Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Lights--Economic Indicators or Global Warming Indicators?

This morning, as I went out for my pre-dawn run, I noticed how many houses kept their holiday lights lit through the night. In the past, I've seen a house or two stay lit through the night, but this year, it seems as if every household that has outdoor lights is keeping them lit. Not so with those inflatable things, however--pre-dawn yards are littered with the deflated corpses of these monstrosities/delights.

I thought of all the economists who use unusual indicators to predict the near-future economy. For example, when people start buying underwear again, economic perkiness is right around the corner. But what about holiday lights?

I'm not seeing as many extravagant light displays as I once did, but instead, simple strings of lights that ring the house and bushes--why not leave them on all night? They can't use up much more wattage than the porch lights, can they?

So, our holiday lights may not be a sign of impending economic health. I have an alternate theory: it's South Florida's response to global warming.

We've had yet another month of record-breaking heat. As I drive home at night, I think, who is putting up all these holiday lights in August? And then I remember that it's December, even though our daytime highs are close to 90 degrees.

Maybe we've put up more lights than usual this year to remind ourselves that the holidays are upon us--we have no environmental indicators to help us with that task. Maybe we can afford a cheery string of lights. Maybe I have lots of new neighbors who are more dedicated to festive decorating than the ones who have vanished.

I'm playing with a poem idea that juxtaposes heat rash and Advent, but so far, it's just gross, instead of interesting.

1 comment:

Sandy Longhorn said...

K., having grown up in Iowa and now living in Arkansas, I have a tough time reconciling holiday lights with green lawns. I'm not sure I'm fully in sync with southern winters and I've lived her 10 years! Hope you get some respite from the heat by January!