What have the following got in common;-
The purchase of an LED Torch
An article about a planned piece of "Artwork" in Leicester
Reading a blog post by one of my friends
A discussion about communicating with people
And - A compliment about "openness"???
I mean - apart from the fact they all involved me in some way.
They all involved "light" and "dark" either literally or metaphorically.
My original idea for this blog post involved taking photos in a crazy attempt to explain how I relate to "light" and "dark". Then I realised that there is no way on planet Earth that I could get a camera to behave in exactly the same way as my eyes in the dark. This was due to the lack of "Silent Disco" mode on a camera when it comes to me trying to see (or photograph) anything in pitch black. What am I saying??? I cannot even see pitch black at night!!! I get multi-coloured spots in front of my eyes when I am outside in the absence of any kind of illuminations.
My next idea was to attempt to rope in a certain Professional Mind-reader I know. However, that idea was soon discounted due to me not really wanting to have a five year argument with them.
So - This blog post is going to be purely my thoughts on "Light" and "Dark" and the ways in which they affect me. (You may disagree with some or all of my conclusions - that is your right - but at least let me speak my mind.)
You may think I have a reasonably short fuse to my temper when it comes to me feeling like I am being discriminated against for whatever reason. What you don't know is that - if I start complaining about something I have had as much as I can take of the situation - and I haven't got the energy to "play nicely" or cooperate any more.
There have been several things this week which have made me wonder if I should just give up trying to be like everybody else - find a corner - and curl up and die.
The major one was reading a newspaper article (on their website) which told me exactly how much my custom is desired by the Highcross Shopping Centre - particularly at night. The short answer being - it isn't. (The newspaper even deleted my comment - probably because I pointed out my objections to the plans of the Shopping Centre.)
If you have read this blog before you will know that I suffer from something called "Photophobia" where my eyes are sensitive to bright lights. You will also know that my eyesight is extremely bad - I am seriously shortsighted. What you may not realise is - as a result of my shortsightedness I cannot see in the dark. Hence the "Silent Disco" comment earlier.
I will now attempt to give you an idea of what it can be like for me at night.
If I am on my own in total darkness I will not be very happy at all. When I know where I am going I will be slightly happier (as in - when I have walked that route several times - both during the day and at night - and got both sets of landmarks sorted in my head).
I will give you an example;
Walking from the corner of my Dad's road to his front door in the day time is easy. Head for Silver Birch tree and turn left - then proceed to front door.
Navigating the same journey on foot at night is one of the two journeys I hate the most (walking back to the corner of the road is not much better).
Here now follows a quick summary of what I do. (First things first - hope that there isn't a power cut.);
Trying not to trip over anything, gingerly make my way towards the first street light on the road. Do not worry about not being able to see it because it is the only bright thing on the street (unless someone sets a security light off but this is more disorienting when I am heading away from Dad's house).
When the tarmac is lit up near the streetlight turn left.
Depending on whether or not his car is on the drive I then have two choices. Either - head for the white square-ish blob, then go diagonally right - or - centre myself using the smallish yellow rectangle (also known as the rear registration plate of his car), and stay reasonably close to the dark blob it is attached to until I can make out the front door, then proceed as though it is daytime.
(Let's just say that I accidentally got involved in an argument with someone when Councils threatened to turn the streetlights off in rural areas - and the other person's sarcastic comment of "ever heard of a torch" was like a red rag to a bull.)
OK - I am now going to give you a bit of a crash course in "Light" versus "Dark".
This is going to sound completely crazy but - at night I prefer to be surrounded by as much light as possible and as bright as possible - especially when I am out on my own.
Yes, Yes - I know what you are probably thinking! Didn't I tell you my eyes don't like bright lights??? That is correct - but didn't you notice the emphasis I put on the word "surrounded"??? This will explain why I worship at the altar of Streetlights. If you tell me to use a torch against a modern day headlight (never mind the two that most motor vehicles are equipped with) my response will be short and to the point. It won't work.
Not only are normal torches next to useless for me at the best of times - if I am holding a torch - what little light it is emitting is pointing away from me.
A streetlight, on the other hand, is bright and above me - meaning any car headlights are diluted as they approach me.
If there is one thing which is guaranteed to make me feel ill it is being on foot near a road with very few streetlights with a line of cars approaching me at speed (especially if the gap between the cars is big enough to make my eyes think it is dark again before the next set of headlights).
In plain English - that means - if you want to completely disorient me - tell me to head from point A to point B on my own if the area I am in is dimly lit. For added "fun" liberally sprinkle bright illuminations (like - for example - 7 metre high TV-type screens - seven of those should be my idea of torture!!!).
I have written a bit about things like indicators (those flashing orange lights at the corners of motor vehicles which should ensure I don't need to have telepathinc links with drivers of said vehicles) but there is a trick which I use that you may be interested in when it comes to buses.
As you might have guessed - I rely on buses to get me around (especially at night). Apparently, there is one bus company (I think it used to be "United Counties" but don't ask me who took it over) in the UK who has brilliant destination boards - white lettering on black background.
Seeing as whichever bus company it is does not operate in Leicestershire I have developed a few strategies for deciphering things like destination boards.
We have a choice of destination boards to play with.
I am going to ignore what I know as the "roller blind" destination boards because they just annoy me totally.
So - what we are looking for is one of two things;
Either - two layers of white lights with an orange line between them - or - a single line layer of white lights with an orange line above it. (Please note - the line can be orange, yellow, or have a slight greenish tint to it.)
This tells you that the vehicle which is approaching you is a bus - or at least the chances of it being a bus are reasonably high (I have attempted to flag down a Tesco delivery van at one point using this method at one point).
Next we have to work out if it is the bus we want.
For this we need to know how many illuminated squares and lines we should see.
For example, if I am waiting for a 48A to South Wigston - I would be looking for three blobs where the number of the bus will appear and two lines, with a gap between them, where the destination would be.
If I am waiting for a bus home I will be looking for an unbroken line where the destination is (Leicester is one word). (Of course, I am discounting the stupid tickertape line below the destination showing the intermediate stops. I wish these were banned.)
Just before I leave you - I suppose I had better explain where the purchase of an LED torch comes into all of this???
I have yet to "road test" the LED torch I bought last week but I tried it in my kitchen and I think it might actually solve some of the problems I have described in this blog - particularly with car headlights.
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