Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas Caper

I’ve never given a damn about Christmas decorations for the flat, but my new roommate was a big Xmas buff, and wanted the whole nine yards — wreath on the door, tinsel on the stairway railing, and above all else, a big honkin’ tree for the living room.  This is what took us, when we were living together, to Home Depot in consecutive years, and going through the spectacle of attaching a tree to the roof of my Hyundai and then performing some white-knuckle driving through the downtown streets.  It’s a good thing our sublet was maybe a 5-10 minute drive from Home Depot, since otherwise, my nerves couldn’t have taken much more concern over the ever-present fear of seeing that tree slide off the back of the roof (or, even worse, the front).

Most of the terror was confined to year #1, when I had no idea if this could actually be pulled off.  Fortunately, I had some nylon roof hooks, and my roommate was near military-level proficient at tying superb knots, so that tree wasn’t moving come hell or high water.  My roommate also had a reasonable expectation of tree size, and thus she was happy to settle for a moderately-sized evergreen that could fit onto my roof with relatively little muss and fuss.

So with the first year a success, I wasn’t too worried about our prospects for year #2, though the weather was just a bit sketchier.  There was a bit of winter wonderland-style fluffy snowfall, though not quite enough to make the drive any more difficult.  So, just as the year prior, we went to the store, she picked our the tree of her choice, then I carried it out to the car and strapped it on.

One difference --- in year #1, the Home Depot’s tree department was a stand-alone entity.  It was a big greenhouse area attached to the main store, and it had its own cash register and check-out area right inside for convenience.  This year, there was no cashier, and the greenhouse door that led out to the parking lot was (for whatever reason) closed, so I had to actually lug the thing through the Home Depot proper to get outside.  My roommate and I parted ways for the moment since she had to go grab some decorations, so I took the tree outside and began the strapping process….which was really just me putting the tree up on the roof and then waiting for her, since my roommate’s knot-tying prowess just put mine to shame.

So she came out with a bag of decorations, we get the tree secured, and off we went.  It was all hunky-dory until about halfway home, when she asked how much she owed me for the tree.

My response was, “uh, didn’t you pay?”

That was when we discovered we’d accidentally committed the perfect crime.  My roommate thought I’d paid before taking the tree out of the store, whereas I assumed she’d paid for it with the rest of the decorations.  I guess it’d be weird for a cashier to just take a customer’s word that they’d bought a product, and said product was now outside the store.  (You’d think the cashier would want to ensure that we didn’t have a larger and more expensive tree, for instance.)

Now, my roommate and I are both honest people.  Plus, neither of us wanted to invite the bad karma that would come with stealing a Xmas tree; that sounds like something that would get Santa sending a rabid Blitzen after us or something.  So we turned the car around and returned to the store to pay for the tree, leaving our consciences clean and my nerves only slightly flustered from the spectacle of having to make extra turns with a tree hanging off my roof.

So the moral of the story is, always have a cashier in your greenhouse.  It just makes things less confusing for everyone.  Also, if they ever make an Ocean’s Two movie, I’ve got a plot.

No comments: