free hit counter Snacks, please!: Why America Rules The Earth

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why America Rules The Earth

So, the au pair deal...we get childcare, she gets a place to live in America, and we both profit from "cultural exchange," says the Boston agency that charged us $7,000 for air fare and health insurance.

Let's review how the cultural aspect is going:

Example #1: The Opie offers to make an El Salvadoran soup. I am delighted! I am sick of cooking dinner every night (for unappreciative cretins who demand canned corn and Stouffer's Salisbury Steak.) She makes out her shopping list: Four fried chickens and a Coke.

Ha! No, seriously, she wants a whole chicken, yucca, green beans and a spiny, bile-colored vegetable called a guayaquil. Sadly, our Safeway does not stock it. Oh, also, $6 worth of lemons, which she uses to disinfect the chicken, and then throws away.

Anyhoo, it smells delicious and she graciously ladles a few bowls. I glance in each and decide that she should have the one with the chicken neck peeking over the rim.

Oh no! "That is the best part," she exclaims. "I save it for you."

And so, I sit there, sucking meat from vertebrae, pondering the guiltless life of a vegetarian. "It is delicious," I say honestly. (Also delicious: The tamales that she sometimes brings home from Columbia Pike.)

The next night, I make spaghetti squash with Parmesan and butter. "What is this?" she sniffs. Pokes. "It's a kind of squash...with cheese," I say. She laughs. "Very strange. I don't want it."

Grade: 6.5 -- Soup was very good. Squash was great!


Example #2: When I get home from work yesterday, the Opie follows me in the kitchen and stands there, shifting, while I wash my hands of office germs. "Um. I have a question for you," she says.

Oh dear.

"This...is for the cat, no?" she asks, pointing to a very clever bowl with tiny blue fish swimming across the rim.

"Yep."

"But...I found it in the dishwasher!"

"I think about this all day!" she continues. "I do not like it!"

"Well," I pause. "It's disinfected in there."

"Cat saliva on the dishes!" she continues. "I do not like it!"

"Yeah, well...," I say.

(Think: Do I want to promise to handwash the catbowl every day?)

With an air of finality, I hope, I conclude, "It doesn't bother me."

Grade: 2.5 -- I am not a crazy American cat lady!!


From the Opie's point of view:

The worst of America:
Overdraft protection. Thirty-five dollars a pop!
This obsessive walking, walking, walking everywhere.
The disgusting cats.
The expense! Everything is expensive.

The best of America:
Instant chocolate milk, microwave popcorn and brownie mix.
Free movies at the library!
Starbucks. And the dollar store.
Washing machines, clothes dryers, and vacuums.

4 Comments:

Blogger RandomReality said...

I am with your au pair on the Cat-bowl-in-the-dishwasher thing. My mom does the same thing and it grosses me out and I like cats. And I am glad you ate the chicken neck - she made it just for you!

December 4, 2007 at 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Jane said...

I think "Eating the Chicken Neck" could a great title for a book.

Jane in Florida

December 4, 2007 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...

Why aren't the babies on the list of good things in America?

This does explain that crazy look I got from her when I asked her if she took the babies for walks every day.

December 4, 2007 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

Try living in a household where you have to explain to the second member of the household why it is inappropriate to put your plate with meal remnants down on the floor for the third, four-legged member of the household to eat before putting them in the dishwasher.
I'm with the opie on this one.

December 10, 2007 at 7:23 AM  

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