The Annoying Mystery of the Refrigerator Light

Recently, I drove to Ramstein one weekend (again). Seems like I just can’t stay away from that beautiful area for very long. Plus it is so close to France, only 30 minutes from the border! Normally, when I drive there, I’ll take a trip to either Forbach (30 minutes away) or to Metz (an hour away) to do a little shopping. But this time, I opted to stay on base and just chill.

As is normal (or more abnormal considering my past unpredictable situations) whenever I travel, I always experience a wild, wacky episode or two. Always.

I can attest firsthand that God has a sense of humor. It seems as though He guides me onto paths that hold adventures, which provide me with the subjects of my stories. I consider my love of writing both a gift and curse.  A gift in that I can easily capture situations others might miss or ignore.  A curse in that I won’t rest until after I browbeat my trusted friends into reading my drafts before publishing.  For good measure, I warn them that I expect feedback or else they’ll have hell to pay. They always come through for me, so they’ve never had to pay any hell! My friends: I gotta love ‘em. So, bear with me on this one, because although it’s a true story, it’s still so stupid.

I checked into the Kaiserslautern Military Community Command’s new hotel on Ramstein Air Base. The KMCC, as it’s called, is a relatively new 10-story hotel near the base exchange mall, which also houses familiar stateside store chains and fast food joints.  All very convenient.

The rooms at the KMCC rival any four-star hotel.  I had booked one on the seventh floor with unobstructed  views of the flight line and the rolling hills of the countryside surrounding the air base. 

And I just loved the queen-sized bed, fresh linen, and fluffy pillows, all of which prove to be the perfect sleeping pill after a hot shower.  I remained pleased with the little thoughtful amenities which others might ignore: the shower, shampoo, soap, and toothpaste samples grouped together on the shiny gray marble counter in the bathroom.  And I can’t forget the roomy closet, which has two floor-to-ceiling sliding mirrored doors.

But back to the real point of this story:  the closet. 

Whenever I entered the room, I could turn on the light by the door by using the switch on the wall.  But I would have to go to the bathroom and use the switch on the wall in the bathroom to turn on that light, and I would have to go to the lamp on the nightstand next to my bed to turn that light on. 

Yet to save time and electricity, as the front desk people suggested, I should put my room card with the electronic chip in the slot next to the light switch by the door so that I could turn on all the lights in the entire room at the same time.  Not sure why they have this set up like this, but it’s the Air Force. They’ve always been the ‘different‘ military branch. 

So after using my room card to unlock my door, I dutifully put my card in the slot next to the switch on the wall and voila! I was able to turn on all the lights in my room at one time, including the bathroom. Will wonders never cease?

After unpacking, I took a shower (no chance of an overflowing bathtub this time which is another story).  I put on my jammies, turned off the lights and jumped into the bed to read by the light from the lamp on the nightstand.  All snuggled and comfy, I became distracted and rather annoyed when something drew my attention away from the gossip mags:  a glow from a light coming from the hallway.   

Irritated, I got up and saw that the door to the closet was ajar and that the light in the closet was still on.  I looked for a switch on the wall outside of the closet to turn off the closet’s light but didn’t see a switch.  I opened the sliding door wider and peeped inside the closet for a switch and found none.  Puzzled, I began to wonder what the hell I needed to do to turn that damn light off! 

Again, I looked inside the closet, but I still could not find any light switch.  Scratching my head, I thought to myself how the hell did this light get turned on in the first place?!  Then it dawned on me when a light bulb came on in my head.  This epiphany took me back to my childhood days.  It was a revelation bigger than the ego of the most narcissistic idiot on this planet.  It was the mystery of the refrigerator light!

Like me, no doubt you did this same thing when you were a kid. Initially, I couldn’t figure out if the light inside the refrigerator stayed on or not when I closed the refrigerator door.  Like me, you probably stood in front of the fridge repeatedly opening and closing that refrigerator door until your little brain discovered that when you shut the damn door, it pushed a button inside the refrigerator that turned the refrigerator light off!  I was blown away!

So remembering how excited I was back then when I solved the refrigerator light mystery, I simply closed the closet door and BAM!  The light went off! Just like that! I was tickled that the refrigerator door light technique had survived over the years and had figured into the construction of these lovely closets in this modern, military hotel. 

Also as a youngster, I was proud to have figured out the mystery of the refrigerator light all by myself. I kept quiet about my Ah-Ha moment, though, and never discussed my discovery with anyone else in my family.  I think if I had mentioned this to any adult in my family, especially to my two older brothers, I would have never heard the end of it.  Knowing those two knuckleheads, they would have suggested to my parents that they plant my little ass in front of a child psychologist for weekly sessions and treatment for my rampant curiosity, which never killed this cat! 

So now, as a full-grown, somewhat mature adult, I felt really stupid not knowing that the light in the closet would go off once I closed the damn doors!  Just like the refrigerator light did when I was a kid. To me, it seems like the simple, silly stuff never gets old.

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