It Burns…

Not even in the wildest flights of fancy have I ever been cool. Yet some might have thought I was attempting such because starting in college I wore sunglasses constantly. Until then I had been sent to private schools with strict dress codes prohibiting such obvious tools of devil worship as sunglasses. So the first time I had the option of choosing my own accessories, on went the shades.

Rather than trying to be cool, I was protecting my eyes from the painfully bright sunlight. I had always assumed that my aversion to direct sunlight was a side-effect of my genetic heritage. Certainly my delightfully fair skin demanded caution with respect to exposure to the sun. It took me decades to realize that most other people did not experience the same discomfort that I do.

I discovered that I am a highly sensitive person. As such I am more sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. When I was a young child my family took me to Farrell’s for my birthday. I have always loved burgers, fries, and ice cream, so it seemed like a no-brainer. However, Farrell’s had a birthday tradition of sounding a fire engine siren and banging drums and cymbals whilst employees ran through the restaurant with a stretcher bearing ice cream. It startled me (and probably reminded me of the crash that took my dad, too) and I began bawling.

I keep the overhead fluorescent lights turned off in my office. The light coming from the office across the hall, the blue incandescent light bulb in my desk lamp, and my monitors is plenty of light for coding. If I am reading something or having a meeting, I will turn on the overhead lights. Otherwise I keep them dark because it is easier on my eyes. I still get unsolicited opinions on the lighting in my office. But my low-light vision is plenty good enough and it makes me more comfortable.

My spouse and kids are very accommodating of my photic needs. I just wish the rest of the world was, too.


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