Great Moments in Suburban Passive-Aggression

Everyone in my neighborhood has a lamppost by their front walk. In December, several people changed the bulbs in their lampposts to red or green for Christmas, each house down the block alternating color. I was the first person to move into this neighborhood nine years ago and no one had ever done this, but viva new traditions.

One day in early December, an anonymous note was left in my mailbox suggesting that, to “join in the fun,” I change my light to green. Because I was traveling I didn’t have the time to do so, but I figured I would when I got home. I was back home for one or two days and hadn’t yet gotten to it when, one evening, I looked outside and noticed my light was green. Someone had done it for me – all stealthy and anonymously – because I had not “joined in the fun” quickly enough. They had also absconded with my normal white bulb. That latter part bugged me a bit – and someone coming onto the property to change it bugged Allison a lot – but fine, I had a green light. Merry Christmas.

I took all of my Christmas decorations down by New Year’s, but I didn’t manage to get to the green bulb. It was cold and snowy and miserable and I just kept forgetting. By February I was rather amused with my green light – I and one other person down the block were the only two who still had their colored lights up – and felt like seeing how long I could keep it before someone complained.

I should have known that given how the light mysteriously appeared and given how people operate in suburbia no one would actually complain. But this is how I discovered the lamp post by my front walk this morning:


No, they didn’t leave a white bulb. I wonder how long I can leave it like this before someone replaces it.

And if you doubt my resolve, know that I come from a long and rich line of jackasses who don’t play well with their neighbors. My grandfather literally paved his yard over and painted it green so he didn’t have to mow it. My dad refused to paint one deteriorating side of his house because you couldn’t see it from the street. Don and Anna next door didn’t much care for that.

So bring it, Suburbia. Bring it.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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