Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ho Ho Ho Merry Exhilarating Christmas

I had a Shakespeare teacher tell me once that the difference between comedy and tragedy in Shakespeare's time was not so much that a comedy made you laugh more than a tragedy, but rather that comedy had a happy ending and tragedy a sad one. Perhaps it's also true that a comedy is a situation that makes you laugh in relief.

At any rate, we had a bit of a comedy, as it turned out, on Sunday afternoon. We went out to Maple Valley for our annual tree-buying expedition—me, Ian, L&S, Dr. T, her former mate R, and their two kids, M&D, and Cousin S. Mom and Marsh cooked us a fabulous breakfast, as always (that's one of the main reasons we keep coming back), then we headed off to their neighbors' (who own a cut-your-own tree farm) to cut our tree.

Well, the morning had been relatively dry—misty, with a few small showers. As soon as we trekked off into the rows of trees, however, the monsoon hit. Except it was 42 degrees, not 90 degrees. Nevertheless, soaking wet, we all got trees. Friend Dr. T chose a corpulent Grand fir, and Ian threw it up onto the roof of our car with our more modest Fraser fir. I stayed pretty firmly indoors, or outdoors under my umbrella, while all this was going on. Anyway, after the milling about and the almost endless goodbyes, we got on the road, Dr. T and Cousin S following us to Dr. T's house in Dr. T's car.

All went well until we got on I-90 to return to Seattle.

Ian accelerated up the on-ramp, and suddenly shouted "OH SHIT", with a great deal of alarm in his voice. I immediately dropped my knitting, quick enough to turn and see Dr. T's tree bouncing down the middle of the freeway behind us. "What do we do?!?" Ian cried, as I fumbled around the car, frantically looking for my cell phone.

"I'm calling 911," I said. "Let's get off at the next exit." So as Ian drove us off the freeway and into holiday strip mall traffic, I called 911 and reported a tree in the middle of I-90 that had fallen off of our car. I then called Cousin S. "Hey there," I said. "Did you see T's tree fly off our car?"

"We sure did!" said Cousin S, then "and we have it already on the side of the road. Just drive around and get back on the freeway and we can put it back on the car." There was some conference between Cousin S and Dr. T, then Cousin S came back on. "We're going to try to stuff it in the back seat," she said, "but come around anyway". They already had the tree? They were going to stuff it in the back seat of Dr. T's Corolla?

I called 911 back and told them the tree was out of the road (thanks to Dr. T, who, with great derring do, ran across two lanes of freeway), and then we drove back around to pick it up. While we were standing on the side of the road (amazing how loud it is when you're not in a car), a police officer came up behind us. He took Ian's license and the car registration, and our insurance information (in case of any calls—sounds like one truck hit the tree before T reTREEved it), let us off with a warning (otherwise it would've been a $216 ticket), and told us that, had the situation been much worse and someone actually injured by the thing falling off our car, Ian would've been charged with a felony. I can totally understand why, but it would've been very bad for Ian's career as a government scientist.

ANYway. The cop suggested we carry the tree/drive our cars up the road a hundred yards or so where we could pull off at a wider shoulder. This we did, and we got the tree on and I drove uneventfully the rest of the way.

Oh, and Hoover somehow really scraped up a leg out at Mom's, and so he's Mister Cone Head right now because he won't stop licking. Poor silly pup.


Robert said...

Yikes! I'm sorry to hear about all your treebulations, but glad that a felony-free record remains one of Ian's personal attreebutes.

-- Robert V.

Gregory said...

Are you sure Ian wouldn't have been charged with treeson? That would *really* be bad for his career. You should be treemendously relieved.