"Wait! What's that?" asked seven-year-old Girl, catching a glimpse of the email I had opened on the computer tonight.
"It's just a message someone sent. But it's time for bed; go choose your book, and then we'll brush teeth," I responded, ever task-minded at 8 p.m. I get profoundly more task-minded when my husband has just run to the local brewhouse to pick up a Growler (read: big-ass jug) of micro-brew Stout for us to crack open as soon as the kids are snoring and dreaming of their Webkinz.
"No, but who are those people on the screen? I want to see them," she insisted.
"Okay, okay, but quickly. Then it's read, brush, and hop into bed with you, " I conceded, turning the laptop's monitor her direction. Quickly, there on the bed, Girl was joined by her five-year-old brother, Dinko, who chimed in, "What're all those people doing? I wanna see too."
"Well, the pictures in this message show people from all over the world standing next to the food they ate in one week. Then it tells us how much it cost for them to buy that food. Basically, it's showing us how different we are in the ways we're most the same." As I've mentioned before, I'm the parent who's devotedly working towards turning her children into The Boors in the Corner at future art openings.
For the next ten minutes, after we were joined by Groom (who'd been downstairs frying up onions, peppers, and fajita meat--cost: $5.43) on the bed, our little crowd of family scrolled through the photos again and again, up and down, responding to requests to "see the Italian people again so I can see their bread" or to "show me one more time the ones who live in a tent."
During this spontaneous family gathering, it was noted that:
--those Ecuador people don't seem to live in a rich house...but they have the best smiles
--Egyptian people are lucky because they live in Ancient Egypt, where the mummies are
--the Bhutan people have a richy-looking house, but there sure are a whole lot of them in it
--the Germans need to mess things up a little
--the Mexicans drink too much pop
--the Americans eat a shezbang of junk food
--the Polish people have the cutiest stuffed grey elephant in the whole hungry world
Do you see what we saw?
Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98
Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
As we powered down the computer, the kids asked if we couldn't delete the photo of the crap-eatin' Revis family of North Carolina and substitute it with one of our family and its weekly eats.
"We'd have to put lots of apples and oranges in the picture," Dinko noted.
"And for my lunch at school, I'd need five peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," piped up Girl.
"Then we'd need a bouquet of biscotti," I continued...
"Plus yogurt, granola, pears, carrots, peas, and a box of Teddy Grahams," contributed Groom...
before we all shouted in unison, "And a tower of homemade cookies!"
Ten minutes later, after the kids' ears had been filled, their teeth swabbed, their bladders emtpied, and their bodies strapped to their beds,
I tromped down the stairs towards the Oatmeal Stout in a Jug,
I took a happy second to savor
my blessed good fortune.