That’s the way it was when I was a kid. Therefore that’s the rule.
Every year, I drive through the city, voicing my opinions, pretending I can enforce the rule. Please note: multi-colored does not include those newfangled blankets of lights. Don’t wrap a shrub in a blanket of lights; it looks like it’s caught in a fishing net. You’re supposed to wind a single string (multi-colored) in an ascending spiral from bottom to top. It is acceptable to drip white icicles from the eves. In the fancier neighborhoods, they often go for white lights only, which can either be tasteful or look like a motel. All red lights––definitely motel.
A string of blue-only lights drives me mad. A tree in the living room window covered in blue only, somebody should call the authorities. An entire house done up in only blue lights, my head explodes. But year after year, I round a corner on the way home from the grocery store and I’m confronted unexpectedly with a blue menace. Or I’m innocently driving along, on my way to yoga, and a blue tree pops up in somebody’s yard. I gasp. I choke on my candy-cane cookie. Blue destroys the neighborhood. It’s a Martian plot. Santa doesn’t wear a scrap of blue.
Our own neighborhood, four blocks of Main Street, is dark. Over the years, we must have gotten tired. Our houses blinked out one by one. The last decorating family, our next-door neighbors, moved out this past summer.
Pulling onto my street, I rest my eyes from the strain of bright lights in the rest of the city. I rest my brain from the strain of holding high standards for other people’s decorations.
Last week I turned the corner onto our pitch black street. In the distance a faint blue glow. Police? Ambulance? Star of Bethlehem?
Through the branches of oaks, more blue lights came into view.
A block away, I put on my sunglasses.
A chemical fire?
Our next-door neighbor’s house.
Blue Christmas lights bordered both sides of his driveway. They framed the front of the house. Outlined the eaves and roof. The chimney. They framed the windows. The front door. Formed a bow above the door. They ran along the handrail going up the front steps. They were wrapped around shrubs. Winding up the trunks of trees. They marked off the perimeter of the yard like blue crime scene tape. And the Christmas tree in the window––blue.
I took off my sunglasses and chuckled.
Well played, Universe. Well played.
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