This list was written in advance by Editor-in-Chief Mia Fox. What do you do if you’re stuck in the Bolton all day? Well all the things the Bolton has to offer, of course! You could do any of these things:
Hey everyone, it’s me the Ramble Goblin! I told Editor Emeritus Erica Christie, friend of the show, who you might remember from past awful things I’ve done, to write a Ten o’clock list this week. Because the turns have tabled. I told her that if by Wednesday at ten p.m. there was no list, I would write a five thousand word post about how much I hate the bare lightbulb aesthetic. I promised her that if she did not write this list, I would not only replace the list, but I would make The Thrill that I love so much, and all of its readers (who I love equally as much), suffer the wrath of my ramble. Five thousand words, I told her. And now folks, it is ten o’clock, and alas no list.
Call it man’s fucking hubris. Name me Icarus, flown too close to yon sun. Kill me.
I understand. I’m not angry, or bitter about it. I know that Erica is busy, and I know that she has had a lot on her plate… But a promise is a promise, and a threat is a threat. I am a man of my word, and I have come to deliver. Instead of writing my History of Philosophy Paper, I have composed this afternoon, this. It’s just a ramble, so feel free to read none of it, or stop whenever you like. It’s not five-thousand words, because I didn’t think this would happen, so let’s stay at two thousand and call it even, deal? Thanks guys.
Sorry Judith Butler, but I’ve gotta do this. Enjoy.
THE RAMBLE BEGINS
Do you know what I really hate? Do you know what I think is absolute bougie nonsense, and should be struck from all coffee shops, basement lounges, bookstores, and quirky studio apartments? Bare aesthetic lightbulbs. Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about that bare lightbulb that doesn’t light anything, and hangs down from the ceiling by like a bare wire or a skinny fraying rope, or god forbid a chain. I fundamentally misunderstand their purpose. The worst offender is coffee shops. You don’t have to go any farther than Wiggin to find one of these. I’m talking about lightbulbs that hang down, with no lamp shade or cover over them, that are barely lit (just lit enough to see the filament glow a dull orange), and actually provide nothing of worth because often the ceiling right above them has real professional lights that make it possible to see anything. Those lights up there, they’re doing all the real work, the heavy lifting, but who can tell? Who can tell when these lightbulbs hang down and obstruct them? And for no purpose.
Sometimes these lightbulbs are not bare. Sometimes they are in mason jars. Or birdcages. Lightbulbs in birdcages, with no bottom. Have we all collectively, as a society, lost our goddamn minds? Why? What is the point of this? It doesn’t look good. It’s completely functionally impractical. Not a single aspect of their being is a sufficient defense for their existence.
Somewhere out there, out in The Real World, there are people who are laboring to make lightbulbs, and jars, and birdcages, and they’re probably thinking,
“Well hey, sure this labor is brutal and tough and isn’t the best pay, but at least my work will go to people who need it right? People in the dark who need a room lit, people who need to put pickles and fireflies a home, people who need to keep birds from flying around their house and pooping on the mantle.”
Sorry friendo, but I’m afraid you’re wrong. Your hard work is going to dimly lit bars and cafes, so that people can not light lightbulbs, and so that people can put those unlit-to-barely-lit lightbulbs in a birdcage, tied to the ceiling by a rope, illuminating shit. It’s a signifier that says “The owners of this place have enough money that in addition to actual light and electricity they can afford to buy all the tools and supplies necessary for electricity and then use it for fake light. Or, really not use it at all.” Then, they can add something metal or glass, something sort of industrial looking, and affix to the bulb junkyard-dumpster-diver style, and now it’s cool because it’s in that cool bar on West 46th Street. It is dumb and I don’t like it.
You know, this is the kind of stuff our children will look back on and say, “What the hell were you thinking?” The same way we look at our parents’ poofy hair, disco, and powder blue tuxedos and ask “Why? What in the name of all that is reasonable and makes sense were all of you thinking?” Our children will ask us the same questions about snapchat filter memes, electing Donald Trump, and the bare lightbulb aesthetic. “What were you thinking?” they’ll ask us, coughing up the smog in our atmosphere. “Weren’t there better things that could have been done?”
Where does this come from? Why would we all of a sudden, in this kind of hip urban millennial culture, decide that the bare lightbulb aesthetic was cool, trendy? And not overtly faux-industrial, pretentious, and just ugly. I did a little research in anticipation for the lack of content to come. According to an article from Houzz, of houzz.com fame, the only website brave enough to “shine a spotlight” (get it?) on this issue, bare bulbs are back in a big way, but why?
“Exposed bulbs are certainly in fashion at the moment, and I think it’s because of the simplicity of their look and design…It’s a non-fussy look, which is what attracts me to use them in certain situations.”
That’s interior designer Camilla Molders speaking, who claims that this comes perhaps from some generational desire for minimalism, non-fussiness, simplicity. Though the article’s author Natasha Saroca disagrees, rather ascribing it to “our love affair with all things industrial” which is why I have loose metal wires, gears, and lead pipes strewn all across my dorm room. It really reminds me of home.
Saroca continues. These bulbs “suit Mid-century Modern and eclectic schemes as the exposed fittings exude vintage charm and a cool, old-school vibe, too.” I mean it certainly is old-school. I’d argue it’s the oldest school. Like, just getting the lightbulb old school. It looks bad.
Folks, I’m no interior decorator. I don’t know the first thing about decorating one’s interior, personal or physical. My room, for example, is covered in posters, memes, and decorative household furniture meant to resemble the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks. Here, for word count sake and your reading pleasure, is a description of my room I had to do for a creative nonfiction workshop.
“The walls are covered with posters featuring references to various titles in pop culture my roommate and I are fond of. There’s a TV where we can both see it, and this is how we enjoy said pop culture. The floor collects dirt, popcorn kernels, and spiders in the corners where the vacuum can’t reach. Sometimes a mouse comes in. We call him Archibald. On the shelves, there are several books we enjoy. The titles at first make no sense, but after finishing them the titles usually make sense.”
So maybe I don’t get it. Maybe there’s something I’m missing out on, and actually everyone loves the old school charm of bare aesthetic lightbulbs. It harkens back to the good old days of uncertain state borders and tuberculosis. Yes I sure do miss the hectic glow of the Oklahoma Sooners myself. I guess I wouldn’t be as mad about it if they weren’t so darn impractical.
I’m running out of time. Here are my true intentions.
Pictured above: Erica Christie, picture taken in 2016.
Pictured below is a text conversation that occurred only fifteen minutes before this post was published. I am the blue messages, and Erica is the white.
And it is so. For Erica has not lied, and has called the police. I hear the sirens now. Their blue and red lights shine through the space between my blinds, color my room with their fuzzy inconstant glare. I await them, patient, calm. A cool wave of understanding washes over me. This was always my fate, my destiny. I take a deep breath of fresh air from the window, watching over the cops. The air smells like weed from the ADs below me. Somewhere far off, I hear someone singing and strumming an acoustic guitar. Everything is in its right place. I have to go away now. I must publish this article and walk outside, where the Sheriff and his kind men will arrest me, bring me into their prison, set me up for a court date, and put me away for a very long time. I understand this. This was set up from the beginning.
If there’s anything I can say, it’s that I hope the Five-O have something, anything at all, covering up those lightbulbs in their prison cells. Or else they will be truly, truly sorry.
Hopefully when I get out of prison the Gambier Deli is back, am I right or am I right? I’d kill for a good pastrami sandwich right about now.