18 January 2007

the christmas tree epic

the people i'm staying with here in chicago did not know me before i showed up at their door with a suitcase and pillow in hand like a blind slumber party play date or something. they agreed to do this in part because of a pretty tenuous friend of a friend of a friend connection (although it turns out we also have a mutual friend, just one degree of separation apart), but mostly they let me in because they're nice people, and i needed a hand. so they did me a favor, and i am thus in some way indebted to them. due to this and the fact that now instead of having a living room they have a third bedroom, i often try to find way to help out around the house. this has included things like cleaning the kitchen or doing their dishes on various occasions, but the biggest chore that's needed done since i got here was disposing of the christmas tree.

so i did some investigating, and it turns out the day before i got to chicago there was a city-wide tree recycling effort, and all that needed to be done that day was carry the tree to the alley, and it would be collected and taken care of. for the week after that day, you could carry it to a tree recycling pick-up location. i looked around and found that the nearest one was about 2 miles away. and i asked myself, "how do you transport an 8 foot tree 2 miles in a big city if you don't have rope or anything other than your suitcase and your pillow?" i imagined larry david manually carrying a christmas tree down busy streets, shouting at the people who gave him particularly nasty looks, and thought that would a pretty funny episode of curb your enthusiasm. all i had to do was carry it, then, and i had a ready-made funny story to tell on future blind dates or in awkward moments after saying something offensive. so i bundled up, got my keys, and walked over to the tree. i picked it up by its unwieldy trunk, shifted my weight as if to make a step toward the door, and laughed at myself for being so ridiculous--this was not going to work. i informed my roommates they had until the end of the week to take it and offered to help, but said i couldn't do it on my own.

the week came and went, and the tree stayed put in a shared unfinished stairwell in the back of our apartment. my drive to be in some way useful was great, however, so i proceeded with plan b. i went to the hardware store and purchased a saw to cut the thing into tiny pieces and throw it away. i started into my work with great enthusiasm, gleefully chopping the tree into manageable pieces. it didn't take long until i'd gotten pretty warm, despite the fact that the stairwell was maybe 20 degrees warmer than the freezing air outside. so i took off my jacket and sweatshirt, placed them inside the apartment, and closed the door. the door that locks! the door that only unlocks with the keys in my jacket! the jacket that was now on the other side of the door! i realized what i'd done about 2 seconds after i did it, and tried the doorknob in case i'd unlocked it from the inside, but it wouldn't turn. i sighed and went back to cutting.

while i finished the job i considered my options. it would be several hours before a roommate came home, and i was at this point wearing a t-shirt. i didn't see as i had any option but to reveal my thoughtlessness to my upstairs neighbors, whom i'd never met before. i shuffled up the stairs and knocked on their back door. they had no way to help me, but they did know the landlord's number, so i called him and told him, too, that i am an idiot, and he told me that he, also, couldn't do anything. so i had to wait, which is where i was before, but now i'd also made a few new friends over "hi, i'm an airhead. lol!". i borrowed my new friends' broom and cleaned up the mess, and then i paced around the stairwell trying to think of something to do for the next long hours (why couldn't i at least have taken my ipod out of my jacket?!?). after some time, pacing and looking through the window at my jacket grew tiresome, so i sat down on the step outside the door i so desperately wanted to open. i thought once again how simply this might have been avoided, and, exasperated, i slumped back, leaning on the door and then falling backwards when the door opened, because i hadn't pulled it all the way shut. (lol!)

so i took the broom back, thanked the neighbors for their concern, told them i'd picked the lock using the super awesome secret spy skills i'd learned when i worked for the cia (now that's what i call saving face!), and went inside. later, after i'd grown confident about the workings of doors and door locks, i trudged out into the snow to the throw the tree pieces away. the biggest bag wouldn't fit in the dumpster, though, so i had to wrestle it in there, and when i did, the lid came down directly on my nose, causing the attractive blood coloration you see above. "dadgummit!" i (probably) exclaimed, and did a little "that hurts!" dance, imagining that probably every apartment window in the alley had people watching the christmas tree get the last laugh on me.

later that night...
"jeremy, did you get rid of the tree?"
"yeah."
"oh. thanks."
"no problem."

...no problem.

1 comment:

aaron said...

i'd say that story will definitely be useful in future social-rescue scenarios.