Earlier this year, entertainment conglomerate Netflix chose Norman as one of six American cities to get a Main Street holiday makeover, promising an orgasmic yuletide euphoria for Christmas starved residents across Oklahoma:
So, as I stood in front of Peters and Main in Downtown Norman this weekend, my mouth was naturally agape. Not in a winter wonder, mind you, but instead in a blitzkrieg blunder as scenic as your friend's Festivus Pole:
As cars lined up the one-way street, part of me had to wonder if their bill hadn’t been paid that month. While it looked like a decent-enough scene for Norman—at least that scant block did—I’m guessing that whatever chills and thrills the block was supposed to have, filled with lights and ornaments and whatnot, was, to be honest, kind of plain.
To hear Annahlyse Meyer, the City of Norman’s Chief of Communications Director tell it, however, the city was seemingly excited to be chosen, the fresh aire of making holy grounds out of sacrilegious salt was all over them and their children. From KFOR:
“The City provided traffic control during the installation process but there are not currently any traffic control devices in place. The whole street is open. The traffic issue seems to be related to a higher than average number of people driving through the area to see the lights. We’ve had a very positive reaction from business owners and residents on Netflix’s installation. Many businesses from the Downtowner’s Association tell us they’ve had a significant increase in business and foot traffic.”
The traffic when I went last Saturday evening was packed but wholly manageable, as was the foot-traffic as I walked along the concrete steps of the place. While there, I noticed the usual disregard of college kids and younger out and about, laughing and making jokes at the expense of the city, but, to be fair, that was mostly unavoidable.
But, still, the majority of gawkers were hanging out of their cars, trying to catch the momentary cool that their city was chosen by a heartless corporation they pay untold sums of every year for something that could be called quality programming. And while I still use my ex-wife’s account, even I was momentarily at a loss for words when under the electric stars.
Just as soon as it began, sadly, it was over, both sides of the street decked out as best as Norman could be, especially during this trying time.
As I made it back to my significant other’s car, about a block down from the lights, I saw a small shop with the most beautiful illumination possible; it was the Norman outpost of Guestroom Records and it was truly beckoning to me.
I was in there for exactly seven and a half minutes, a promise kept to a loved one.