Must there be light?

I figured I’d write this up for Earth Hour.

A few years ago I dated this woman whose apartment was on the second floor of a building. Instead of a simple light switch for the light in the stairwell, there was a timer switch. You had to turn it on for at least five minutes before the light would come on. Whenever I visited, I would turn it until the light came on, walk up the flight of stairs, and be in her apartment within four minutes to spare on the timer. But my girlfriend, if we came back from dinner or something, would crank the timer all the way around up to, I think it was a thirty minute max. I wanted to ask her why she turned it on for so long, but given her nature, it most likely would have turned into an argument, so I never found out her reasoning.

There is also a timer switch in the laundry room in the apartment building where I live. Whenever I go in with my laundry, I turn it on for five minutes, do whatever, then turn it off as I leave. But I don’t know how many times I’ve gone in to the room, nobody is there, but the timer is one for twenty minutes. Why? Can anyone explain why someone who goes in to, say, move their clothes over to a dryer needs to turn the light on for half-an-hour? Anyone? I mean, if it was just a simple on/off switch that was left on, I’d say people were just lazy. But it takes more time and effort to turn the switch all the way around. People may even have to take their hand off to get a new grip. So why do people do it? Why must there be light in empty rooms?


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