Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box

One lit bulb among unlit ones

I can be a strange grown up sometimes.

There are some duties that I can carry out on a consistent basis, and with little complaint. I’ll gallivant around, adulting like a fricken champion, with “You’re Gonna Make it After All” playing triumphantly in my head.


And then, I’ll hit a wall. Suddenly, the simplest of tasks will seem like a huge mountain to climb. A burden to shoulder. An obstacle to cross. An – never mind, you get it.

An indefinite number of weeks ago, a light bulb in one of my living room lamps went out. No problemo. I always keep “extras” of certain items around, and I quickly replaced it. Since this was the last of my extra light bulbs, I put the item on my grocery list, figuring I could pick some up the next time I went to the store.

And this, my friends, is where things got weird.

I’ve gone to the store numerous times since running out of bulbs, and each time, I leave without them. I see the word on my grocery list – and then disregard it with a hint of apathy.

“Eh, the lightbulbs are all the way on the other side of the store, and I just…I don’t know. I don’t want to.”

Then, I stare wistfully at the other side of the store, as though I really WISH I could get to the bulbs, if only they weren’t so far away. If only there weren’t so many obstacles in between us. I picture this journey to The Other Side as something akin to Oregon Trail – complete with oxen to yoke and rivers to ford.

I’d be desperate, tired,  and hungry. I’d probably catch cholera.

Especially if I’m at Walmart.

It’s now been weeks, no, months, since I used that last bulb, and I still haven’t bought new ones.

What is this? Is this just simple laziness? If so, then why can I run 53 errands, unload the dishwasher, clean the bathroom, and still have energy left over to bake a cake, but getting light bulbs is just slightly beyond my abilities?


Each time I stand in the store and make the decision to forgo the bulbs yet again, I get a mischievous thrill. Like a high schooler plotting to skip class. Or, like an adult who can refuse to do simple tasks, because there are no other adults around to punish me.

Screw the patriarchy! They can’t tell me when to buy light bulbs!

But when I leave the store empty-light-bulb-handed, I feel a bit guilty and weirded out by myself. Unfortunately, the guilt’s not enough to change my mind the next time around.

I’ve come to terms with the idea that there will eventually be a consequence for my behavior. At some point, another bulb will go out in my apartment, and I’ll be plunged into an inconvenient darkness until I can get new ones.

Who knows how long this’ll go on – maybe I’ll never get new ones! Maybe my light bulb laziness will go on for years until I have no lights in my apartment and people refuse to visit me because I’ve become a stubborn, darkness-dwelling, fang-less vampire.

That’s right, I’ve now reached the point where I would rather just accept my future punishment for not doing the thing that I need to do, rather than just DOING the thing that I need to do.

NOTE: I originally wrote the above post FOUR freaking months ago, but ultimately decided not to post it. Why did I publish it today? You guessed it. The first lightbulb has gone out.

And so it begins.

Has anyone else found themselves completely unmotivated to do a simple task? What chore challenged you? Did you eventually give in and do it, or did you endure some type of consequence?


33 thoughts on “Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box

  1. I do exactly the same thing with items like bathroom tissue and paper towels and LIGHT BULBS. There is something weird about that end of the supermarket – like a Japanese Horror Movie. You are not alone in your craziness…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, there are definitely thinks that I put off doing and buying certain items at a grocery store is one of them, especially if they are hard to find (like, in the store-not exactly sure where they are) unnecessary and/or expensive. I also hate getting gas. This blog actually reminded me of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer takes a car on a test drive until it runs out of gas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here. I don’t mind grocery shopping in general, but I get annoyed too if I’m not used to buying an item and can’t figure out where it’s located. I’m so glad it’s not just me! I don’t hate getting gas per se, but I am notoriously bad at not realizing that I need gas until I’m almost out…

      I totally forgot about that episode of Seinfeld! Ohh now I want to watch it.


  3. momsranting

    when I had my first baby, I got a side of post partum depression with her. Free. I was a waste of a human for a good couple weeks before I thought I might be ok staying alive. However, even after feeling better-I thought… I just couldn’t put on eyeliner. I just wasn’t ready to be myself again, and I guess in my head that meant I couldn’t quite finish my face. I would sit on the couch and put on lip gloss, concealer. powder… and look at myself and say nope, I’m not ready yet. One day, I started again and that’s when I knew I was actually better. Weird. that’s what this reminded me of. Probably you’re just working through some major life event and until you get through it……no more light bulbs for you. That’s it for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a good point. I think when the light bulb debacle first started (and for the next few weeks after that), I probably was going through something and light bulbs were just a little beyond me. Eventually though, I just forgot about them all together. If I make it to the store for bulbs this week, I’ll know for certain that I’m doing much better. Interesting point!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lightbulbs…ugh…seems the more expensive they get, the faster they burn out. Why is that? We try to keep some extras on hand, but it will get down to the point where we have to take one from one lamp to put in the room of the one that burned out. Then we have to switch it back. Somehow, we have a couple that almost never burn out. In 20 years we’ve maybe had to put a new one in 2 or 3 times total. They’re weird like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is weird! It does seem like the bulbs in a couple of my lamps go out way faster than the others, even though I think I use them about the same amount.

