Last week Frau Bienkowski and I got talking about how best to dispose of Christmas trees.
I was telling her about how I’d been über-enthusiastic in undressing my tree only to find that the recycle people wouldn’t be coming to collect it until the following week. Since I live in an intimidatingly law-abiding neighbourhood, I figured I might face ostracisation if I dumped it outside prematurely. As a result, I’d lugged it to the balcony where it was now in a sorry state of limbo, having left thousands of pine needles (perhaps out of spite, I thought) in its wake.
“I insisted on non-shed in my latter years,” said Frau B. “I just couldn’t deal with those needles.”
“So how did you get rid of your Christmas tree back in the day?” I asked.
“I just threw it out the window.”
“Yes, would you not consider doing that?”
“Why not? That way, you won’t have to clean up all the pine needles from the stairwell. After all, you don’t want to annoy the neighbours!”
“I can’t just throw my tree out the window! What if I hit someone? Like my crazy neighour? Or the 86 year-old Hausmeister?”
“I used to recruit children to keep watch,” said Frau B. “They’d stay below and give me a signal when the coast was clear. Then they’d carry it to the side of the road. I gave them chocolate in return. It was win-win.”
“I’m not doing that,” I said.
Fast forward a week and it’s Christmas tree removal day. A heap of sorry-looking Christmas trees has accumulated outside the apartment building. One individual, presumably with the admirable intention of not dropping a single needle in the stairwell, has even shorn their tree, leaving behind nothing but a creepy-looking skeleton of branches.
I enlist the urgent help of (resident savant) LSB.
He immediately makes his way to the bathroom, from where he emerges wielding the mouldy shower curtain we recently got around to replacing.
“Watch,” he says.
He lays the mouldy shower curtain on the floor of the hall and instructs me to lift the tree onto it. As if he were tucking a child into a hammock, he covers it gingerly, finally securing it with two firm knots.
Keen to get the credit for the ingenuity, I insist on carrying it down to the street myself.
I don’t shed a single needle on the way.
Later, when I relate the event to Frau B, she appears suitably impressed.