I've inadvertently stockpiled 7 compact fluorescents. That's two boxes minus one bulb.
I thought I would swap them in the basement fixtures as the old incandescents burned out. It took a year or so, but as soon as I screwed in the first one I realized my mistake.
At first I was sure I had purchased the wrong wattage. The turd-shaped bulb worked up a feeble bruise-colored flicker and paused, as if exhausted.
In a few minutes, though, as I went about my work, it came to life, casting violet shadows across the room from its forsaken corner. I walked over and stood under it. It didn't so much make light as well-defined edges. It was like walking into the afterimage of a instamatic flashbulb. Except that it's permanent.
Since the damn things last forever, I figure ten years from now I will use that corner of the basement to interview my daughter's boyfriends.
September 1, 2009