My family recently hosted some members of the FlyV Australia men’s pro cycling team, who had come to our fair town for a bike race. Right off the bat, it was kind of shocking that there is a bike race in our little village at all, let alone one that is apparently a big dog race in the cycling world. Who knew?
So a few of these gentlemen were extremely grateful to crash at our house for the better part of a weekend. I can only imagine that touring the world hitting all of the cycling hotspots actually means living out of a very small suitcase and lugging a bicycle with you on every international and domestic flight. The opportunity to sleep in a bed that had not been shared by hundreds of other people and use a shower that meets that same criteria would be a real crowd-pleaser to me, and I don’t even travel that much.
If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you already know that my family and I are weirdos. I don’t just mean that we’re quirky, or not your every day run-of-the-mill next-door neighbor. We’re strange folks. One or two of us are medically strange, the rest of us just grew up that way.
So we all had our own personal observations regarding these nice people. My first observation was, “Damn, they don’t make ‘em ugly in Australia.” All those times that I’ve listened to narrow-minded idiots spout off at the mouth about how we should just take all the prisoners and put them on an island somewhere, they weren’t taking into account the fact that we already tried that. It was called Australia.
Well, the joke’s on us. Apparently, when you take a bunch of convicts and let them battle it out for survival surrounded on all sides by water, they evolve. They turn out tanned and gorgeous with sexy accents and an uncanny ability for surfing. Go figure.
My husband observed about these people that they didn’t use the right terminology for anything. He still doesn’t know why the one man asked for tomato sauce for his eggs that first morning. I can’t get him to understand that the man was asking for ketchup. “Well, why didn’t he just say ketchup?” sweet husband demanded. “He did,” I explained patiently, speaking in slow, soothing words, “but in his language it’s pronounced tomato sauce. Now move on.”
The greatest reaction in the family, of course, had to be from my youngest daughter, who is autistic. She silently watched from the fringes for most of the weekend, a little bit disturbed by the intrusion of people in general, let alone people who walked through our home dressed from head-to-toe in spandex. When they weren’t walking through our home wearing only a towel, that is. I told you they don’t make ‘em ugly Down Under. Take that statement however you wish.
Younger Child tended to follow our guests throughout the house, never taking her eyes off them (she must have heard about Australia’s dubious origins and thought they were all still sentenced there for various and sundry crimes). The only time she vocalized an opinion was in response to one of them asking for more coffee by rolling her eyes and announcing, “He talks like Willy Wonka!”
Once the race was over and our guests packed up their bicycles, after winning for the second year in a row, I feel compelled to add, our youngest decided the fun had not gone on nearly long enough because she is now talking with a British accent. I am henceforth to be refered to as “Mummy” and my husband is just plain old “Da.” She cautions us that she is about to be “naughty.” The best part is watching her try to order in a restaurant, something that she never did when she was just an American. But now that she’s British, she keeps ordering tea “in a smaawll cup, if you please,” gesturing that she wants it with a saucer.
She’s not old enough to be an exchange student, so we can’t pretend that this child who sounds like a cross between Mary Poppins and Sweeny Todd is just here visiting. Therefore, we must have kidnapped her. Just when you think your child can’t embarrass you in public any worse than the time she stuck her head under the hand dryer in the ladies’ room of the museum and announced, “I just got a blow job!” you get to explain to the police that she’s just pretending. Wait. You get to explain to the bobbbies that she’s just pretending. I’ve now learned to carry her birth certificate around with me just in case someone accuses me of international child abduction. I never thought I’d need to forge a green card, ever, let alone for one of my children.