Maeve Higgins: My ideal . . . lighting
I was in my room the other day, doing some life hacking. I glued my hands to my keyboard to prevent procrastination and set my eyes to “open” with the help of tape. Then I ate the entire day’s meals and snacks in one go, to save time. Finally, I tied string around an old teapot handle to make it look urban and prevent more burns.
All out of ideas, I lay face down and imagined my ideal lighting state.
I find myself annoyed at clubs and corner shops, with their fluorescent- strip neon-blues and cruel shadows. Now, candles. Candles are a different story, a light at once romantic and practical, flickering over compromise.
To wit, a play:
INT: BEDROOM, NIGHT
Come, lover, let us pretend you are someone else, someone better.
(sad, moving towards Candlelight, a faint sax heard from the street below)
Sure . . . as long as your shade hides my coldsore.
Moonlight? No. Thank you, but no. Give me sunlight please; when cafes are open, children are screeching on the bus and there’s still some time left. Ghostly light is too close to the bone – a nightly reminder that everything ends in silent, silvered judgment. I get it already, you big dumb moon! So you can fade right off!
Sunlight is a classic for a reason, but not any old sunlight. No indeed, when I’m on holiday (anywhere outside Cobh) the glare bothers me. To counter it, I often leave my eyes at half-mast.
People think I’m sleepy or confused or both, but since when did I care what people think? (Since playschool, after I tried to eat what turned out to be a toy apple and Olive Buckley had a good old laugh. She stopped laughing after her “accident” a month later when “someone” stickle-bricked her into a wall and she went “bye-byes for a long time”).
Sleepy and confused are actually power positions, because when you say something profound that you learned off the Internet like, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,” everyone will be extra impressed.
My dream light remains sunlight; just not that predictably flashy aunt who leaves you dazzled. I mean a modest, November sunlight – that boy who comes slanting in late, the lanky son of a farmer, urging me up, insistent I come outside and see what he’s been up to. I’ll go with him, nodding politely, not really sure, until my shoulders ease as he shows me around – the fields resting now, the sea battering on, and I’ll come round to his way of thinking.
This thin and wintry fellow, shining on through the cold, must not to be ignored; he is a prize, a gift, and a million times better than darkness.