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How many people does it take to change a light globe?

Bathroom mirror in darkness

This is a story about teamwork.

The sole, fluorescent light globe above the only mirror in my bathroom (pictured) suddenly died recently. It had been six years since the light fitting was installed during my home renovation, so it was a new problem.

But this was no ordinary light fitting. There was a tight-fitting, plastic shield over the long globe, which had to be removed to get to the globe and replace it – but how?

Helpers gather round

After numerous attempts to remove the globe myself, I asked a member of my family – let’s say, male – to help with the task. He is quite the handyman, with a very high success rate, but this task was perplexing. His attempts failed too, the hard plastic cover proving too stubborn to work with.

A visit to Beacon Lighting, where I had purchased the light, was the beginning of what I soon realised was the important ingredient in my quest – teamwork.

The salesperson was unfamiliar with the product that was no longer on the shelves, so she phoned her mum who had long worked for Beacon Lighting and who knew her way around tricky light fittings. Advice was dispatched via FaceTime, and off I went with renewed optimism.

Attempt no.2

Upon returning home, my new attempt at removing the light globe had to be taken seriously. With a sturdy ladder, quality leather gardening gloves, and swimming goggles as protective eyewear, I started to have another crack at this oddly perplexing task.

I jiggled the bulb against springs at either end: no luck. The cover had to come off. I rotated the cover several times, to find the best angle with its very small opening. I noticed screws behind the globe that helped to keep it against the wall.

How was this thing installed anyway, when the globe was in the way of the screws? That was it – I had to remove the cover. Everything after this point worked like clockwork.

Bittersweet triumph

Returning to Beacon Lighting with a victorious grin and the expired light globe in my hand, my newfound luck was shortlived – somewhat. The product was discontinued, but a store on the other side of Melbourne had some in stock. Would I like to place an order?

It would take a week to arrive. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. One more week of trying to find the best angle to see as much as I could in my mirror amid a background of distant, dimming winter light. But every time I looked up, at the vacant light fitting, I was comforted with my victory.

Victory at last

A week later, with new lightbulb in hand, the picture became complete – order had been restored in my bathroom. I could finally see my face clearly in the mirror.

This problem unfolded over the space of two weeks. That’s a very long time when you consider the fundamental importance of personal grooming. Sure, I had an all-purpose light in the middle of the bathroom that I was using in the interim, but had it not been for the efforts of all four people involved in this task, would I still be in the dark?