So last night, I’m driving home from work, just as I usually do. Of course, since it’s January in Chicagoland, it’s fecking freezing here, and still dark. Winter wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the cold.
So anyways, I’m driving home, and part of my route runs along the Fox River here. The homes that face the river are all rather large, with big yards and more square footage than I’d need in a century. There are also not as many street lights along this stretch as you’d usually find, which might account for the street department putting up a bunch of barriers along the river side of the road “just in case.” As in, “Oh look, the street drops off about 6 feet right into the water – maybe we’ll put up a barrier just in case those trees don’t do the job.”
It’s a nice, rather winding road, dark and not hugely traveled by the general populace. This made it great for the holiday season when everyone had their Christmas lights up, and everything was decorated nicely. Some homes looked beautiful, especially one house that had what looked like hugged lighted icicles hanging from a rounded part of the house, and windows outlined with lights. They’d even put up some sort of framework around the base of the round “tower” part of the house, and draped lights over that so it formed what looked like a battlement of lights. Really beautiful, obviously took a lot of effort to create, and ComEd absolutely loved them as well.
I can see it like it was yesterday.
As a matter of fact, I did see it yesterday. Last night, driving home from work, which is the reason why I’m writing this.
I thought that the few lights still up (and lighted) here and there were just oddities, until I saw this place. Now, it’s hard to claim you “forgot” about having the Christmas lights still plugged in when the display is like that. Didn’t notice that the lighted reindeer (I’ll get to those sorts later) was still plugged in because the boat blocked the view? I can buy that one, in a way.
But to have your whole house lit up, three weeks into January? Umm.. as I titled this – give it up already. After January 10th or so, it just starts to look a bit pathetic to still have your holiday stuff going. I’ve driven past homes that still have their big, huge, SUPER SIZE blow up Santa and Frosty figures up. Now, in some cases, bigger is better, but holiday lawn ornaments isn’t one of them. At least not in my opinion.
I’m sure everyone has seen these things. They look to be about 8 feet tall, and have internal lights to show them off over night. There is just something about a HUGE Frosty looking down on you to make him seem not so cheerful anymore. Now, part of this is personal prejudice – I happen to hate lighted things of any size stuck in yards. All those absolutely adorable lawn ornaments that people have? Yuck.
It takes tacky to new heights, especially when you can tell the plastic snowman is almost as old as I am.
But this rush towards bigger and bigger things to put in yards for the holidays is just goofy. There was one house in my area where the back yard can be seen from a major road. They’ve got a large yard, with a really nice (I’m jealous of it) deck. And instead of doing the relatively tasteful thing and lining the deck with lights, and the back of the house (which I think they did as well), they had not one, not two, but FOUR of these big blowup holiday things. Santa, Frosty, the Nutcracker and Rudolph, all lined up along the back of the deck, facing the street, ready to scare children and adults alike.
Hey, bigger is better, right? Wrong. When did suburbanites lose their minds and all sense of good taste? I mean, if you’re going to go for tacky, then go all out and go for tacky! The person that starts in late October to hang all the lights, and ornaments, and arches over the driveway, and lining the roof – several times over – and so much … stuff … that pilots can use the house to navigate for O’Hare landings in the winter… That person is doing it up right, just to be noticed. A house with a wreath on the front door and on immense blow up doll (well, that is what they more or less are, right?) on the front yard is slacking on their tackiness duties.
Is there a point to this? Well, other than to mildly vent for myself, not really. The whole “big is good, so bigger is better” reminds me of so much else that is going on in our society these days. Americans are bigger than ever (that’s not better), food portions are bigger as well (still not good), cars and SUVs (well, I want a compact SUV, does that count?), houses with lots and lots of big, wide open spaces to heat/cool (I did say that ComEd likes those sorts of places, right?), and even bills and debt is getting bigger and bigger. It’s not better though.
How did we end up as such overly competitive people, who always have to have the biggest, fastest and bestest things out there? It can’t just be because of the media frenzy surrounding and permeating everything around us, can it?
Ah well, deep thoughts for a workday afternoon, it’s 5:15 pm, and I just received a trouble ticket for a mouse that doesn’t work, and the help desk rated it a “high” severity rating. It’s a stupid mouse! Swap it with one of the training machine mice, and go about your business. So I’m going to ignore the ticket until I get back into work in the morning. Ah, the glory of leaving work on time.