My parents have been travelling in South America for over a month. Alex and I finally came over to their place last night to celebrate my dad's birthday and pick up our loot. I might be 32, but I still gladly accept the travel gift.
On and on, this gift exchange went, each present punctuated by a wacky South American story of "the time the lights went out in Valpariaso" or "the country western couple from the cruise who sing God Bless America at retirement homes." Finally, my mother leaps to her feet and says, "Now it's time for the funny presents!"
She crawls behind some armchair and from underneath it, hands my brother a used yogurt cup, which features cartoon characters from his job, thus demonstrating that Alex's work is appreciated all over the globe. And she hands me a photograph.
"Oh, yeah!" My father screams when he sees it. "Oh, this is terrific."
It's a picture my mother has taken along the urban road at some Chilean Beach. With skyscrapers on one side and a beach on the other, cars are parked along the sidewalk. And placed on the windshield of each car is some very bold marketing collateral.
Upon seeing these massive 80's-style accordion car shades placed on every single car parked along the beach, my mother instantly said, "I'm going to go take one."
Obviously, it was just a giant version of a flier. I'm totally with her on this one. My father on the other hand, finds these sort of wacky, rule-bending adventures terrifying.
"You can't just take one!"
"Sure I can! It's a windshield flier."
"Someone's going to see you!"
My parents apparently stood on the beach debating this for a few minutes and as they did so, the owner of one of the parked cars returned. Upon seeing this car shade on the windshield of every car in the vicinity including his own, he promptly ripped it off his car, threw it on the ground and drove off.
My mother dove for the coveted car shade, brought it back to their hotel, found it fit perfectly in her suitcase and decided that I had to have it. And so, through earthquakes and tsunamis, through three countries and customs, I am now the proud owner of this cultural object d'arte from Chile:
Welcome Home Mom and Dad! And obviously if you were ever in doubt before, you'll definitely know Rhonda the Honda when you see her now...