So, I got a wild-haired, hare-brained idea (is it hare-brained or hair-brained? I think hare-brained because it sounds like a phrase invented by Chuck Jones)…
Actually, first I got mad. I couldn’t believe (and still can’t) that a city as savvy and wealthy as Austin couldn’t figure out how to fund some civic holiday cheer. Hell, they didn’t even sponsor a Kickstarter campaign. I would have given $50 to see my name spelled out in lights, Lite Brite style. Tsk. Such a lack of vision and holiday spirit. I expected more out of my city.
So (here’s the part where the So actually goes), I decided to take matters and cheer into my own hands and decorate parts of the city myself. I would declare it #OccupyChristmas (or #OccupyChristmasAustin).
Cue the Ocean’s 11 soundtrack.
The initial plan (Phase I) called for lights. But I wanted to be responsible (as responsible as one can be while doing guerilla decorating) and not steal electricity. Stealing is not jolly. But as it turns out, solar-powered LED Christmas lights are still REALLY expensive. It required a …
Change of Plan
I bought tinsel (on sale) and a couple of bows and my friend and trusty elf helper (name held to protect the innocent ~ unless she wants me to release it, then I totally will) contributed ribbons and bows that she received from someone else. We had a lot of material but not a lot of time. And we had no idea how much running we would have to do in order to avoid getting ticketed for littering.
Littering with tinsel.
Location: Austin, North Central
Coming up with the first location was easy. And I knew, just for ease of travel (and getaway, should it come to that), that I wanted to stay on the north side of central Austin, focusing on the Highland, Brentwood, and Crestview neighborhoods. I knew those neighborhoods. I knew the streets. I knew that if the jig (is it jig?) was up, I could serpentine my way back to Guadalupe.
- Anderson Lane, Statues: The statues on Anderson Lane, which I incorrectly but affectionately refer to as the Easter Island Dudes, stand lonely, guarding nothing but their memories of the Buffet Palace that once stood in that very spot — next to the Bingo parlor and the pink gorilla.
- The Triangle: Originally planned for the trees opposite The Triangle complex, but time was short and traffic was bad.
- Ramsey Park, Rosedale: My trusty elf friend suggested we decorate some of the trees or maybe the sign. It also had the benefit of being near the Taco Shack.
- Guadalupe, Intramural Fields: Surprise entry. I was originally thinking of decorating something more in my neighborhood, but we drove past a tree that really needed some holiday spirit.
Austin, You’ve Been Kringled
The Jolly Awards (or The Jollies):
- Winner: Guadalupe St., Intramural Fields: Not only did the decorations stay in place for the entire holiday, someone actually got in the super holiday spirit by redecorating.
- Runner Up: Anderson Lane, Statues: Although one set of tinsel and bows was taken the day after decoration, one set remained unharmed by weather or naughty elves.
- The Wah-Wah Award: Ramsey Park, Trees Near Sign & Triangle: No sign of tinsel, bows, ribbons or bell left. Looks like these neighborhood spots have a case of The Grinch. Or The Mondays.
A Second Occupation
Next year will be even bigger. If I can get enough elves to pull together, maybe we can have solar-powered LED lights. Maybe we can make our own damn trail of lights…no, trail of AWESOME. Yes, that’s what needs to happen next. We create our own TRAIL OF AWESOME.
And to all, a good night.