The dad I work for is a Master of Knowledge. At sixteen, he was admitted to the University of Otago for medicine. He knows geography, astrology, tide patterns, and the history of the world. He pianos Beethoven, Stravinsky, Balakirev, and Liszt's grand etudes. He fabricates piano compositions in his dreams. He probably beef strokes to Albert Einstein's photograph. He makes a living by handing out eyesight like Santa Claus. And in his spare time, he authors books on tectonic plate movement. I don't know what a photon is.
However, people hear me when I speak. His everyday speech comprises whispers and shmumbles similar to mine when I'm blazing liquor and smashing beer.
When my vagina had just been grabbed by the three-year-old, who then asked if I had a penis, my brain processed as much as a dirty hooker who sold her grandmother for heroin. The dad murmured something about vows and sixty years. He interpreted my eye contact as a contract to attend the great-grandparent's sixtieth wedding anniversary the following weekend.
Six days and an hour and fifteen minute flight later, five kids, myself, and the parents arrived in Christchurch for the mom's grandparents' sixtieth wedding anniversary. One hundred and fifty people dung splattered together in a reception hall on a farm outside of Christchurch. White roses and sparkling lights were as prominent as titties at strip clubs. The great-grandparents clearly went for a low eco-impact/treehugger approach towards alcohol. There were fifteen bottles of wine, two jugs of Bourbon, and two of Scotch. For one hundred and fifty people. Thirty of which were children under the age of twelve, but still.
The five- and seven-year-old girls debuted ivory princess gowns with satin sashes. Classical music languidly pulsed in our ears, punctuated by conversation and child screams.
Fifteen bottles of wine. Four glasses per bottle. Over one hundred drinking adults. I don't do math, but I was positive the stats required I helicopter around the corner bar like an alcoholic if I wanted to get boozed.
An hour passed before I saw another guest repeat at the bar I raided at fifteen minute intervals. My duties increased to premature ejaculation speed: get a glass of chardonnay, hug a child, drink glass. Get a glass of chardonnay, kiss a child, drink glass.
With dinner served, conversation shriveled as lamb absorbed red wine sauce. Garlic mashed potatoes and Waldorf salad politely settled in sober mouths. Dessert distributed, and within five minutes the kids cantered through walkers and dodged canes around the dining room. Then the Bach CD hit a roadblock of little girl fingers. The seven-year-old I look after clambered on the stage in her princess dress and yelled something to the audience that only the four tables nearest to her comprehended. Lady Gaga's "Just Dance," ejaculated into the ears of the ancients and the coffin dodgers. The five- and seven-year-olds twirled and tumbled in the routine the seven-year-old, we found out later, had choreographed as a surprise.
In Auckland, when the mom and I devour a glass or two of wine at dinner, Juice TV (New Zealand's version of MTV) goes on and the prancing breaks out. The kids dance on tables and counters brandishing spoons as microphones. Apparently we've done it a few too many times. When the little cherubs thrust their hips, the eighty-somethings glanced around the room. They looked as nervous as if the girls were dancing in garter belts, g-strings, and bustiers. When the girls grabbed their crotches, the eighty-five-year-old great-grandfather choked on a bite of chocolate cake. The music continued, the girls kept dancing, and the mom I work for dashed to the table and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on her grandfather. She's a physio. I thought physios treated people with physical disabilities. Apparently they know the Heimlich as well.