Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ice Cream You Scream

There is an old adage which states that “an elephant never forgets”, but after spending some time with my cousins and their two young boys, I firmly believe that the word elephant should be substituted for five year old. Mariana and I were approaching a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do and were not particularly feeling like accompanying our hosts as they went to run some basic household errands, so we politely declined their invitation to join them and decided to go out for a lunch date by ourselves. My cousins, Joy and Zach, were completely supportive of our decision, but I soon learned that I made a grave faux pas by not consulting with their oldest son, Charlie, first. Charlie is perhaps one of the most intelligent and amusing children that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, but he is also prone to not quite understanding why on Earth someone would have the audacity of refusing his company. Thus, the negotiations began for an acceptable penalty to be imposed on my wife and me for ditching Charlie for a private lunch date. With his younger brother, Ollie, casually and curiously listening intently to our conversation, all parties mutually agreed that in exchange for our gross negligence, Mariana and I would treat Charlie and his family to the ice cream of his choice immediately upon their return from running errands. We all parted ways feeling quite confident that we had successfully circumvented a potentially dangerous situation. Zach, Joy, Charlie, and Ollie made their way to the grocery store as Mariana and I headed to the much anticipated “Schnitzel Parade” that only happens on Sundays at one of the favorite neighborhood eateries. After packing on some extra pounds of discounted Schnitzel, we returned to an empty house to catch up on some emails and watch a little undisturbed English television (quite a luxury after spending most of our travels without it).

Zach returned with his family a couple of hours later and decided that Ollie and Joy both deserved a much needed nap. Unfortunately, he made the same mistake that I did and did not consult Charlie first. We spent the next hour fighting a losing battle trying to explain our reasons for not immediately going to get ice cream as we had promised. I cannot speak for Charlie, but I can only assume that his reasoning was extremely sound: “so let me get this straight, you said that you were going to buy me ice cream as soon as I got home in lieu of accompanying me to the grocery store, and now you are telling me we have to wait because unnamed third parties want to take a nap!” Being the bright and intelligent boy he is, Charlie even offered logistical options to bring the ice cream home as his mother and brother slept. For instance, when presented with the problem of the ice cream melting, Charlie simply insisted that we could use extra napkins to quell any unwanted messes. After an hour of heated discussion and complete self-loathing on my part (due to making a promise I could not keep), Joy and Ollie finally woke up and we all headed out for some delicious cold treats. I have a feeling that Charlie, although extremely happy with his well deserved treat, will be watching me like a hawk now to ensure that I rightfully fulfill my promises to him in the future.

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