When 8:30 pm came, he scuttled about switching off all the lights, until I and the yam I was chopping found ourselves plunged into darkness. Hubby appeared at my elbow and plunked down our one and only battery-operated candle next to my cutting board. If you have any experience at all with battery-operated candles, you will understand when I say that its feeble glow did not even reach the knuckles of my right hand. The precise location of the remainder of the yam was something to be felt but not seen. Naturally I voiced a protest.
"Hey," I exclaimed. "I can't see my cutting board! What if I chop my finger off?"
Hubby, who was rootling about in a nearby cupboard, did not seem interested. "Where are the matches?" he asked.
I informed him that they were in the cupboard he was looking in. Yes, I know 'looking' was really not quite the right word considering the circumstances, but it went unchallenged. Hubby claimed he couldn't find the matches. I pointed out that this might possibly have had something to do with the fact that he turned all the lights off first and started thinking about candles after. He retaliated, predictably, by accusing me of hiding the matches. I told him that I wasn't going to help him because I had enough to do trying to chop a yam in the dark without losing a finger.
To cut a long story short, he eventually located the matches by feel and then blundered about the blackness of the dining room, trying to find candles. Judging by the sound effects, I believe he stubbed his toe at least once. As he clearly wasn't having any success in his quest, I thoughtfully offered to switch on a light for him. Needless to say, he refused my help. After another long minute full of thumps and 'oofs', I took pity on him and advised him that the large vanilla-scented candle was in the bathroom. I didn't think he could handle tea lights and candle holders at this point. He stumbled off to the bathroom and found the big vanilla candle by dint of turning on the electric heater, which gives off a glow that is bright enough to read by. Then he helpfully brought the candle back to my cutting board, but by that time I had taken my soup off the heat and refused to put any more time in on cooking until I had some decent light. In my secret heart, I had already begun warming up to the idea that Earth Hour was the perfect excuse to order pizza, but then Hubby had to go and demonstrate his independence and self-sufficiency by cooking two eggs for himself in the dark.
I belatedly got into the spirit of the whole thing, and lit a small army of tea lights. Ten minutes before the end of Earth Hour, I recalled that all the lights were on downstairs. I forbore to tell this to Hubby, who was enjoying his eggs over by the window and reporting to me which neighbors had dark houses (most of them) and which ones had lights on. He was feeling so smug about it that I didn't want to ruin his mood. Instead I quickly ran back downstairs and switched off all the lights.
Earth Hour at our house tonight was a mix of success and failure, but still represented improvement over last year's total obliviousness. Maybe next year we'll get it right!