By Larry Teren
I see red dots everywhere. No, I don’t hallucinate about the chewy candy eaten while watching a movie at a theater. Nor do I dream of playing in a fast pitch 12 inch softball tournament that uses red dot tightly wound balls.
In fact, until I was about 20, I thought small softballs were for girls and sissies. Real men played 16 inch softball without gloves in Chicago. A couple of broken fingers later, I resolved who were the true idiots. No, these red dots are the ubiquitous LED lights that glow in the dark.
With all the lights off at night in my condo, I’m like a plane zeroing in on a landing strip. I can navigate anywhere by looking at the red power lights of the portable land-line phones in each room. In the computer room, there is even a blue power light for the computer speakers, a white flashing light for the computer itself and green lights for the dsl modem/router. Very convenient if you are desperate to avoid stubbing toes against the computer station.
Modern man (and woman) has been trained to focus on red lights as a warning sign to be prepared to act quickly as necessary.
You can thank the geniuses who invented the traffic stop light. There is a whole science as to why red is on top and green on the bottom.
In fact, it was recently drawn to my attention that in many small towns, the traffic lights swung from cables in the middle of an intersection and were laid out horizontally.
The moment I come home, I walk into the kitchen and quickly look to see if the red beam on the answering machine built into the portable phone base is blinking or steady. If steady, it will show the number 0. Otherwise, I see a flashing number indicating how many people were desperate enough to leave a message. Hey, the fact is that more often that not when I press the button to hear the message, a noisy dial tone is heard indicating that the automatic dialer that called my number to try to get me to part with some money recognized that I was not picking up the receiver and letting it go to voice mail. This so-called modern convenience of a built-in answering machine to the four handset portable phone system does not let me delete any message until I have either listened to or fast-fowarded through all of them.
A red light flashes on the dashboard of my car letting me know that the alarm is functioning while the car is sitting there with the engine off.
My right leg flashes red blotches because of the way the blood flows through my rotten veins. Its nice to have edema, huh? It looks worse than it is- at least, I hope so. It doesn’t hurt but ask me in another twenty years, okay?
There is a steady red display of the current time (or a minute off) on the clock sitting on the nightstand next to my bed. It is helpful in that it makes the swearing more meaningful when I wake up in the middle of the night to go you know where. It helps put the aggravation into perspective knowing how many hours and minutes I slept this time before having to go.
Then there is the security alarm next to the front door. If it is lit red then the alarm is on; green- it is off.
Or I can have it lit red in bypass mode that is suppose to fool an intruder presuming they are stupid.
Let’s see, how many times do I go check to see if the alarm display is lit red before I am satisfied and go to bed?
Maybe you think that telling you all of this would cause me to see red- but, hey- that’s the point!