Light Pollution

Things have too many fricking lights. I'm not talking about when Wal-Mart comes to town and they ruin stargazing for miles in each direction by putting a sports stadium's compliment of sodium lights in their parking lot. That's a rant for another time.

I'm talking about electronic devices.

It's tough to sleep sometimes, especially when I forget to charge my cell phone in my truck and I leave it in my bedroom. It has to blink green or red or blue every few seconds to convey the mission-critical information that it is, in fact, on.

My HP desktop blinks like crazy. Push the power button and it glows blue, lighting up the entire room. When the computer goes to sleep, the blue light doesn't turn off. It blinks. I have passed my home office at night, seen the blue, blinking glow coming from under the door, and thought the cops might have pulled someone over in front of the house. It's that bad.

Scanning around my bedroom trying to fall asleep last night, here's what's lit up even after the lights are out.

  1. Playstation 3. A red light, evidently there to show everyone that it is off. Isn't that just silly on its face? A light that comes on to indicate that something is off...
  2. The cable box. This thing won't stop glowing unless you unplug it. When it's on, it shows the channels and whatnot. When it's off, it's a glowing green clock. Oh, and this green display lights up and says "Bypass," as in "the cable box is bypassed. You're not currently watching TV." More silliness, if you ask me.
  3. The DVD player. Another light to show that it is, in fact, off.
  4. The light switch. It glows so you can find it in the dark. No thanks. I'll just feel around the wall.
  5. Two alarm clocks. My wife's is fine - one of those standard digital ones that glows red. Mine was a gift from Dad, and wonderful in all respects except for this one: When you shut the lights off, it glows blue. Not the numbers, mind you. The numbers stay black and the clock display is backlit in blue. It's like 50 Indiglo watches with the "light" button stuck in the "on" position. I put a pillow between me and it during the night. If I wake up and want to know what time it is, I move the pillow.
  6. MyBlackberry. It's blinking.

Maybe it's just a design fad thing that will go away soon. But right now I feel like William Shatner's character in Airplane II:

Oh, cut the bleeding heart crap, will ya? We've all got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking and beeping and flashing - they're flashing and they're beeping. I can't stand it anymore! They're blinking and beeping and flashing! Why doesn't somebody pull the plug?!