By Nina M, New Zealand
(Blogs are written by LightAware supporters in a personal capacity)
The walk along the seaside to work was a beautiful sunrise of pinks, oranges and yellows. It was high tide, so I pulled off my shoes and walked through the water, the waves splashing up to my knees. I reached the health store and opened up, turned on the lights and soon the customers started coming in, just like every Saturday at my additional job to my freelance work during the week as a medical translator.
But something seemed different – the lighting somehow more intense and white and a new card payment machine – bright blue not the old grey-coloured one. I put a couple of transactions through and noticed tears had started to stream down my face, my reflection in the mirror was pale, my head had begun to pound. Looking upwards, I noticed the down-lighting over the shelving was white, not the normal yellow hue. I switched it off immediately – yes that helped. Good, I thought, let’s get on with the day. I made a bright purple smoothie with acai berries and welcomed in more customers. The acai berry smoothie was quite popular with people enthusiastically taking packets of the acai berry powder from the shelf to make their own at home.
Back to the counter to process the transactions. Again, streaming eyes looking at that new machine, pale and waves of nausea with the pounding head coming back in full force. When the customers had made their purchases, I closed the door for a few moments to call the shop owner – oh yes, she said – some new lighting and a new card payment system had been installed this week. I opened up the shop again, covered the card payment machine with a dark cloth. People will be paying in cash today, I thought to myself. The day was busy with customers paying in cash with the occasional one complaining about the inconvenience. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t ask people to pay in cash all the time. It had been my favourite day of the week, I loved the job but knew I wouldn’t be standing there next Saturday.
I walked home slowly, the head pounding its way through a migraine.
Now a few years later, the bright white lighting is in people’s houses inside and out, in street lighting, in every public building. The bright blue of the card payment machine is on keypads, on gates throughout the streets, on smart phones held in the palms of people’s hands, on the boat-lights at the seaside. In only a few years I have entered a totally different world full of bright LED-driven technology that has to be escaped to avoid migraine. My world is now fields of green farm parks, bush with streams far away from this technological revolution. I often work outdoors translating using pen and paper and voice recognition, avoiding looking upon LED screens – my “outdoors home office”.
Sunrise and sunset – I can’t enjoy them for now – that’s when all the bright white lighting comes to life.
There must be a time though, I promise myself in the future, with healthy lighting when I will be able to see the world again. I can barely wait!