I am carrying my old desk lamp into the elegant lighting store, trying to slip past the crystal chandeliers on my way to the repairs department. Standing in line, I stare at the clutter of parts I can’t even identify. “Can I help you?” the man asks.
“I need a new switch,” I say, gesturing at my old lamp. “When I turn the three-way bulb on the lowest setting, it flickers.”
The man removes the shade and the bulb. “A 50-100-200-watt bulb is kind of hard on this switch,” he says, “but the switch itself is fine.” Then he holds my bulb up to his ear. “Listen,” he says.