Our modern world

25 June 2010 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary | 8 Comments »

I live on the 4th (or 5th, depending on how you count them in your country) floor of a 4-story (or “storey”, depending on how you spell the word in your country) building in central Bratislava. There’s no elevator (or “lift”, depending on what you call them in your country).

For the past five days, the lights in the stairwell have been out of order. Either a fuse blew or something went wonky in the wiring which serves to link all five levels’ lighting up to the same five switches.

I did the eight-landing journey, up and down, twice, in the darkness, thinking all the while, “gee, I should have brought my flashlight” (or “torch”, depending on what you call them in your country). On a few later journeys I used my cigarette lighter, which is somewhat problematic given how hot the thing gets.

It finally occurred to me just now, coming back home, to use the display on my mobile (or “cell”, depending on …) phone as a light source. Two flights up, I met a couple on their way down, also using their phones for illumination.

“Náš moderný svet,” (“Our modern world”) I remarked, with a sigh, thinking how ridiculous it was to be living without lights in the stairwell for five days.

“No veľmi moderný!” (“Very modern!”) replied the man, thinking how decidedly modern it is to light one’s way with a phone.

  1. 8 Responses to “Our modern world”

  2. By Stephanie on 25 June 2010

    that’s funny. it’s all a matter of perspective, i guess.

  3. By Neverfox on 25 June 2010

    How great! I happen to have an Android phone with a camera flash and an app the turns it into a flashlight and even a morse code flasher. I’ve used it many times to light the way or to work on some pesky cords behind the TV.

  4. By Kevin Benko on 26 June 2010


    I was an adolescent when “pocket” calculators first became available. This was during the LED (pre-LCD) display era. Entering all 8’s on the LCD display made a not-quite reasonable amount of light.

    Does anyone remember LED calculators?

  5. By Kevin Benko on 26 June 2010

    Oops, that last line should have been

    “Entering all 8’s on the LED display….”

  6. By Lounge Daddy on 26 June 2010

    When I was working at a Wal Mart, the power went out and almost immediately the sales floor was a alight with little square bits of glowing white from cell phones. I thought it was pretty neat. 🙂

  7. By Svetlana on 6 July 2010

    I was once returning from a hike in darkness, and used my cell (mobile) to illuminate my way in the forest…

  8. By Ethan Lee Vita on 6 July 2010

    I use my cell phone as a light consistently. Its a trick I picked up while hitchhiking. Now it guides me from Hoyt to my tent nightly.

  9. By warren_piece on 5 August 2010

    when i lived in china we used that cellphone light trick a lot. especially in the stair wells of our apartment. in two of the apartments we lived in our buildings had no lights in the stairwells so you learned very quickly to bring a light of some sort.

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