Comment: To be continiued

01. Dec 2014

Modern networks work – modern lighting as well

Text: Joachim Ritter

Developments in the field of LED technology have apparently indeed caused something of a stir within society. People can now use this technology in their own surroundings. Some time ago an old friend contacted me and asked me to help him out. We have known each other since our school days. That was admittedly 27 years ago, although the last time I saw him was at a reunion two years back. He remembered that at the time I told him that my work had something to do with lighting. He is an aquarium enthusiast, that is to say someone who enjoys observing fish behind glass – preferably when they are in large glass tanks. There’s nothing wrong in that. On the contrary, I tend to find it quite calming myself. Anyway, he came to me and asked me if I could help him “acquire” a replacement lamp for his aquarium. He presumed I had good connections, and since we have known each other a few years, and were quite close as kids, thought I wouldn’t mind coming to the rescue, so to speak. “Sure,” I said. “I know who makes lamps…”. I didn’t get a chance to say much more, because he was already describing exactly what he needed. He talked about Kelvin and that this was an indication of how bright the lamp was. The higher the Kelvin, the brighter the light, but not blue, thank you very much. And I was to make sure there was no ballast or starter in the LED lamp. But it had to be an LED lamp because they consumed less electricity.

It was pretty clear that he had got a few things muddled up, but he certainly wasn’t willing to admit it. As a salesman he did not want to betray any weak points. To be on the safe side he had brought along the lamp that needed replacing. “But that’s an LED lamp,” I blurted out. „How come it’s not working. They are supposed to last for 30,000 hours”. That would have meant around ten years. According to my friend, he had only had the lamp for about three and a half years. “Really?” he remarked. “At any rate, I want it to look like natural light”. I was about to say something and then realised that if I embarked on further discussions it would have caused tension between us. So I simply replied: “Leave it to me. I’ll let you know”.

Three days later I took two new LED lamps over to his house. He was thrilled. How kind it was of me and that it is really unusual for someone to go out of their way to help old friends. “No problem,” I said “My pleasure”. “What do I owe you?” he asked. “38 euros,” I replied.  “Post and packing, eh?!” he smiled, and reached for his wallet. My friend was very grateful, paid the money and reminded me that I could always count on him if I needed help. In the following months many people told me how well my old friend spoke of me and a number of my friends went out of their way to tell me I only had to give them a wink if I needed anything. I received numerous invitations to parties and my network of friends grew unremittingly. On Facebook and Twitter people waxed lyrical about my heroic deeds, claiming that people of my calibre are few and far between. On Facebook someone even suggested I should be awarded honorary citizenship by my hometown.

Life suddenly became so pleasant and easy. I must admit it did become hard to find free days when I could meet friends and relations or attend fundraising dinners, and I survived practically exclusively on the ample buffets available. I also began to notice that the ladies had a different look in their eye when they looked my way. A few months later I met a true friend of mine. He drove over to visit me and we spent some time together. We avoid using Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch, preferring the phone or direct contact. I told him what I had experienced over the last months and he listened patiently. When I had finished he asked: “Tell me, where did you get those lamps from that brought you so much fame and recognition?” “The lamps? Oh, I went to a pet shop just round the corner from here and bought the lamps literally off the shelf. They had loads of them, especially for saltwater aquariums”.

What is the moral of this tale? A true friend is one who can listen and does not rely on social networks.

And finding lighting solutions is sometimes easier that it seems.

To be continiued.

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