Thursday, December 13, 2001

So, um, that's my skinny tree. In keeping with tradition, I waited until I had several beers in my belly before biking over to the tree stand on 14th and 1st. Interrupting this French guy talking to a homeless guy, he very quickly asked "Are you a buyer?" (no, I'm a seller, need some more trees?). When I showed him my $17.00 dollars, his smile faded quickly; I explained I always come to this lot, and get a tree for around 15 bucks - he sighs, says, "well, I dunno, let's look over here" ( they always walk me over to the ugly trees they set off to the side, I'm used to that) and he pulls out this stupid midget tree, with the 2 pieces of wood nailed in to the bottom (why the hell do they do that?). It just came past my knee in height, and I said "NO NO, this high" gesturing to the top of my head. "Oh, you think you can get a 4-foot tree with only 17 dollars?" the Frenchie asked into the air. "No, I'm a bit taller than 4 feet" "And you're sure you bought from this lot before? Maybe you should come back tomorrow"

Have you ever had a tree salesman NOT find a tree for you at 3 a.m.? Not me! And where was the white trash guy who's usually here at this hour, anyway? Shit, I remember paying that guy with a ten, a few singles, and a couple of subway tokens one year - grrrrrrrrrr. Hoping on the bike, heading home, I knew I could check out a few places on the way. Ahhhh, the lot across from The Cock. Our Lady of Perpetual Sinners or something like that was selling trees - yeah! I pull up, the guy smiles widely, asks "How Can I help you?" and I say "I want a big ass tree, this kind ( I point to one of those short-leaved ones), and I have 17 dollars" "Oh, well, I work for The Church of Perpetual Sinners (or something like that) and they've instructed me to make sure everyone walks away with a tree" - My kinda guy!

"Wanna take a walk through the forest?" Teetering a bit on the bike, I thought "what kinda pick-up line is that?" but aloud I merely said "huh?" - "Why don't you look through the trees, pick one out you like, and we'll take it from there" So, I pedal a few steps, pull out some nice-looking big-ass tree and I hear: "WHOAH WHOAH!! - er, I mean, you sure you like that one?" "What, don't you think it's nice-lookin'?" he agrees, but asks about the size of my............... apartment, I think, showing me skinnier, smaller trees. Chuckling, he pulls out this tree that you see pictured, and he assures me it won't take up too much space (I don't remember saying I didn't have much space, but, it's closing in on 4am, and I want a tree, goddamnit!) OK , cool, I relent ( I really do prefer the goofy-shaped ones anyway, but it's all part of the game of buying). He then gives it a "fresh cut" handing me the piece he just sawed off, insisting I sniff it, and take off my glove and feel how moist it is. I half-expected to have to swirl it in my mouth for a few moments before swallowing, but I made enough ooohs and ahhhhs to make him happy knowing I was happy.

Biking home, getting a few stares from other drunks (er, Happy Holiday Celebrating folks), I got into the apartment quickly, put my tree in the corner (knowing it would be too dangerous to try to set up the stand at that point) and began my late-night search for food. Hours later, I wake up, apartment smells great, remnants of food near my bed, and my head pounding, pounding pounding....... So, later, after the tree gets a chance to breathe, it'll get a ton of lights and ornaments I have collected over 19 Christmases in New York.