Our van had reindeer antlers for exactly 57 hours.
Our van is very festive during the holiday season. Paul, our vanpool leader, is sort of Griswold-family-Christmas manic about this. We have a bright red bow tied to one of the oh-shit handles on the passenger side of the van. We have a mesh bag of cinnamon scented pinecones that we kept up front until the smell of cinnamon made us want to throw up and we threw it somewhere behind the back bench. We even have a couple of goofy Santa hats that Paul insisted the driver and co-pilot wear for each and every trip in the van.
The only thing missing was a red Rudolph nose and a set of reindeer antlers. You know the ones… you see them poking up from car windows during the span between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In a moment of holiday fervor, I ordered a pair of antlers for our van.
I got them on a Monday. We were so proud of our antlers. We rode into work that day with big grins on our faces Maybe we looked ridiculous, but it was fun being ridiculous. When we pulled into the parking garage, the antlers scraped the low ceiling of the garage. So we dceided to take them down when we pulled into the garage, and then put them on when we left the garage.
We wanted to protect our antlers.
This worked for two days.
That same Wednesday, I drove the van. So I was responsible to put an antler on my window when we left the garage. I pulled out of parking garage and realized antler not on window. Paul, my co-pilot for the day, reminded me of my responsibility.
“You should put that on,” he said, pointing at the antler.
I put on my turn signal and hooked a left out of the garage. “But we’re moving.”
“Do it at a stoplight,” Paul insisted.
The crossing guard in front of our building stopped us. “Oh look! You can do it now!”
Feeling the pressure of a holiday fanatic bearing down on me, I rolled down my window. I was clipping the antler to the window when the crossing guard waved us on. Oh crap… I wasn’t ready!
“Son of a…” I spun the wheel, turning the van into traffic.
Paul sounded disapproving. “I told you to wait until we stopped.”
“We were stopped,” I growled.
We came to a red light, and I stopped the van again.
Paul nearly wet himself in his excitement. “We’re stopped! Do it now!”
I fiddled with the antler again, keeping one eye on the light.
Unhelpfully, Paul declared, “We have the right of way. Why are you waiting? You should go. Go now.”
“Mother f…” I ground my teeth together biting back the curse. I turned the wheel swinging out wide into a right turn. A cup of ice Paul kept in the front console landed in my lap, I shrieked, and jerked my hand. The antler on my side of the van flew off into traffic.
“Oh no! I lost it!”
“You lost the antler?!”
“It fell off the window!”
“Well why didn’t you wait til we stopped?”
“We WERE stopped then you yelled at me to go! And your stupid ice flew everywhere!”
“Well you didn’t have to listen to me!”
I picked ice ice off my lap and threw it at him.
Thus I became the next safety moment for everyone aboard the van. All the way home I wondered to myself what the van looked like with only one antler. So if you see a car or truck out there with only one Christmas antler and wonder how that happens…
Now you know.