#300 Successfully navigating your home in the dark

Welcome to the dark.

It’s time to assess your nightwalking skills, young warrior:

Level 1: Fresh soldier. You’ve got confidence to try getting around in the dark but you’re just no good yet. Maybe you moved into a new place and are stubbing your toes on walls, stepping on your cat, and constantly flipping bathroom fans instead of light switches. You get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and end up in the laundry room or linen closet with your arms straight out. Purple war wounds on your thighs and broken toes from the fridge mean it’s time to keep

Level 2: Human Roomba. Your confidence keeps growing and now you’re finger feeling your way down hallways and into kitchen cupboards by the light of the alarm clock, cell phone, or full moon. This is the level where you first attempt stairs with one or two hands firmly on the banister. You may also successfully avoid strange objects in your path here — like ironing boards, rogue ottomans, or a random diaper bag. Don’t forget to hum softly and bounce off the walls.

Level 3: Kitchen Ninja. There’s no moon in the sky and clouds cover all the stars. You’re alone in the zone of blackness… but you don’t care. Nope, you’re breezing down hallways and through doors without using your hands and you’re smacking light switches on walls like you’re William Tell shooting apples off heads. Ninja mastery is complete when you manage to make an entire snack in the dark including the final challenge: spreading peanut butter or Nutella on toast.

Yes, successfully navigating your home in the dark is an important life skill that takes time to master. You start with getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom but over the years you eventually turn into Al Pacino from Scent of a Woman.

The only step after this is evolving to use some sort of sonar like a dolphin or bat.

It could happen.


Thank you for making The Book of Awesome a bestseller for 10 straight months. Check out the new Korean coverĀ  below which hits shelves this month.

Photos from: here, here, and here

56 thoughts on “#300 Successfully navigating your home in the dark

  1. I’m at level 2 with my current place. It’s been so long since I’ve lived anywhere long enough to achieve level 3!

  2. The other night as I was wandering in the darkness at level 2.5, it occurred to me what a wonderful place the darkness is. It gives a new perspective and allows us to enhance our other senses. Without darkness, we wouldn’t know light.

    1. If you want to know the good, then you’ve got to know that bad. If you wanna be happy, then you’ve gotta be sad.

  3. My friends and I achieved level 3 at our summer camp while walking around the camp after dark. Granted the moon helps but there are a lot of trees to block it out. But we successfully never used a flashlight in the dark while walking around.

    1. Same! I’ve done it anywhere I’ve stayed for more than three days at. Also, it helps to have good night vision.

  4. I LOVE this post!!! We’ve been in our house for two years now….but I remember the feeling very distinctly when I realized that I was navigating my new space in the dark. It was about 8 or 9 months into it, and when that happens, you realize YOU ARE HOME.

  5. Beware of sitting on toilet whose seat has not been correctly placed in the “down” position after last use by male of house. This is especially important in last trimester of pregnancy. (baby heard some cuss words)

    1. Hahaha!

      I don’t even mind if a guy leaves the seat up and I have to put it back down, but if I don’t notice it … I get real sad, real quick.

      I remember one time when I was little, one of my uncles left the seat up and when I sat down, my whole little body folded right up and fell in — I was wet from my back to my knees!

  6. Totally awesome and well said, Neil.
    Having moved 65x in my life.(This does not include the spaces at times I needed to stay in between.) For at least the 3 weeks of the month there’s no moon to navigate. Sometimes snow creates aglow, which I can appreciate.
    I think there’s an additional level to this, I’d call hover- floating…it could be similar to that of the Flight of the Ninja, or like that of The Shining. You know, ghost riding. Thank goodness they provide a luminous night light. And this goes splendidly well with the wind having howled it’s way through the forest, ousting transformers for hours upon hours where we live.
    Somebody just had to go and kill Bill now didn’t they!
    LOVE the new book cover for Korea. Who’s the artist?

  7. I think you meant to say “spreading Nutella on toast” :P And I am a ninja. It took one night where I forgot that there’s a mini-step to get down into my kitchen to ensure that I never forgot again.

    1. Right?? Come on, Neil.. do you even read these comments? Peanut butter is awesome and all, but GIVE YOUR READERS WHAT THEY WANT!!!!

      And what they want is always Nutella. Always.

      1. Well, if we’re going to give readers what they want, shouldn’t the phrase read: “spreading Nutella on Team Jacob’s abs.”?

            1. Bwahahahaha! I wonder if Jacob’s abs are going to be an awesomething? Neil? Think about it. Yeah, I know you already are.

