Driving down Camino Carlos Rey yesterday, the foliage on the enormous tree next to me at the stop sign grabbed my attention. I don’t know what kind of tree it was but it was tall, wide, and the leaves were anything but oval. It was bright yellow at the top top, gradually blending to a rich orange at the bottom. Since it was at one of the many stop signs on Camino Carlos Rey, I had a few seconds to take it all in.

As my eyes surveyed the tree, I realized this was the house that also has 30 or 40 pink plastic flamingos stuck in the ground. (Not grass, just ground.) Or maybe it’s 25, I’m not great at driveby pink plastic flamingo estimating, but it’s plenty.

I’ve noticed the house before – how could you not – and I always figure there’s some kind of story there because the only times I’ve ever heard of people having that many lawn flamingos have been when someone is trying to irritate a neighbor or neighborhood association.

The tree+flamingos thing always has a dissonance to it that sticks in my mind for a little while afterwards, dramatic fall colors or not. When I was laying half awake in the dark this morning, I found myself reviewing the previous day and the thought popped into my head that maybe pink plastic flamingos are like the “bless your heart” of lawn decorations.

(Act 1, Scene 1: “Oh, you don’t appreciate having to look at the single pink plastic flamingo I placed on my own property for my own enjoyment? I’m SO SORRY to hear that!”)

Under the closer scrutiny of full wakefulness I do not know if this is accurate, but it made lots sense when I was half asleep.