Thursday, November 30, 2006

European influences

If you’re going to tell a lie then make it as near the truth as you possibly can. Failing that, make it a whopper. [translation = nothing to do with meat patties]

I nip along to my pal's house.[translation = friend of the American variety] We are gathered together for the purpose of making greeting cards prior to the holiday. [translation = first time for me so I'm on my best behaviour {sub translation = behavior}]

“Gee those are so……….so, unusual. Is that a British thing?” I look at my mangled Christmas cards [translation = holiday cards] I believe the average 7 year old would have managed a better result. I’ve never been very good at glitter. There always seems to be an awful lot of it, just not quite in the spot that I planned.

“Did you get the details about the project?” I mutter feebly "stamps and stamp pads?” thinking of the sole ‘stamp’ that I currently possess which luckily happens to be a snowflake, which is secular and can therefore qualifies for use to make a
‘holiday card.’

“Er, yes, that was the general idea.” I’ve been very lucky really. Their next project was going to be to make a Thanksgiving card, but I vetoed that idea, fairly vociferously if I recall correctly. There is no-one is my current social circle to whom I an send a card with a pumpkin, turkey or bat on it, to. There again, if I think about it very carefully, I don’t think I have a social circle or square for that matter. Eight female American’s generously agreed to forgo their Thanksgiving cards in favour of a ‘holiday card’ just because of me, and now in return, all I can do is provide this rather pathetic specimen, which failed to fulfill the most basic requirement of using a stamp and stamp pad.

It wasn’t entirely my fault, but I bear the brunt of responsibility. If you leave three children and several different coloured stamp pads together, you know that by the time you get back, that the different colours will have become one colour, namely sludge. Sludge is not the ideal choice of colour for a snowflake, for a holiday snowflake no less. So I had to improvise, I had to improvise at short notice. I had three little people to help me improvise.

They are dry now, the cards that is to say, not the children. The inches of glue did eventually evaporate but as the result the paper is rather, rather more like corrugated cardboard than paper. [translation = card stock]

I’m going to be slung out before I’m even in. [translation = expelled] The chance to spend time with normal people, doing normal things, talking about normal things. She only let me come out of pity. I think it was one of those moments where there is some helpless silent pleading going on and you can either drop a house brick on the pleader or reluctantly invite them along.

Please let me join. Give me another chance. This is a small manageable pastime. Not too expensive, not too time consuming that you do with normal people. I think? Is it normal to spend time with bits of paper making cards with stamps and ink pads? I don’t know if it is or not, and what’s more I don’t care. It’s about as normal as I’m going to get. I’m not really in a position to be picky or cast aspersions.

“So are those finger prints?” she asks squinting at the card and turning it upside down.
“Less finger prints, more a finger print turned into a mouse. See the whiskers, tail and ears I added with a felt tip pen, er, I mean, a marker?”
“Are mice a festive thing in England?”
“Oh yes, absolutely. It’s a national pastime. Haven’t you heard about ‘the mouse who came in from the cold’?
“I don’t think I’m familiar with that one?”
“No! How extraordinary. It’s very big in Europe, all over Europe in fact. Indeed I don’t think that there’s a European country that doesn’t decorate the house with mice?”
“How cute! Tell you what I have a really nice mouse stamp. We just have time to do one over again. It would be so nice for everyone else to share the European experience.” Hallelujah! I’m saved. Thank heavens I’m weird and foreign after all.

Ten minutes later she has produced a lovely card. The original mouse was holding a piece of cheese which we covered with a festive star involving no glitter. It looks distinctly odd, but it’s saved by bacon. The other guests arrive and I hear my hostess greet them and make introductions.

“Ah! Here is Mm. Marie Claire L’Amour, a fellow European.” Quick! Think of something! Perhaps I can hide under the table, in the dining room, run home. I opt for the kitchen under the pretense of making snacks, but not out of ear shot.

“Reallee, a mowse? What you say ees name ees again?” Pity Californian homes don't have coal cellars to hide in.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Total aside to your post, but I'm not sure I'd consider the edible Whopper a "meat" patty either. ("Edible"? Who am I kidding?)

Don't mice feature rather prominently in that Twas the Night Before Christmas poem?