In every culture, there are certain questions that, while sometimes petty, are effective in grouping people according to type. For example, Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello? Dogs or cats? Coffee or tea?
And, then there’s this defining query: giant blow-up themed figures on your property, or none?
We opt for none. We are slowly, it seems, becoming the minority. I’m surprised daily by the proliferation of these monstrosities in and around our neighborhood. And the subjects depicted are becoming more odd every year. First it was simply the occasional snowman, and then the phenomenon began creeping into other seasons; I saw colossal football players glaring out of air-filled faces, behemoth jack-o-lanterns, the occasional puffy witch’s backside emerging from trees or such, even Winnie the Pooh and Piglet riding in a sleigh pulled by hapless Eeyore…
Christmas remains the most decorated season, though, when it comes to big blow-ups that you can’t miss. The Santas are beginning to look a bit less scary as the designs are refined, and more friendly facial features are added. And yet, you can’t escape the obvious: these are enormous, silly creatures that eat up yard space, glow eerily, and are buffeted by every breeze that passes.
Perhaps the old city neighborhoods are the worst for carrying these displays overboard. There was one home in Bellevue that elicited chuckles and head-shaking from Todd and me each time we passed—the entire roof was covered with several blow-ups. A stupendous Hines Ward crouched atop the brick 3-story, and he was positioned next to some reindeer, which were standing by a huge turkey. And one home in Avalon, a place with a tiny front yard, chose to fill their entire 10 x 12 grassy area with these wintry eyesores; I dreamed many times of sneaking there at night, surreptitiously turning each character so that it was peering creepily into the first-floor windows of the home, and then staking out a spot next door in hopes of spotting the frightened dweller the next morning as he looked out and realized he was under surveillance by the giants. (No, I never actually did it.)
So, which are you? Is your yard sporting some of these guys, or not? Are you thinking about it? Eyeing them up and waiting until after-season clearance so you can join the ranks of folks who embrace the blow-up nation? Or have you already planted them in front of your home?