The Curse of The Electric Light Bulb

By richard | 25 September 2021

Have you ever considered how nice it would be to wake up when the sun comes up, and to end the day when the sun goes down? In summer the days would be long and filled with memories. In winter we would head to sleep when the sun sets. Every day we would either gain three minutes or lose three minutes.

The curse is not the light bulb itself, of course, but rather in the ability for people to make noise for extended periods of time. For all the talk of blue lights, yellow light, reducing distractions and more, the real challenge is to live somewhere where neighbours or family do not wake you too early, or keep you up too late.

The Balcony

Although many people fantasise about balconies I have grown to hate them. People either sit on them all day and smoke so you never have fresh air, or they sit out at night, talk, yell and make noise all night long. By creating the balcony architects have created a way for people to inconvenience their neighbours. I find balconies and gardens to be uninteresting.

For me there is more pleasure in going out for the day, in going to climb, to walk, to ride a bike or to do something else for a day, to spend time in the fresh air, while doing sports.

A balcony, is like a summer beach. It’s nice to walk on in the evening or in the morning, but it’s boring to sit on it all day. I’d rather be in the outdoors doing something active, rather than passive.

The Sound System

Apartments are built to stop the noises from fridges, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines being transmitted across from one apartment to another, but soundproofing against televisions and other audio systems is lacking. This means that every single day you are at the mercy of neighbours suffering from hearing loss. The noise is just loud enough to be heard, but not enough to be enjoyed. It invades your personal space.

Until I moved into an apartment, I never understood why people wanted to spend money on white noise machines, but over the last two or three years I do. The problem with white noise machines is that you need to find one that is loud enough to cover the noise, without being too loud to prevent you from sleeping. I have yet to find the ideal solution.

Duration

When written down, the issues above do not look that problematic. Close the windows and you deal with the issue of smoke. Find a white noise machine and you deal with the issue of noise. The problem is that both of these problems can last from 1600-0300, or even longer. That is a long time to be inconvenienced, especially every two to three weeks.

Impact

Quality of sleep, and consistency of sleep are both impacted. It means that every two to three weeks your sleep pattern is shifted by a number of hours resulting in fatigue or other problems. It also makes it less interesting to make early plans. We’re in a pandemic so there are no real plans for early in the morning. Out of Pandemic it does have an impact. Being able to go to sleep when the circadian rhythm says “bed time” is useful to avoid fatigue. A few years ago, when I was sleep deprived I was breathalised, to see if I had been drinking, which I hadn’t, but I thought, “my sleep deprivation is the danger at the moment.”

Common Courtesy

When I watch television I normally put it loud enough for me to hear, but not so loud that it can be heard through walls. When I listen to music, podcasts or audio books I listen with earphones. This prevents too much sound making it through the walls. No one has complained about me making noise, but I still have that habit anyway. I prefer to be unheard if possible.

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