Archive for February 25th, 2015

Light Observation:

2/19/15, 6pm — some hole-in-the-wall store in the Garment District

I might have been in the fourth dimension last Thursday night. Michael and I had gone into the city to see a show, but before the show, he had to pick up some fabric for a dress he was making. It was seven degrees outside and we were getting around only by foot, so we chose the first fabric store we found in the Garment District.

There were tens of thousands of rolls of fabric — few of them looked new and clean. Most were old and dusty. The dust from these fabric rolls,¬†combined with the fluorescent lighting, cast a strange white haze over the whole store. It was reminiscent of the lighting used for a Heaven scene in some comedy movie. And then there were the many, many colors from the fabrics on the shelves. More colors than on Joseph’s Dreamcoat. In warmer incandescent lighting, these colors would have been a welcoming rainbow of sorts. In this lighting, they were ultra-tacky and ultra-wacky. As I wandered the shop with a Penn Station beer in one hand and our tickets to the show in the other, passing by rolls of plush faux fur and of hideous shag carpeting, I wondered if I had entered the Twilight Zone.

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Happy: Christmas Eve, circa 1999

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I’m one of the least domestic people you will ever meet … Which is strange, because when I think of “happy” lighting, I get imprints from my childhood of Christmas Eve night — with the tree lit up, a fire burning in the fireplace, and maybe the glow of a ’90s television playing The Santa Clause or¬†Charlie Brown’s Christmas. I feel safe, carefree, hopeful for the presents to come the next day, and all the delicious food that my aunts and uncles would inevitably bring over the next day. Before I became painfully conscious of Christmas “materialism” that Charlie Brown so hated, or of the tensions in my family between this and that relative. I had not yet experienced loss or guilt. All I cared about in that moment was the warm glow of the fire and the Christmas lights, and how this lighting made our shag carpet warmer and cooshier than it would be on any other night.