To the jenth power ...

I read the books. I watched the show. I unflinchingly wore a sunbonnet to second grade. What started as a childhood obsession has developed into .. well, an adult obsession. I'm going to visit some of the sites depicted in the Little House series of books. Go west, (not-so-) young woman, indeed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ho, ho! The Misanthrope ....

.... search no more, I'm she
Some folks like Christmastime,
None of those folks are me ...

Well, hell. I've been lost in a fog of newly-minted singlehood, plummeting temperatures and dreadful Christmas music. It's been tough, but I've managed to persevere. You may ask yourself, "How? How can this woman present such a brave face to a cold and unfeeling world?"

Well, kids, I live in Scranton.

Did you ever see those satellite pictures of the United States where you can see all the lights? Those nighttime shots that show the light pollution patterns of North America? If you were to see one that was taken in the month of December, you'd see a tacky, flashing red blob over the northeastern region of Pennsylvania. Said blob would be composed of large "snowglobes" that imprison Winnie the Pooh, flashing reindeer who are poised to spring from rooftops, and countless Marys(Maries?)-in-bathtubs who are bathed in the seductive glare of sixty-four red floodlights each. If you were to listen closely - even from space - you'd likely hear the tinny blare of Christmas songs issuing forth from nine hundred and thirty-six outdoor sound systems designed to enhance the more thorough of the holiday yardscapes.

You may think I exaggerate. Indeed, I do not.

It's always struck me as amusing that so many holiday films make much of "that house" ... the one that's completely festooned in holiday crappery. If you're from Scranton, the gag is completely lost on you. Rather, you'll look at the countless strings of lights and the six-foot-tall illuminated, spinning candy canes and think, "What a piker! Hell, that place over on Moosic Street had more going on by the first week of October!" Sad, really. In our local efforts to remind neighbors that the holidays are, indeed, upon us, we've managed to blunt our humor. And our collective sense of restraint, apparently.

Sheesh - I really do sound like a snob. And I'm not. Granted, I'm more of a fan of a simple Moravian Star porch light or carefully-placed strings of monochromatic bulbs, but I do appreciate the work that goes into these houses. I can't imagine being so full of holiday joy that I'm motivated to erect small Christmas vignettes with moveable mannequins. Still, though, I get a kick out of driving around the city, gaping at the well-lit homes. Imagine the effort! The sheer number of extension cords required! The electric bills!

It's really something. I may have to collect photographic evidence.

That said, I really don't like Christmas all that much. Perhaps that makes me a rotten person, but it's the truth. The only parts of the whole shebang that I like are the repeated onslaughts of calorie-rich food and the decoration of my Christmas tree. I often consider the fact that these are activities that I could do at any time during the year. I mean, I could haul a spruce tree indoors and decorate it to celebrate Labor Day or the Academy Awards. Others might think it a sign of mental illness, but, indeed, it could be done. In addition, I'm living proof that fattening foods can be cherished throughout the year. So the two most appealing parts of the holiday, for me, are things that I could do at any time. This realization sort of shoots down the whole "most wonderful time of the year" theory. For me at least.