The other day I was shopping for a lamp.
I wanted a floor lamp that my husband and I could read by, and in the old language, I needed at least 100 watts of light.
This is where I get all Republican-y and decry the government's intrusion into my life. They are replacing all the lightbulbs because someone has deemed them awful and wasteful and they need to go. I do have a pack of 100-watters sitting out in my garage, no, make that two packs, because you can't buy those anymore--they're gone gone gone from the shelves. But, I digress.
I talked to the young woman (maybe 20 years old?) at IKEA. She had no clue. I asked her if they had lamps that could take the equivalent of 100-watt lightbulbs. She nodded and jumped on the computer in front of her, typing, pulling faces, typing. I stood there like a doofus while her fingers clattered away.
"No," she finally said. "We don't have any 100-watt lightbulbs."
"I know that, " I said in an even tone, but firm, voice. "I want a lamp that will have the equivalent of 100-watts of light."
"Well, you don't have to yell at me."
I convinced her to walk away from her keyboard and come help me. But she wasn't any help at all, only lifting up tags to read them. She knew less than I did.
(marginally helpful chart that I discovered much later)
Now I'm at Target. Two very nice twenty-somethings. Confusion. The young man insisted that I couldn't swap out the lower bulb--13 watt CFL with a 60-watt equivalency-- for the 26 watt CFL (100 watt equivalency), otherwise you'd blow a fuse. A breaker, even, when the surging electricity would short out the light.
He was most insistent on his theory. I started to try outthink him, or at least out-talk him. A breaker? There's no surge of electricity. It's all the same current flowing through the light. I think it has to do more with heat, I said. The higher wattage light will generate more heat and possibly melt connections. Then I did something I thought I could postpone for a few more years.
"In the old days," I began, then stopped, horrified at what had just come out of my mouth.
But it was the old days, when the sockets that held the lightbulbs were metal and if you wanted a brighter light, you just went and got a brighter light and screwed it in. And I remember even in older days there was ceramic sockets, and it didn't matter what wattage went in there. Now we have plastic everything made in China and everyone in the world is twenty years old and their eyes don't need a lot of light.
Upshot: After a stop at another Target closer to home, I was able to buy a floor lamp that was adjustable (to go by the chair I'd just bought at IKEA), and had not one -- but three! -- lightbulb sockets, all the equivalent of 100 watts.
This aging business, as my mother says, is not for sissies.