I Believe that Children are our Future...

There are, in fact, Americans that travel overseas. Quite a bit of them, in fact. Our friend Miriam has danced in Australia and has backpacked much of Western Europe. Jamie's been to Israel. Scott used to live in the Czech Republic, David's been to Asia, Patrick learned Spanish in Guatemala, the other Patrick met his WIFE in South Korea, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. So it would be silly to have a blog based on the differences between American culture and that of a foreign land.

That said, however, this is Dizzle's first overseas experience (first time ever being west of the Mississippi River!), and the first real long one for Baby G. Because we're spending so MUCH time here, there are certain things that we find slightly amusing, or downright... well, foreign for lack of a better word. We are not making fun, we are simply allowing for some of the nuances to come to light. When you're in a country that is NOT yours for a period of time, it's the small details (“The little differences”, Pulp Fiction) that can really make one smile or cringe. Just when it seems like you're getting used to it, like you've got the majority of it all 'sussed out', you come to something so monumentally off the wall, you simply HAVE to share it with someone.

So. Have we ever told you about the children here?

The other day, Dizzle was working at the coffeeshop part of the airport food court, and a family came up for lunch and coffee. They were a little indecisive, but there wasn't yet a line behind them, so nobody was in any rush. When, item by item, they'd finally gotten to the end of the order, the mom said to the little boy, “Do you want something to eat?” The kid yelled, “I WANTED THE CAKE!” Now, Baby G and Dizzle aren't parents, and so the whole world of parenting is unknown to us. They may have all been having a bad day, or were nervous to fly or something, but Dizzle still thought he handled it well by GLARING at the child as he set down the slice of cake, never again making eye contact with the mom. He wasn't telling her how to parent – on the contrary – he was having a private, psychic conversation with the kid and telling him he was a little brat who should probably start saying 'please' and 'thank you' or, sooner or later, he'll end up with his cake shoved in his face.

When we were both exploring up North, we stopped at a campsite for the night, just to pitch the tent for a few hours and get some sleep. We were next to a campervan with a very nice family from Auckland who offered us beer and soda. We'd clearly had quite a long day and were looking forward to getting to sleep. And we would have, too, if the couple's two young sons hadn't been, we swear to God, HITTING OUR RENTAL CAR WITH A TENNIS RACKET. And the parents said NOTHING!

Right now, in current events here in NZ, the main three stories are: the policemen who've been forcing themselves on women and videotaping it; the murder spree of a paroled man named Burton, who was caught shortly after he was released to begin with; and a potential law on the books banning parents from smacking their kids – even a little. Everyone here has an opinion about all three of these things, but the one we've been paying almost NO attention to is the last one. But as soon as we hit one of these little punks, we'll probably start.

Dizzle's sister, Claire, and all four parents will probably read this post and laugh. They'll all smirk and say things like, “They'll understand how it is when they have kids.” To this we say two things: 1. So? You might be right, but we're NOT parents yet and so nanny nanny boo boo. :P And 2., just because we don't HAVE kids, doesn't mean we aren't FAMILIAR with kids. That's why we mention it at all. Believe us, if this were a couple isolated instances, we'd never mention it. We would just go, “Ah, well, I guess kids are kids everywhere,” or something. We are saying that there are a lot of little demon midgets running around in this country and if you ever end up visiting here, don't be surprised. That's all we're saying.

Don't get us wrong, the well behaved kids here are SO cute. The little almost-Euro accents being so polite and adorable... it's quite heartwarming. Like something out of a Roald Dahl book, or a movie starring that kid from Kindergarten Cop. Those kids are all right by us, and we look forward to them.

The other kids, the ones it will soon be illegal to smack, need to be shipped off to someplace where their days are spent learning to be polite and respectful of other people's space. But no tennis or cake.

They'll understand why when they're old enough.


Peong said...

And that makes kids here different from kids there how...? :-)

Baby G & Dizzle said...

Peong, we were afraid this would be the reaction - an easy one from people judging us for this post while NOT being parents ourselves. So the answer is this: My parents didn't hit me all too much (Hi, Mom & Dad!), but if I'd ever tried to repeatedly hit a couple's rental car with a tennis racket RIGHT IN FRONT of my folks, THAT vacation, for me, would've been over right then. I'd have been banished to the campervan for the rest of the trip - the out-in-nature equivalent to being grounded. These people, however? They just smiled and said nothing. When I worked at family restaurants before (not TGIFriday's, but still...), it got to the point where I looked FORWARD to kids coming in. They said cute things, were well behaved (usually), and could increase my tip if they made a mess. Here in NZ, we've had JUST AS MUCH exposure to tykes as we have in recent years in the US, with very different outcomes. So, HOW is it different? Maybe it's not. Maybe the air is so clear here we just notice it more. So there. :P

Jake said...

I'm old school. I will kick a kid ass! I believe once they one year old you got the right to hit 'em in the chest and the throat. Old enough to talk back, old enough to get fucked up! I like to beat 'em in they sleep--put Kool Aid on they eyes and lips so they can't scream, can't see.

You just need to turn Bernie Mac loose on these kids for a few minutes. The whole country will straighten up.

Peong said...

I try to avoid being in situations where kids are involved in general, but based on trini's directorial experience, adn the time recently when I have been in close proximity to children for extended periods of time (unfortunately this has most recently been on airplanes) its a generational thing more than a national thing I think. It was the parents offering the kid more juice or trying to get them to watch spongebob on the porta-babysitter/dvd player for the 5-1/2 hour flight to LA and never once using the word "no" to try and stop the squirmy whining. Or maybe it was the (at most) 3 year old who bounced off the back of my seat and made high pitched what some people might call cute baby noises for the first 2/3 of Sin City before mommy finally took him out of the theatre while daddy got to catch the end of the movie. I tend to think the blame lays at the feet of shitty parents, and that unfortunately may be the legacy of our generation. In either case, I still say its not just NZ.

Peong said...

Oh, and i don't think you need to have kids to recognize shitty kids/parents.

Jake said...

Weighing in on the general issue, I've both worked with and spent lots of time with kids (here in the States, obviously) and I enjoy them very much. In my experience there are perhaps one or two kids out of a class of thirty or so that turn out to be difficult in a significant way--would that adults were able to attain that ratio.

So I'll speak in defense of American kids at least until age 10 or 11. I have total, unvarnished, murderous contempt for any and all teenagers.

Eric said...

I have total, unvarnished, murderous contempt for any and all teenagers.

AMEN brother. Most teens I have had the (un) pleasure of speaking to have a usefulness just above medically-retarded Nazis.