Flicker Vertigo

Earlier, I mentioned our recent spate of warm weather in December. As pleasant as unexpected warm weather can be (if you enjoy that sort of thing a week before winter officially begins), there can be unpleasant side-effects. A case in point took place on Saturday.

Around lunchtime, I had a craving for a ham and cheese sandwich, but lacked any ham in the refrigerator to throw a sandwich together. The weather was warm, so I decided to walk to the local Subway and get a sandwich there. I stuffed my Kindle into my back pocket, and made the short walk to Subway.

Subway was packed, but of course, it was Saturday right around lunchtime. I ordered a cold cut combo (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, honey mustard, mayo, oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper) and took the sandwich and drink to one of the few empty tables, where I sat to eat.

I can’t just sit and eat, so I pulled out my Kindle, set it on the table beside my sandwich, and began to read. After a minute or so, I noticed that it was difficult to read because my screen was flickering, and that flicker made it uncomfortable to look at the virtual page for long.

The source of the flickering was not my Kindle. The ceiling fans in the restaurant had been turned on, and someone had the brilliant insight to place the fans so that the fan blades swung just below the pocket ceiling lights. The rapid spinning of the blades in front of these lights caused a flicker throughout the seating area of the restaurant. It reminded me of the flicker vertigo I was warned about back when I was learning to become a pilot.

This design is not ideal, but in December it shouldn’t be a problem because the ceiling fans aren’t typically running in December. Instead, the heat is on and there is a sign on the door reminding customers to close the door behind them so that the cold air stays outside.

But on Saturday it was 70 and the restaurant was crowded and that meant that the ceiling fans had to be turned on to keep the air circulating. The poor design of placing those fans just below the light fixtures caused the flicking that made it impossible for me to read while eating my sandwich.

You can see why I prefer my weather to stay within its seasonal boundaries. When it drifts, we get chaos.


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