Posted by: thezedword | October 10, 2008

Kiwis are very polite people

Last week, we went to dinner with our friends Mable and Phillip at the house of their friends, who have a five-and-a-half-year-old kid named Max. He’s was a boisterous and friendly little tyke. We first met him when he opened the front door, proclaiming, “I just cut my finger!” He then poked his thumb into the air to show us a wound he had received while playing with the business end of a tape dispenser. Phillip administered first aid.

As you can see in his portrait, Max had insanely blue eyes and walked around with a flower taped to his shirt. When I asked him why, he told me that he was trying to dress as people did in olden days when they wore flowers on their shirts and top hats. However, he could not find his top hat.

As a right of passage into the house, Max gave Stacy and me separate tours. Stacy was up first, she was given the abridged tour and I the grand tour. Max showed me the courtyard in front of his house and the tulips his mother planted that he liked to hit because they popped back up like an inflatable punching bag; his parents’ bedroom; the bathroom; where the rubbish bin was; his dad’s music room, where he taught me to play the piano; and the backyard, where he had two surprises for me: a blue bell flower and a bird feeder. Also in the backyard was the veggie patch, where Max unearthed a potato, and he showed me where they had put the rat poison to take of the rodents that helped themselves to the compost pile. He also pointed out the poison was gone, so the rats probably were too.

Back inside, he showed me his bedroom, where I ruined Star Wars for him. He showed me a Darth Vader toy and told me he also had a Luke Skywalker, but he broke Luke’s arm off and put him away.

“Well, that’s OK, Darth Vader cuts Luke’s arm off anyways,” I said.

Max’s eyes grew wide and he gasped. “He does!?”

I decided not to tell him who Luke’s father was.

From there, Max put on a police hat and gave me a robber hat and we played Cops & Robbers. Before the game was over, dinner was served and we sat down to eat. Mable and Phillip are going to Cuba next week and the conversation turned to me, my family and I tried to offer the little bit of knowledge I have on Cuba. When I was asked if I’ve ever been, I responded, “No, we can’t go because of the embargo and my grandmother won’t let us go anyways.”

Before I had a chance to explain why, Max asked, “Well, why don’t you just kill her then?”

His parents wanted to know where he got that notion from. He didn’t know.

Max quickly grew bored with dinner and went back to his bedroom to play around. He came out dressed like a soldier and named Stacy The Queen. He then proceeded run around the house, fell on the floor and started screaming, “THE CAPTAIN IS DEAD! THE CAPTAIN IS DEAD! TELL THE QUEEN THE ONLY CAPTAIN TO DEFEND THE FORT IS DEAD!” His dad had him sit on his lap, pointed out that he wasn’t bleeding from anywhere and Max decided he was still very much alive and the fort was safe.

Then Max dressed up like Santa Claus, declared everyone was on the “Nice” list and gave us all presents. Stacy got two presents. A sword and a Spanish book, since she had said at one point that she wanted to learn Spanish. I was given a box of action figures and toy cars, so I technically received the most presents. When Max went around the table offering kisses to everyone, Phillip’s present was taken away because he told Max he didn’t want a kiss from him.

After dinner, we went up the hill to Max’s grandparents, who were off touring Canada. Still dressed as Santa, he held the hands of Stacy and me as we swung him in the air. When Max’s dad explained that we were on Mount Victoria and we were almost near the top, I thought we were almost to our destination, so I offered to carry Max on my shoulders. He quite liked the idea and I bent over so he could climb up. He wrapped his fingers around my forehead and I put my arms around his feet so he would stay in place a top my frame and not go tumbling down the side of Mount Victoria.

Now here’s where I realized a) the mountains here have very many windy roads all along them, so “near the top” does not in any way mean “almost there” and b) that I should have paid better attention to Max’s tour. I had forgotten that just before our game of Cop & Robbers, Max told me, “I’m farting because I’m a little bit gassy.”

So, when I was carrying him on my shoulders, in the sweetest, most polite New Zealand accent, he told me, “Excuse me for farting.” A few steps later, “Excuse me for farting.” A few more steps later, “Excuse me for farting.”

I told him I was going to have to put him down if he kept passing gas on my head. He promised to stop.

“Sorry,” he giggled.


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