For roughly a decade I lived in a sprawling apartment complex called Oglebay Village. For those unfamiliar with The Village, it is an extensive network of federally subsidized apartments (HUD) built during the Reagan administration. It's roughly 150 apartments on about 3 acres of very expensive land. It's actually surrounded by a 5 star Arnold Palmer golf course and in close proximity to Oglebay Park as well as some of the nicest houses in Wheeling. I don't have any statistics, but this place must be one of the nicest HUD developments in the entire United States.
During the winter months, Oglebay Park proudly welcomes every grandma imaginable for what they call "The Festival of Lights." People drive from distant locations like Zanesville, Cambridge and Akron just for the opportunity to sit in traffic for 4 hours and witness this spectacle. I can sum up the entire experience in one sentence - Granny and Pap Pap saw giant candy cane. Yep, that's about it.
Now here's the deal. About 3 nights a year, the place would be a total zoo. For some reason, everyone comes on the same day. Usually the nights before Thanksgiving and Christmas. The traffic creeps along at the pace of a Golden Girls reunion tv special. There'd always be a line of cars on rt. 88 turning into the Speidel golf club. I would take this opportunity to exact revenge. I'd come flying directly at them, nailing my horn and flashing my brights. Sometimes I'd even spray my windshield wiper fluid just to get the full effect. This must have been terrifying because they probably had no idea I was turning onto Pogues Run Road. I'm sure I spoiled many visits to Oglebay and probably made people come to question our town's moniker as "The Friendly City."
Saf, why would you hate the Festival of Lights? Well, a tour bus once ran me off the road and I blew a tire. I decided that someone would have to pay even though I had no way of knowing which tour bus company was responsible. So for an entire month I took down the name of every tour bus that I saw in Oglebay. I then sent a standardized letter to about 30 companies demanding restitution with a xeroxed copy of the bill for the tire. The result was a major success. 3 companies immediately zipped me off checks for $80. About 5 wanted me to call them and/or provide further details. And the rest just ignored me. $240 - not too shabby.
My old roommate Alex and I wanted to build our own lighting display. Hidden in the distance, it would be set on a timer and light up for about 5 seconds every hour. The message would be a simple one - FUCK YOU. That shit has the makings of a real urban legend. But, it lagged in the formative planning stages and never really got off the ground.
I guess I just don't like these giant Kmart inflatable Santa Clauses and plastic reindeer ensembles. Just doesn't do it for me. And in the words of Frank Costanza, "I find tinsel distracting." Back in the Village days, we hung an inverted Christmas tree from the ceiling and decorated it with beer cans. Now, that's what I call bad ass. The tip of the tree was about 1 inch from the floor. Perfect fit.
Aside from the fact that I have no holiday spirit, I think there's a bigger issue. I've just never been one to enjoy premeditated holiday enthusiasm. Perhaps if I was a fellatio recipient under the mistletoe. Perhaps.