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I Am Not Turned On On:2009-08-27 17:19:33

switch For about half of my life to date light switches have proven an almost insurmountable problem.

You see, you see, back in that bright land from which I come light switches go down for on, whereas in this contrary land they go down for ... for ... or ...oh dear, no---is it, in England that they go down for off and here they go up for on or down for fun, or in England they march them half-way up the hi... no that was the Grand Old Duke of York... um... they can't go 2 switchsideways can they? or.....or and then ... then on occasion over here they're actually weird old American button thingies and they just get pushed in, randomly and often to little or no effect... Oh! [sob] I'm totally, horridly confused!
1 switchNow I must admit that the problem isn't entirely insurmountable, at least when the switches are singlets---usually a swift perusal of the room is enough to for me to ascertain if the light is on or not, and then even I can usually determine what, if any, my action should be with respect to that solitary switch. No, no where the insurmountability gallops in swinging its battle axe is when I am faced with switches that are, as is so typical of the species, hunting in a pack---invariably some of the buggers are up and some are down and not all the lights are on, or even off.
Indeed I'm not even safe in my own home because, you see, I have an upstairs and on the way to that upstairs, up the stairs, I must deal first with the switch at the bottom of the stairs which is not too bad 'cause it's only an it, but then, then at the top I must face the two-in-oneness of those terrifying double plates!
As you no doubt have already guessed this means that to make any sense of the Universe I have to keep those double switches both in the up position or both in the down position, or I will invariably switch the wrong one the wrong way and start to cry. So of course when I get to the top of the stairs I have to go all the way back down to the bottom again should I happen to break the taboo, and since by then I'm so upset that I'm not as focused as I should be I end up doing this several times.3 switch
Then the real horror starts and our scenario shifts, and all those chop-up-a-teenager movies start to look like a cross between Mary Poppins and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as we are faced with the Ceiling Fan!
You see back home in England we never have ceiling fans and indeed have had no experience with the damned devices since we lost India, and anyway even then they were pukka punkas --- you know, sort of carpety things hung from poles that some poor punka wallah, outside the room and in the heat himself, would swing back and forth all day to keep us cool (probably all night long too, but we of the Raj would have been asleep by then and wouldn't have noticed) ...swung by means of a long string often attached to the punka wallah's big toe. Since such colonial devices seem to be absent from the States now-a-days, you, poor things, have to make do with the more mechanical, impersonal, rotational fans.
I am not a fan of fans especially not of ceiling fans I am, in fact, as unfanny of them as can be.on off switch
3 sideways switchHowever my friend Georgia is an American through and through and when she stays for a sleepover (as Americans insist on saying) she insists, without saying, on turning on every single ceiling fan that she can find (I don't THINK she's broken in to the next door neighbour's to turn theirs on ...yet, but the night is young and I'm sure she will eventually) These fans are without exception turned on by tugging on a non-punka-wallahed string attached, not to a big toe, but to the fitment in the centre of the room, tugging usually several times so that they don't spin so fast that they blow every piece of paper in the room to the walls and every person in the room to the ground before screwing themselves up, up into the ceiling and through it and out through the roof in a desperate rush to freedom. The fittings (as you Americans well know, but I can never manage to remember) also have similar stringy switches for the fan-adjacent lights so that at night, by the time Georgia has turned the fan on to her satisfaction and the light off to her satisfaction and I happen then to enter the bedroom, I am left to be utterly, utterly undone by the sphinxian riddle of the light switch on the wall which now neither turns the light on nor off whether I construe it in American nor translate it into proper English.
Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton


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