While chit-chatting at a funeral, a talented Texas City architect decided to share with me an idea for a column. New ideas from neat people get aired fairly frequently, but not usually at funerals.
His idea sprang from the fact that he can travel all over his house in the middle of the night, using nothing but the illumination from what he called “pilot lights.”
I demurred, because when I think of pilot lights, I think of those gas-fired little tubes that make the central heater of the water heater work.
But his connotation lay in the word “pilot” as is connected to piloting something around. Like him. In the dark.
I then agreed there are plenty of electric and electronic things in his house, my and probably your house, that glow in the dark.
So I started a tour, beginning in the bedroom, where there is a digital clock that provides ample light to see almost everything. On the same highboy as the clock is one of the boxes that runs the television set. When the TV is on, it has a white light. When a recording is taking place, there is also a red light announcing that function.
On the other dresser is what the TV people call a modem, I think. It has six, white lights. Some of them blink off and on. Most stay lit all the time. When it is not working, they go off, and I know I am in deep trouble.
That machine has a red light, too. If I turn it all off, the red light comes on. Sometimes that’s all it needs to fix it. I can only hope.
On the computer screen, on sleep mode, there is a softly blinking white light.
In the guest bedroom is another digital clock, with lighted numbers. Another TV box there has a tiny red light.
Out in the hallway is one of the few things with no light — a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. But it has a voice.
Further down the hall, above the entrance, is the light from the device that guards the house. It is little and red.
If I veer into the kitchen, I can see the little white numbers of the clock, which also helps, as a timer for the microwave. It glows dependably. If the power goes out, it blinks Power Outage at me until I save it.
If I head in the other direction, I land in the den, which has a plethora of pilot aids.
With the television comes a box with a white light, which spawns another light when the TV is turned on. And if I turn on my oxygen machine, a red light signals it’s coming alive and a white light shows its steady allegiance to duty.
It also has a constant ta-dum, ta-dum, which reminds me of the iron lung machines we used to see on the news back in that polio era.
Last, but not least, is an air purifier, which has a whole row of red lights telling me everything is working.
When I first heard his idea, I thought there would not be enough information to create a column for you.
I was wrong.