I’ve said this before but, we don’t belong here, not really.
For some reason, I not sure how, we ended up on this street, in this town. A place we sometimes like to call Vanillaville. Sometimes we call it Stepford.
We like to give it those names because really, only white people live here. And they’re all the same age and have the same number of kids and the same Lexus SUV with the little, white, silhouette decals of their family and their pets on their rear windshields.
Most of them have McCain/Palin stickers.
And they all seem to have the same kind of unconscious awareness. They robotically careen their Lexus’ around the wide avenues at high rates of speed, oblivious to anything around them, desperate to fill a prescription before the soccer game ends.
Some have cell phones which have actually merged cellularly with the subcutaneous tissue just under their scalp and will eventually have to be surgically removed, when their plans expire.
Freud would have a field day here.
We call this place Vanillaville and we call it’s residents oblivioids.
But one thing that the oblivioids of Vanillaville do well is Christmas.
The above photo is not the best representation of Vanillaville’s holiday zeal, it’s just one that I like and was taken directly across the street from my house on what could arguably be called Candy Cane Lane.
Driving around this town during Christmastime it’s hard to tell if it’s night or day. You don’t have to turn on your headlights and you may even reach for your sunglasses on some streets.
There are entire neighborhoods that you know, it’s really a competition. It’s a competition to see who can drain the power grid in Los Angeles County the fastest. Sometimes neighbors even join forces creating Christmas light block parties by stringing lights across the street from one house to the other, sharing the electric bill and showing up the Jones’ down the street.
They put huge Christmas trees at the end of the block complete with lights, ornaments and even presents. You actually have to drive over the extension cords to get around them.
It’s all really, quite, beautiful.
People decorate their houses with every imaginable kind of spangle and ornamentation. Most houses have those lights hanging from the rain gutters that are supposed to look like icicles and white, wicker reindeer grazing on the lawn.
But the trend for the past few years in Vanillaville at Christmastime is inflatable snowmen and Santa Clauses.
In addition to icicles and wicker reindeer my neighbor has both inflatable snowmen and an inflatable Santa Claus. One of them, I’m not sure which, actually has a motion detector built into it that plays “White Christmas” sung off key and at a too-slow tempo by what sounds like a wino on his second bottle of Thunderbird, whenever a leaf blows past in the yard.
The singer puts emphasis on the wrong beats so it sounds like, “I’m dREEEEAMMing of a whIIIIIte ChrismAAAASS!”
And as for Linda and I, well we go more for the retro, minimalist look.
We have a single strand of the large, old-style, teardrop shaped lights that accent the roofline of the house.
That’s it. All one color. Red.
We love Christmas too but we really don’t belong here, not really.