The Light Switch Story*

Meet Spart.

Aside from the Hubster, I am now probably closer to her than I am with most people. We talk (on average) about 4 – 5 times a day. Sometimes we don’t even need complete sentences to communicate–we can often understand each other through random word sequences like”la la!”, “bleep bleep bloop” or loud screaming. Don’t ask. haha

As close as we are now (cue “Sisters” from White Christmas), we weren’t always that way. In my family there are six children, and Spart and I are smack dab in the middle… and that usually means one of two things: as children, we were either best friends, or frenemies. And even though we are great friends now, we didn’t start out that way. We had some glorious fights over the years, but one stands out above the rest: The Light Switch Story.

To say Spart and I disagreed often as children would be an understatement. As the younger of the two I often made it my official business to do whatever I could to get under her skin, and she, as the older, used her influence and age to make me feel the repercussions or consequences of it. We were also intensely competitive about everything. And stubborn. Holy toot, us red-headed members of the Tookie Tribe can be as stubborn as mules. Many mules. Many many many mules.

One night, when I was ten or eleven, my parents went away for an evening leaving us children home at the mercy of our older siblings. I remember Peeah being in charge that night and she invited a few friends over– KT, Cicada and Kelders. The evening itself went smoothly enough, and I remember being excited to stay up past my regular “bed time”. We all watched movies and whatnot together until Peeah decided she was tired and it was time for bed.

Because we had been watching movies most of the lights had been off aside from two end table lamps and one corner lamp away from the others. Peeah and Cicada (who was sleeping over) turned off the two end table lamps, as as she walked up the stairs, she turned to Spart and I and casually said,

Peeah: “Whomever is last down here should turn out that light before you come upstairs, ok?”

Spart and I both turned from Peeah to the corner lamp to the stairs, and then for some unknown reason that to this day I cannot explain, I bolted for the staircase. I didn’t slyly try and get up the stairs without turning off the light, or try and distract her, I just ran and yelled:

Me: “You have to turn off the light!!! Hahaha!!!”

I made it up a couple of stairs before I felt a hand clamp around my ankle and tug. She got me down a stair or two before I decided it might be a good idea to wrap my arms through the banister.

So, picture this: there we were, my arms through the banister, her hands on my ankles, fighting over who should have to turn off the light. She eventually got me back down the stairs and tried to go up herself when I thought it would be a good idea to hit or kick her. As it turned out, that was not a good idea. hahaha! It was one of the only times I can remember where Spart and I actually got into a semi-physical fight. Now, let me clarify–we would never, ever hit each other hard enough to physically hurt each other no matter how upset we were, it was more or less a ploy to annoy the other / distract each other from the issue at hand. I don’t think it ever worked now that I think about it. haha

It was at least midnight by this point in time, which was rather late for someone my age. And rather than giving up as I became more tired, my stubbornness increased. Yep, I’m cool like that. So rather than walking over to turn out the light we sat on the living room floor debating about whose responsibility it was to turn it off. Our highly mature and well-thought out conversation went something like this:

Me: “You are older so you should turn it off. I don’t know how.”

Spart: “Then you should do it now to learn.”

Me: “I don’t want to.”

Spart: “Me either. Just do it!”

Me: “No. You do it.”

Spart: “No. You do it!”

Me: “Nope. I don’t have to.”

Spart: “Then I guess we’ll be down here for a while until you do.”

…and this went on for another 20 minutes or so.

By this point we had been downstairs in the living room fighting about who would turn off a lamp for over an hour. Now I’ll bet you’re thinking that to fight like this about a lamp it would have to be reeeeeeeeeeeally far away or some highly complicated fixture that would involve a great deal of physical, mental and emotional exertion. A task so difficult that even the burliest of burly men would fear it.

…but no. It was a chain lamp. A simple green-shaded, gold-chained lamp that only needed to be unplugged that was less than three feet away. A task that my sleeping (then) 5-year old brother Teep could have done. And as we were about to enter phase three of the lamp war we heard someone begin marching down the stairs. I felt a cold stab of fear thinking it would be the wrath of Peeah who would not hesitate to illuminate what complete idiots we were.

Instead, to our surprise, it was Cicada marching down the stairs. I waited to hear some rebuke or comment about the foolishness of the situation (which I had not yet realized) but what happened was worse. Rather than rebuking us and telling us to turn off the stupid light and come to bed, she calmly marched across the living room, pulled out the chain, and turned off the light.

Spart and I sat on the floor in the darkness as Cicada turned and quietly marched back up the stairs. I don’t know if I have even been as humiliated as I was in that moment. After sitting in the dark for a few minutes I slunk up the stairs and into bed, still fearing that I would still somehow feel Spart’s wrath for not actually turning out the light myself.

I’d love to say that that was a turning point in our relationship and that we became best friends after that…

…but you know how sisters are. I still did my best to annoy the crap out of her until I was, oh, 20? haha I kid, I kid.

And just for the record, I still think she should have had to turn out the light. Bleep bleep bloop. :)

Shop Girl*

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