Friday, December 30, 2016
Why I Get Depressed During The Holidays.
My parents were watching the local news when they featured a guy and his very ambitious Christmas light display. After hearing the house was just an eight minute drive away, they planned to take me when I did my annual holiday visit.
After spending a half hour in front of a stranger's yard with about thirty other strangers watching a plethora of Christmas lights rather impressively synced to music, we finally decided to head home so we can warm up and feel our toes again.
My Dad was still marvelling about the display long after we got home.
"You know, the news said it took him about four months to put that all together."
I, being the trouble maker of the family, of course, decided to play devil's advocate.
"Um, I'm pretty sure he didn't really spend that long on it. He may have started four months ago, but I heard he has a job at some tech company so really, he probably only worked on it maybe a couple hours a day or something like that when he got home from work. Or just on the weekends when he had time. That definitely didn't take a full four months."
"Really? How would you know how long something like that takes?"
"I... do this stuff for a living?"
"You can make lights move and flash like that?"
"But you can't program them to a piece of music like that."
"Uh... Yeah, I can."
At this point, I am more aware than ever that my father not only has no idea what I do for a living, but he also doesn't have faith that I'm very good at it.
"No. You can't. You're making that up."
"How do you think we control lights at work?"
"Okay then. Prove it. Next year, make my house like his and program lights to music."
"Okay. The going Union rate for a lighting programmer is $42 an hour. It'll take one person about three days, or twenty four working hours, to make a similar set up to what you saw. You pay me my rate and you have a deal. Oh, and that price is just for labor. Lights and equipment not included."
"Really? You'd charge your own father that?"
"Really? My own father wants me to work during my one solid break from work a year? ...And for free?"
He stays silent for a second so I continue.
"You want skilled labor? You'll have to pay for it."
"You can really make lights flash like that?"
He still seems skeptical but doesn't want to pony up the money to call my "bluff", so he lets the matter drop.
By the way, in highschool, my first job was running (and programming) the lighting console for a local theatre company. So not only does my Dad have no clue what we do at work, he apparently has no idea that I could've been programming his Christmas lights since I was sixteen and my going rate was minimum wage.
Hope your holidays have been more enjoyable than mine! Have a happy New Year's and I'll see you all in 2017!!!!