Guest Column

Mark Crantz

Pet Peeves: Lights Out

 Laguna.  Another perfect day in paradise, but then there’s the Good Neighbor Lighting Ordinance. Oh, no! I haven’t been here a month and I know the light at the end of the tunnel will be deemed my light and my neighbor will have no choice but to turn me in.


(Sigh)tation #1. See the problem is that since arriving in Laguna I can’t help but beam.  Laguna is a great place morning, afternoon, and night.  I’m beaming 24/7 to the dismay of my neighbors. There’s no on and off switch and while a certain ex-wife has called me dim-witted, I haven’t the foggiest notion where my dimmer switch is, but the alimony check is in the mail, honey bunny.  Insincerely yours. Dimmie.


I’ve tried beaming indoors, but the termites say they can’t eat my house with so much light on.  Supposedly house munching is a clandestine activity that’s to remain in the dark until it’s time to sell your house and then that’s when the faulty structure comes to light. This inspection delights termites, the secret owners of Zillow, an internet real estate company that keeps lowering the value of your house whether the lights are on or off.  “Pass me a support beam. I’m famished.”


Under the terms of the draft ordinance, outdoor lights would be required to be hooded, fully shielded and aimed downward. Sounds like my old boarding school, when the hooded and shielded nuns announced “Lights out, say your prayers that I don’t take this 12 inch ruler aimed downward towards your devilish backside.  Amen.”


Unfortunately, it looked like only dark and stormy Laguna nights ahead in maintaining the Good Neighbor Lighting Ordinance when a light went off above my head.  I got an idea. Unfortunately, my neighbor got one too and turned me in for lighting (Sigh)tation #2.


Not one to be outshined, I decided to take advantage of the exemption section of the Good Neighbor Lighting Ordinance.  Exemptions include low voltage landscape lighting that does not exceed 400 lumens: seasonal decorations; lighting associated with historical resources; safety lights controlled by a motion sensor; and accent lighting for art in public places. So, I will consider commissioning Jon Seeman, the artist known for the “Breaching Whale,” to do me as the Greek sea god Poseidon.  Poseidon was the great Olympian god of the sea, rivers, flood, drought, earthquakes, horses, and ocean drains. “Who dareth get on my wrong side because I beamth too much! City Council.” Poseidon was depicted as a mature man of sturdy build with a dark beard, and holding a trident submarine.  My resemblance is uncanny.  This will be one of Mr. Seeman’s easier commissions.  And remember, “All things pass art alone endures and shines on and on at exactly 400 lumens.”


Mark Crantz is a recent transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased border collie, Pokey, visited in a dream and told him he was at liberty to have either a pet peeve or a Chia pet.  Crantz lacks a green thumb and chose pet peeves to share with Indy  readers. Pokey is his muse and ghostwriter.












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