tall, or XLT. (Doesn't XLT sounds like a racy car of some sort? Never mind.)

Stores don't carry that size. Oh, they might have a few items, but all the other XLT guys out there -- the ones who buy clothes more than once every five years -- have already snapped them up. As an XLT, I'm too large for your standard rack of clothes and not big enough for the Big-and-Tall men's stores, where you're required to have at least two XX's to even enter the wide door.

Shopping -- for an XLT guy who really wants to wear only rags anyway -- can be a frustrating, time-consuming experience that often results in the ingestion of large quantities of consoling beer.

My wife suggested I shop on-line, but I've had bad experiences there, too. Last winter, I splurged on a sweater on-line because it was on sale for half off. The color I selected was called something like "harvest gold." When the sweater arrived at my house, it turned out to be more like "autumn sneeze." Under fluorescent lights, it becomes "ultraviolet phlegm." It's not a garment I wear much, at least not anywhere that might have electric lights.

Since XLT clothes that aren't in funny colors tend to be expensive, changing that light bulb means I'll have to spend hundreds of dollars on new clothes if I ever expect to go out in public again.

But I've come up with a cheaper plan. I'm buying some 40-watt bulbs. Better to curse the darkness than to go shopping.

In fact, I think I'll put low-wattage bulbs throughout the house. Perhaps, in the resultant gloom, visitors won't be able to see the dust.

2 comments:

philbertosophy said...

Funny, funny stuff.

"Autumn Sneeze..."

"Better to curse the darkness than to go shopping."

Gold. Pure gold, man.
I genuflect in your general direction.

STEVE BREWER said...

"I genuflect in your general direction."

Thank you, sir. Now clean it up.