I’m all for being green. We recycle. We moved to the compact florescent light bulbs early—probably too early. Mark grumbled about expensive those first generation light bulbs were. Now when we throw out the garbage, we have a tiny little bag of garbage, and big bins of plastic, newspapers, tin, and cardboard. Our recycling comingles. I’m convinced that it multiplies, too, but that’s a topic for a different type of blog.
Last night, we had an Israel trip reunion at the synagogue. Mark showed his video, which was great. There was only one problem. The synagogue had already dimmed many of the hallway lights and had no lights in the upper parking lot where the handicapped parking is. Mark escorted me out to my car so I could leave.
Here’s what happens in the dark for me. Without vertigo, I can’t see well in the dark. (Yes, I probably got that from my parents, too. And, I got my sense of humor, so I’m ahead.) With my vertigo, I can’t tell where down is. And, because with my oscillopsia, the world moves up and down, I can’t tell where side-to-side is very well either. I’m disoriented in the dark. Because I practice with the BrainPort with my eyes closed, I’m much better than I used to be. But I practice standing still. I don’t practice walking.
This happened to be at the synagogue. I’ve noticed this in other places, such as restaurants, where they want to give us atmosphere. I’ve asked for the lights to be turned up so I could go to the ladies room, because the lights were much dimmer than when I was seated. I don’t go to movies much, and when I do, I sit on the aisle, because I have a shot of finding my seat by the light of the movie.
Low lights are bad enough inside. Low light levels are quite dangerous for me outside. Most of the time, inside buildings the floor surfaces are smooth. But outside, the driveways or roads or sidewalks are not smooth, and have dips, cracks, potholes, bumps and other irregular surfaces that I can’t see in the dark. Murphy’s Law says that if there is an irregular surface within a few inches of me, I will find it, and it will trip me. When Rebecca and I were in Seoul, I tripped on a sidewalk in bright daylight. She had the flat sidewalk, and where I was walking, there was a bump. I didn’t see it, because I fix my gaze up so I can stay stable. (Yes, I still do this with the medication and the BrainPort.)
So, here’s my request for public buildings and parking lots: If human beings are going to use your buildings and lots, please turn the lights on and leave them on until the last person leaves. Use florescent light bulbs. Be green. But please, don’t turn off lights until the last person has left, and is really gone. In other words, wait until “Elvis has left the building.”