I’ve been working crazy hours with no weekends off. As usual, I’m nowhere near where I need to be in time to hand DESTINY to my always patient and brilliant editor, Holly. Thus, for the third year in a row, my Christmas elf (also known as my beautiful daughter) has done almost everything. All she asked for in return was a Christmas tree.
I said no tree.
This from a woman who used to have 4 Christmas trees and 22 boxes of ribbons, bows, ornaments, Santas and lights. My kid got very quiet which distressed me but I was soooo busy and it was all about the book and I had my head up my ass. Until today, when I pushed away from the keyboard because it was long past time to put some Ho, in the Ho, Ho, Ho. I needed presents. I needed to catch up. So, I took the subway up to Dundas Square–a busy shopping area in the heart of Toronto’s busy downtown.
And that’s when I saw the tree.
It was artificial (need that for the condo); it was pre-light (need that to avert nervous breakdown); and it was mid-sized instead of enormous (need that because of the cats).
It was also insane to buy it. I was in downtown Toronto, wearing heels, and many many blocks from the condo. There’s slush on the streets and even getting it down to the subway was going to be a bitch. It would be so totally…
I bought the tree.
And then because I’m Katie and Bill’s daughter, and I spent every summer being a boy at the cottage, I just dragged that sucker right out of the store. Up two escalators. Right across the mall’s lobby, right into the street, through the sidewalk slush, through stalled traffic–all the way to the right side of the street. And then I put me and the box in one of the street’s four lanes and stood firm. Any cab going by was going to have to drive around me. I propped my arm up on the box, and turned on the mega-watt smile.
The third one actually stopped. He couldn’t fit the tree box in the trunk, so he put it in the backseat and me in the front. He was a nice guy. I noticed this as we talked during red lights–he was worried that he couldn’t get the car all the way to my front door. He had an accent I couldn’t place and courtly manners.
I tipped him well–using the last $20 I had in my wallet. And then I caught hold of the box’s handle and dragged the tree through MORE stalled traffic. It was only when I got to the other side of the busy avenue that I realized I’d left the Christmas presents in the front seat. $70 worth of small presents–all geared for a man. I spun around but it was too late. His cab had been swallowed in traffic and was already out of sight. I didn’t even remember what cab service he worked for.
Here’s what I decided in the elevator: maybe Karma pushed our paths to intersect. Maybe he was having a lousy Christmas, and he needed something to land in his lap… Yeah…. I could live with that… I took the tree upstairs, and then rode the elevator back down because there’s no food in house–my husband’s been away–and I hadn’t eaten since 7:00 am–my editor expects that book–and I knew the sushi place was still open.
It all took time. The elevator, the making of sushi, the five minutes it took to drop into the convenience store for some milk. Twenty minutes had lapsed since the cabdriver left me on the corner of the street.
And that, my friends, is what it took that honest cabbie to make his way back through rush-hour traffic, find a place to park the cab, figure out which corner I likely lived on…
Ladies and gents, I kissed him.
Right there on the street.
I guess Karma had another lesson for me:-)