      Also, why didn’t I think of stealing a bulb from another room to replace my living room one?? I have 2 lamps in my guest bedroom not being used at all. It’s so simple, it’s genius.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. haha! Those do come in handy in a pinch. Trick is to remember to do it! Sometimes, we don’t remember, and have to go get some. I don’t like those big stores either, where what you need is way over on the other side. Just not worth walking all the way over there, is it? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve already moved a bulb from the bedroom to my living room, and now I’m sitting pretty! Let’s just hope I don’t use this as an excuse to once again not buy more! You’re right, The Other Side is just sooo far away. It could be dangerous for me to make the trip 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve got way too many things like this in my life. But then again, I’m a crazy person. There are days when I cannot do anything. Well, pretty much. I may manage to make a cup of coffee, but breakfast is just too hard. Or I’ll drive my kids to school but then come home and can’t seem to do much else until it’s time to pick them up. But, like I said I’m a wacko.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re not crazy! When you’re anxious or depressed, you already wake up with less mental and physical energy. The resources you DO have need to be reserved for the must-do things, whatever those are for the day. Paying bills, laundry, etc. After those tasks, all of the other simple duties feel impossible, because the little energy you had is all used up.

      Or maybe that’s just how I’m justifying my bad behavior to myself…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think there’s truth in that. I am able to drive my kids to school and pick them up… go to the grocery store when I have to… and stuff like that. But other stuff… stupid little things seem utterly impossible. Totally makes me feel useless some days!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And then when you do get one of the small tasks done, there’s no satisfaction from it, is there? You don’t think, “good for me, I finally got that done.” Instead, it’s: “yeah, I did it, but I should’ve done it two days ago. And now there’s 81 other things I have to do.”

        Or at least that’s what I do when I’m in that place…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh yeah, I do that, too. In fact, I thought that today. I went to Target for something… even though I really didn’t think I was going to get my ass out there (especially in the rain)… and when I got home, all I could do was think about the other 50 errands I should have also done…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Exactly. It really is like having another person living in your brain, and he (cause I decided it’s a guy 😉) makes you feel miserable about life and yourself, and then insists on diminishing whatever success or good moment you manage to find. But the twerp is totally wrong, because getting out to Target (and in the rain nonetheless) was actually a victory for you today.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Roy

    I find looking for this game in the grocery store extremely stressful. And usually after 3 or 4 hours I will ask for help, only to discover that they don’t put some things where they logically belong (lighter fluid with charcoal), instead it is sandwiched between the eggs and out-of-date dairy products! No wonder I can’t find anything in the store. I asked a lady once (she was somewhere between 85 and 397 years of age) and she began telling her life story and her relationship with the land upon which the store was built! Hence, I never ask for help anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I’ve had the same problem. I once searched high and low for popcorn – I tried the chip & soda aisle, the cracker & cookie aisle, even the cereal aisle, because I thought maybe it would be with the granola bars and fruit snacks. Normally, I’ll only try looking in 1-2 spots before giving up, but I really wanted popcorn! I finally asked someone about for help, and it turned out, the popcorn was on the beer and wine aisle. Why, Walmart, why??

      Clearly, these stores should ask for our opinions when it comes to organizing 😉


  7. Isn’t that weird?? I fall into this too… some easy task that keeps not getting done, despite being a capable adult, etc. Is it a misplaced trace of standing up to parents/authority figures? The inexplicable urge to press a button that a sign says not to press?

    I just know you’re capable of getting that light bulb, but it’s a standoff with yourself. I mean, what kind of pushover would you be if you made yourself buy a lightbulb?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there are probably a few different forces at play, but I definitely feel like it’s at least partly a rebellion! It’s like I lived according to my parents’ routines and way of doing things for too long, and now I’m a grown up and will do it my own way! Grrrr! Never mind the fact that I haven’t lived with my parents for 7 years lol.

      When you put it that way, now I’ll probably NEVER get lightbulbs! Just to prove to myself that I can stand my ground. Haha. Maybe I can get a friend to enable me by getting some for me…


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    1. Yeah, batteries are even worse! It seems like they’re never in the same place two weeks in a row. I think I’m a bit more motivated to find them though – somehow, sitting in darkness doesn’t seem as big of a deal as not being able to use my tv remote or other device 🙂

      Why didn’t I think of ordering offline? That’s brilliant!


  9. K–so your blog is my new favorite thing. It’s hilarious and gives me great comfort to know that someone else hates buying light bulbs as much as me. It’s a weird symbol of adulting that I’m not sure I’ll ever live up to. Also, thumbs-up on the Oregon Trail reference 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s weird about lightbulbs! I’m laughing right now because my mom ended up giving me a bulb as a joke after I wrote this post, and I totally used it – but now another bulb has gone out in a different room! Haha. The cycle just continues. Thanks for reading, Eva – so glad you like my blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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