‘I’m totally with you,’ said Lenny.’ I hate the winter too. It’s cold and unforgiving - a bit like my ex-wife.’
Lenny is a friend and an optician. We’d got to know each other as members of the same quiz team.
Lenny was dropping off Maude’s new ‘geek chic’ glasses as a favour and the clocks had just gone back.
Shortly after he left, Lenny thoughtfully texted to me the details of a SAD lamp he’d seen in the Maplin’s brochure.
The lamp arrived within a couple of days. With a cupboard full of immune boosting vitamins, St
John’s Wort and a fruit bowl full of bananas, we are truly winter-ready.
This evening felt pretty wintry and we remembered the lamp. The family gathered for the big ‘switch on’.
The lamp is VERY BRIGHT.
The kids disappeared behind the sofa. I thought of switching the hoover on to chivvy them all the way up the stairs for the night.
‘It’s scary Daddy. I can’t see Mummy.’
‘Don’t worry poppet. It’s meant to be a bit like sunlight, when there isn’t enough sunlight.’
The device illuminated the room with something close to the strength of the floodlights at a minor league football stadium.
‘Is Mummy on fire?’
‘I’m getting quite a headache,’ said Maude. ‘Beginning…… to feel……quite.... cross. I thought you’d read the manual’
‘Not yet, darling, and no, darling, Mummy isn’t on fire.’
‘For instance, how close should I be?’ asked Maude, as she persevered on the sofa, wincing a little.
Maude’s headache was worsening and I was feeling quite stressed as I rifled through the desk drawers for the instruction manual. It didn’t feel as though we were getting the optimum results from a device designed to create a sense of well-being.
The girls had disappeared momentarily and I could hear the familiar sound of one of their rooms being ransacked.
I found the booklet. I read the ‘quickstart’ guide in the glare of the lamp. The guide was imprecise about recommended distance and I began to feel a dryness in my mouth and the onset of a stress-induced headache. For a moment it felt like the light was drawing me towards it – I thought I was having a near death experience.
Maude spoke and distracted me.
‘I think, perhaps, I should wear my prescription sunglasses.’
‘It does warn, darling, that headaches are possible during the first couple of sessions.’
The girls reappeared and joined Maude on the sofa. The girls were wearing their sunglasses.