        1. So … I just re-read this … and I have a question: does this mean we will be spreading Nutella on OUR OWN abs?! After all … we are Team Jacob! ;D

      2. HAHAH “do you even read these comments?”

        He’s right though. We want Nutella. Freddo, the end of the month is coming soon, so you’ll have to let us know if you won the February Nutella sweepstakes contest. ;D

  8. If you look at that picture of the ninja, it looks like he’s got a string with a ring dangling from out of his back.. I picture him being one of those dolls where you pull the string and make him talk, and he says things like:

    “I know Kung Fu”
    “Guns don’t kill people. Ninjas do”
    “What do Ninjas and Cholesterol have in common? They’re both silent killers”
    “Money can’t buy you happiness. But it can buy you a Ninja assassin”

      1. Ninjas with a pull string, is there any movies that would go with….is the question. Reminds me of Woody from toy story.

  9. I remember I made an entire meal, in the dark with my dad asleep, when I was in 7th grade. I think that is a step of awesomeness above Ninja, that is he master.

  10. Hahahah this post actually made me laugh out loud because it’s all so perfectly true. It painted such a hilarious photo in my head. Thanks Neil :)

  11. My parents have lived in their house for fifteen years now but there’s still a light switch panel in the basement that no one knows which switch corresponds to which light. We all just flick them on and off until we get the one we want. I may be a ninja in that house but the switches will always elude me.

  12. For a good reason to train oneself in getting-around-in-the-dark awesomeness, one should view the climactic fight scene at the end of “Wait Until Dark”, in movie or play form (well, watch the rest of it too.)

  13. i’ve moved too many times in my adulthood to be considered a ninja at this point in my life, but i remember being a kid and NEEDING to know my way in the dark, eyes closed and blind-folded just to make sure because i was scared my house was gonna burn down. i wasn’t gonna let a door jamb to the face stop me from getting out alive! the only clean space on my floor was the path straight to the door, and i slept fully clothed. you ain’t catchin’ me naked outside in the cold watching my house burn down!! and no, my house never burned down, but it could have…

  14. What’s sad is when you get a completely involuntary demotion because one of your roommates decides [in a middle-of-the-night drunken stupor] that the most productive thing he could do is move a recliner from the living room to his room, stop in the hallway, stack his basket full of dirty laundry on it, and then pass out in the hallway floor. There I was, all level-three’d out and BAM! Not only was I deterred in my original mission of getting to the bathroom, but I was presented with a secondary mission of not crushing said roommate with any combination of: a chair, a full laundry basket, or my body.

    It’s definitely funny now … but I must say that I’m glad I’m past the days of having roommates.

    1. The problem with roommates is that they don’t even have to be in a drunken stupor to foil your ninja skills. Sometimes they just rearrange things or leave their crap in the middle of the floor. I’ve been roommate-free for over 2 years and I’m never going back, no matter how broke I am!!!

  15. I’ve been checking out your blog for a while and starting to feel very grateful for what I have, eat, do, and other possible events that will happen to me in the future. Even tiny little things. Thanx! :) and I thank U again for giving me a chance to read your book in here, Korea! Woohoo! It’s now available in Korea, right? I’ll go grab one at a bookstore tmrw! :) Have a nice one!!!!!!!

  16. Oh, and I love the title!
    The word ‘Awesome’ in Korean doesn’t really hit readers (i think in general) that much hard and sound impressive in comparison to the word ‘Awesome’ in English. However, ‘ A spoonful of happiness’ Whoa- I like this one better !!! ;)

  17. hi. I watched your TED talk lastnight. so it’s my first time to visit your post.
    however, I just found korean book in your blog! wow.. awesome!

  18. oh my god, I forgot to tell you that I am korean. that’s the reason why I regard the korean book as awesome thing. sorry.

  19. it’s always a challange to try to sneak into the closet to grab a thing to eat without anybody noticing so you leave the ligths out , upon walking and remembering where all the things are you stumble upon a thing that a little family member put there you hurt your little toe and supress the pain , but it hurts like hell

  20. ‘A Spoonful of Happiness’… so Asian lol. Nonetheless it’s so exciting that your book is hitting the shelves in Korea, congrats! Irrational, unexplainable ethnocentric Korean pride is washing over me right now.. :D

  21. LOL….my apt is so small its easy to get around in the dark. One step and your in the kitchen, another step your in the bedroom (sorta).
    I was THE ninja growing up. I could get anything from anywhere in the dark. I didn’t have to feel my way around, I knew where it was.

  22. I am the ultimate pitch black ninja I can get around my entire house with no light without touching the walls. I think if I happen to go blind I would be perfectly fine.

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