Blast from the Past
One summer, when I was 12, I had a ritual. Everyday around 7 pm I used to go with my neighbour, Daniel, to buy ice cream. There was this special ice cream shop, 15 minutes walk from home, in Constanta, my home town. We would chat and laugh and make jokes all the way there. One day he wanted to buy ice cream for his entire family. It was sold in a casserole. For some stupid reason, all the way there I made fun of him that he would go there and ask the lady at the counter for a passerole of ice cream (instead of a casserole). And what do you think? He got there, bought the regular ice cream for himself and asked for a passerole of ice cream too. Of course we laughed our butts of. Me and the other five hundred million kids in the neighbourhood I passed the story onto.
Fast forward 21 years. I go to fetch the five year old from play date. 36 XYZ Road, Kent. Fine. Google maps – check! Simple to get there – right, straight ahead, right, right and second to the left. Easy peasy. I walk slowly, enjoying Sistamamalover from Lenny Kravitz and sneak peek through people’s windows into their evening lives. It’s dark, but cosy.
In my head:
“Oh, what a nice painting!”
“I should get that lamp when we move.”
“I wonder if she is happy with him.”
“If I had kids like those, I’d never come home.”
And so on my chain of thought goes.
“Hm, was it number 26?”
“No it wasn’t! It was 36.”
“Ha! Remember that time, with Daniel, when he asked for a passerole of ice, instead of a casserole? Wouldn’t it be funny if you’d stop at …?”
“It wouldn’t. It’s not funny. I shouldn’t be late. 36 and that is that!”
“A-alright! Go back to voyeurism. 36 it is.”
“Here is 20. 22. 24. 24 again. Hm! There must be a mistake.”
“No, it’s not. There! There it is: 26! Ta-daaaa! Light is on. Figures. They are playing. Nobody upstairs. Doesn’t matter, they must be in the living room with some sane adult supervision.”
Knock at the door. Nothing. Knock again. Again nothing. Write message.
“Hi, I am at the door, but I seem to be unable to find the doorbell … ”.
Pause. Check again under flashlight. No doorbell, just an implacable red, but sad, door. Cellphone beeps, message arrives.
“You must be at the wrong door.”
“Number 36 … ”
“&%$%&$$ . Oh yeah sure! Sorry, got a little confused.”
I don’t want to explain the whole passerole story from the past. Seems futile. And not funny. Unless … Well you had to be there.