I’m not a huge fan of Christmas – it seems to be fairly stress-inducing, what with all the shopping insanity starting Thanksgiving evening, the crazy drivers in their race to the malls, those damn Whos down in Whoville with their incessant singing – it just seems like it’s more headache than it’s worth. Every once in a while, however, something happens that really makes me appreciate the season: an unsigned gift left at my door (thank you, dear anonymous gift giving friend, for the delightful copy of “The 50 Funniest American Writers*: An Anthology Of Humor From Mark Twain To The Onion”!), selfless acts of kindness that I suspect may happen less frequently during other times of the year, the kidnapping of young Peruvian adults immediately upon their arrival in the United States … you know, that sort of thing.
The Live Acorn and I drove down to Salt Lake City on the 23rd to spend the weekend with my brother and his family. Trips such as this are always fun, as pretty much everyone involved can legitimately be described as “on occasion, somewhat goofward-leaning.” We were lounging about chatting that first evening, when my sister-in-law (I’ll call her Cindy because that’s her name) received a phone call. After a brief conversation, she hung up and announced “Well, that’s good news! My Peruvians are coming!” My immediate thought was that she might be having a stroke or some other type of medical emergency that has “spouting gibberish” as a symptom, but The Live Acorn and I were quickly filled in on the details behind the pronouncement.
Apparently, Cindy had left her parents’ home the previous day, and had seen a foreign-looking couple walking down the street pulling luggage and looking quite lost. Being the
Had this happened to me in a foreign country, especially one as filled with oddballs and weirdoes as ours seems to be, you can bet your sweet bippy that I’d be homeward bound on the next flight out. Perhaps still in a state of shock from being shanghaied, the couple did not hightail it home, but instead, had actually agreed to join us for Christmas Eve dinner! I have never heard that Peruvians in general have a lack of common sense, so I must assume that this particular pair of travelers were simply more naïve than most.
Well, The Live Acorn and I were heading down to a friend’s house for a few hours on the 24th, so we didn’t get to meet them upon their arrival at my brother’s house. That’s probably for the best, as the stark difference between leaving a relatively normal environment and returning that evening to what was happening made for extremely high comedy.
When we returned, the Peruvian guests were in the living room, Skyping with their relatives back home. Meanwhile, my brother, who may or may not have familiarized himself with a glass of wine or three, was explaining his method of remembering their names (oddly, he had seemed to conflate being out-of-sight with being out-of-earshot, as he was quite enthusiastic and somewhat voluminous in describing his mnemonic devices, even though Paola (pronounced pa-WAH-la) and Moises (pronounced moy-SAYCE), both of whom's English was quite good, were just around the corner).
“You see there?” he said, gesturing wildly to a pie tin with a few slices left. “Pie! PIE!” One of my nephews, who could see both the guests and his father, at this point placed his head in his hand and began massaging his temples. “And we said ‘hello’ when they walked in, and Spanish for that is “Ola! OLA! You see? PIE-OLA! PIE-OLA!” My nephew was, by that time, moaning audibly, and I had started to giggle uncontrollably. That moment is now burned into my memory just as strongly as that night with Mary-Margret Schoonamanzer behind the Piggly-Wiggly so many years ago.
Other highlights from the weekend (they joined us Christmas afternoon as well, and even brought a few more of their country-mates … I believe they had come over to work at the ski resorts, who commonly hire internationally, for the season) include such questions as “Do you like to start fires, Moses?” and “Do people respect their mothers in Peru?”* Granted, those may sound a bit odd, but taken in context, they … they … ok, they were just plain bizarre.
I haven’t seen any news about changes in the relationship status of our two nations, so I assume that the Peruvian Consulate is still in the “What the fuck? He said what now? Ok, ok … go through it one more time …” phase of figuring out what to do.
Now that I think about it, a few traffic jams aren't really all that much to endure, if it means getting to experience things like this. Maybe Christmas isn’t so bad after all.
* I swear by the ghost of Bob Feller that I am not making those questions up.