Turn it Off! — Why I Hate Bright Lights

Philip Ogley
4 min readMar 3, 2022

I’m reading a book in my living room. It’s evening and I’m in my favourite armchair. I’m sipping a cold beer. A single lamp burns next to me emitting a soothing glow over the pages I’m reading. It’s quiet, and I’m totally at ease with myself, and the world around me.

Then my daughter comes in.

‘Don’t you want the lights on?’

She turns on the main lights.

'If I wanted them on,’ I reply. ‘I wouldn’t be sitting in the dark.’

She huffs, and walks out. The lights remain on.

When I was growing up, my sister used to do the same thing. There I was in my room reading when she would charge in.

‘Don’t you want the lights on?’

Thirty minutes later, my father would bring me a cup of tea.

‘Don’t you want the lights on?’

‘No. I want to be left alone. Preferably forever.’

It was the same at university. I had a room at the top of an old house, away from the debauchery and noise downstairs. When my flatmates came up to see if I wanted to get drunk or stoned, they couldn’t resist it either.

‘Don’t you want the lights on?’

It’s not that I particularly like the dark — I’m not a vampire. I can spend hours outdoors in hot sunshine, no problem. The heat doesn’t bother me. And I doubt I’ve ever owned a pair of sunglasses.

Yet, when I come indoors, I want the lighting to be as low as possible. Almost off.

Don’t I have that right? To sit under low lighting and read a book. After all, it is my space, my time, my light. Or should we be all sitting under high intensity LED bulbs, playing with our devices?

During my twenties, I lodged with an elderly lady while waiting for an apartment to be vacated. Her husband had recently died, so she insisted we eat together at least in the evenings, to ward off the loneliness she was feeling.

As I was new in town, and didn’t know anyone, I agreed. She had worked as a fashion designer in London during the 1950s and 1960s, and had some good stories.

Philip Ogley

21st century content creator