Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lights Please!

Dear BlogReaders,
I think we’d all agree that when you move into a new place (no matter how far it is from home) that it takes a while to find your bearings and feel settled. I’m far from achieving either of those things, in part because this specific move is very far from home, but more in part to having the tendency to be a dummy.

Case in point: My last residence was a condo that I lived in for a year and weekly in this condo I would mistake the switch that turned on the kitchen lights for the switch that turned on the garbage disposal. Let me paint you a picture . . . when you get home at night and are standing in a dark room alone and expect the flick of a switch will grant you the ability to SEE but it instead it turns on a VERY LOUD GRUMBLING kitchen appliance this is a recipe for cursing and scaring the bejesus out of yourself! Despite the comedy that you are producing for any peeping-Toms this is NOT FUN.

For my first week living in London I stayed at the Grange City Hotel [“just a gemstone’s throw away from the Tower of London”] and upon arrival it was about 3pm and still very light out. As it turns out, in London summers don’t actually start to get dark until after 9:00pm which made for quite the jetlag / time zone confusion. BTW, a kind German friend also informed me that in the winter this means it will start getting dark about 4pm – right on Europe! But I digress . . .

When it did finally get dark I tried turning on the light switch and nothing happened. So I tried another and nothing, and another and nothing. No bathroom light, no lights near the desk, no lights on the bed stands, absolutely no switches were working. Clearly there must be some sort of master switch that I was missing . . . so I searched and searched and after about 30 minutes was still standing in my hotel room with only the moonlight to help me walk around without stubbing a toe. I wanted to avoid calling the front desk as all costs as I was certain there had to be something very simple I was missing and I really did NOT want to be the dumb American who couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights. Finally I noticed a small plastic thingy near the door . . . I’m not entirely certain what the thingy is called so I took a picture of it to help you:

I pressed and prodded, and finally the only thing I was able to do was accidently pull the whole front off which was now sitting on the floor. . .oops:

BUT alas! There is a silver button type part behind the front of that plastic thingy and by God I think I’ll press it!

YESSSSSSSSSSS, lights were on all over the place, and the TV, and the air, and I found the magic silver button on the plastic thingy and now I don’t have the be the dumb ass ringing the front desk in the dark. I’m not going to lie I did a jig and patted myself on the back and no sooner was a mid-pat. . . and BAM! All the lights and appliances went off again. WHAAAAA? I pressed this silver button of the plastic thingy – what more can I do!?

I’ll spare you the details of the next 25 minutes I spent trying to find tape or some other way to rig that silver button to stay down until realizing that there was that front piece that had pulled off that was still sitting on the floor. After reattaching it, the “KEY” to keeping the lights on was clear:

How long does it take a dummy to turn and KEEP the lights on in the hotel room of a foreign country? Over an hour. Please be kind and don’t point out how that green arrow should have been my first sign to insert my key card, I swear it wasn’t as obvious in person as it seemingly appears to be in these photos.


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