A lunch time listening to Iron Maiden’s new single, followed by their classic Fear of the Dark while reading one of the Malazan fantasy novels was the round about route that got me into thinking about being afraid of the dark.
Since we’ve had kids we have always left a night light on. When we owned more than two kids, individual night lights were replaced with leaving the bathroom light on. It’s got a low energy bulb, so it doesn’t cost much to have on and encourages the kids to go to the loo in the night. Added to that, it means we don’t have the noise of the light cord clunking on and off waking us up.
It’s only when we go on holiday and the kids have to share a bedroom that their individual preferences for lighting at bed time come out though. The boy needs low illumination but not in his room, Ned needs near total dark and Fifi somewhere in between. It can be somewhat challenging to mediate when we’re not at home.
Personally I feel safe in complete darkness at home or in doors. I find it hard to get to sleep with some dim lighting on in the room or a chink coming through the open door. Outside the dark only really bothers me in certain spooky locations. When I walk home in winter through the park, there is a stretch that’s unlit. Most of it is fine but there is a section alongside the old Roman walls that I always hurry past because I nearly always feel like I’m being watched or that someone is behind me.
When I was little I was terrified of the dark though and often slept with every extremity under the covers. This wasn’t helped by my little brother who nearly scared me to death when I was about 10 or 11. He hid in my built in wardrobe for about half an hour when I was little and then jumped out screaming at me after I’d settled down to sleep. That I did crap myself is a testimony to excellent bowel control but I’m not ashamed to say I shrieked at such a high pitched level the dogs in the neighbourhood didn’t calm down for hours…