Today I changed a light bulb

We’ve been sitting in the dark for weeks now. First the light bulb in the bedroom died; the living room light bulb met the same fate a few weeks later. That was about 3 weeks ago from what I can remember. The roughly 350 square foot apartment was left with only 2 enclaves of light; the bathroom and the closet that doubles as a kitchen.

The upside of living in very low light is an increase in candle light dinners and a decreased need to clean. Coming home from work after nightfall meant that we only had to contemplate the mess on weekends.

All four of my parents would cringe to think that their oldest daughter can’t even change a light bulb. But let me tell you, it’s harder than it seems.

The 12 foot ceilings that I had so admired when we moved in turned out to be, well, tall. My 5’2” height could not reach the ceiling, not even standing on the bed, a chair, or the table. And I was not about to stack any of the aforementioned furnishings for fear of falling to a lame death (“How did you die?” “Changing a light bulb.”)    

I indisputably needed a ladder. But where to find one? Using my reasoning capabilities (after all I didn’t learn nothing in college) I came to the conclusion that my neighbors, who are equally as short with just as high of ceilings, must need to change their light bulbs sometimes too, and that there must be a communal ladder for me to borrow.

In Hong Kong lots of people have varying degrees of English speaking ability. My doorman is not one of them, and unfortunately, although this is the land of my great great great ancestors, I do not speak a lick of Cantonese. Technology came to the rescue via Google Translate; I typed in “I need a ladder / My apartment has no light / I need to change the light bulb.” and showed it to the doorman on duty. He promptly lent me a ladder and sent me off with a smile.

Perched up on my ladder 10 feet in the air I feel like a strong capable light bulb changing woman, and I was indeed able to take the old bulb out of the light fixture. However, I spent the next 2 weeks in a frustrated search of all the stores in Sham Shui Po for a compatible light bulb to install in place of the cheap one with which the landlord had originally outfitted the apartment.  What I needed is unlike any light bulb that I have every encountered in that it doesn’t have ridges to twist the bulb into the fixture, but a smooth base for snapping it into the socket.

Today I finally found the perfect light bulb and got up on another rickety ladder (This one even less stable with the two arms tied together with plastic bags) to replace the light bulb that had gone out a least  a month ago. This is the Cadillac of light bulbs; it takes 18 watts of energy and turns it into 100 watts of light (or something like that), it mimics daylight, and it’s supposedly good for the next 3 years, so hopefully I won’t have to change anymore light bulbs any time soon. Although now I can see that I really do need to clean the apartment.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. emma says:

    Haha, sheesh, what a chore.

    Also, I can’t imagine living amongst so many languages. There’s plenty of odd accents here, but I feel sort of maxed out at two languages:)

  2. Antonio Andon says:

    Light bulbs should be phased out because they waste so much electricity compared to LEDs and CFLs. .

    My own website
    http://www.prettygoddess.com

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