I picked it up for a song, a few dollars spent on a whim to solve a problem that had caused enough irritation warrant the effort. The other night, my wife had, again, complained that she could not sleep while I worked beside her in bed. The bedroom lights were “too bright” and the clack of my laptop keyboard was “too loud”. My response that the work needed to be done was met by an icy request to “take it elsewhere”. Further protestations fell on deaf ears and so, to keep the peace. I shut down my laptop, doused the nightstand lamp and rolled over to the edge of the bed.
The next day, while idling my way through an on-line catalogue, I noticed some gizmos, these flexible USB lights. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a gadget nut and pieces like this always appeal to me, especially at such a ‘Low, Low Price!’ They arrived quickly, via messenger, in a brown, too-large box adorned with the well known Amazon Smile. Inside, a plastic bag held five cellophane envelopes containing lights, identical but for colour. I only need one but they come as a set and are cheaply made. I suspect I’ll use them all before long.
I select an envelope and draw from it my prize. The LED light is narrow, six inches long and black in colour, except for a silver USB connector at one end and a soft-white lens cover on the other. I see that the center segment of its stalk is malleable and I twist it about until satisfied that it will serve its purpose. I plug the silver USB into my laptop port and, Presto! I have light! There isn’t much that is more important to our daily activities than light, whether by raising a window blind or the flip of a switch.
I bend the stalk to set the lighted end over my laptop keys, canted in just such a way so as to avoid casting glare on the screen. The small LED brightens the room a little more than I had expected and I peek at my sleeping spouse to see if she has been disturbed. There is no reaction and I begin work on my next task, confident that once again peace shall reign in the household and pleased that such an inexpensive piece has solved my problem so well.
I pause for a moment, my fingers hovering over the laptop keys, and reconsider that last thought. When I ponder my spouse’s repeated grousing that her sleep is being disturbed every night because of the room’s brightness and the sound of my typing, how is it that I decided to address only one of these complaints with the purchase of the USB light? Surely, I could have solved both issues by taking my work elsewhere, perhaps the dining room, which has the added advantage of its proximity to late night snacks, or even to the little alcove with its mini desk that I claim as both a home office and refuge. Better yet, I could have chosen to work earlier in the day, so as to spend a little quiet time with her at the end of the evening, although that happens with much less frequency these days.
In any event, I didn’t, and here we are, lying as far apart as the bed will allow. As I recline beside her slumbering form, bathed in the blue-glow of a muted TV, my typing sounds excessively loud. I tense for a moment as I wait to see if my wife reacts. I don’t want to get into yet another dust-up. Perhaps I should get out of bed and move to the other room. It would be the generous thing to do and yet, I don’t really want to. It’s my bed, too. I like working in the sack late in the evening. It’s comfortable and cozy and warm and besides, the rest of the house would be night-time cool by now.
Maybe she will sleep on. If not, I’ll have to come up with another solution. Possibly another piece of kit to help keep the peace. I wonder if I’ll find earplugs among tomorrow’s Lightning Deals on Amazon.