house to house
Last Friday, Sage came home with an unfamiliar teddy bear from school.
SAGE: Dad, look!
ME: Who's this?
SAGE: It's a bear, Dad. From school.
ME: You were given a bear?
SAGE: No, Dad. Just for a while. We have to dress her up then go house to house.
SAGE (sighs): Dad, we have to dress her up, then go house to house.
ME: We have to dress the bear up, this bear from school...
ME: And then we go from house to house?
SAGE: No, Dad! you're being silly!
ME: The bear goes from house to house?
SAGE: That's right.
ME: But why?
SAGE: Because teacher said so.
ME (still in DTI promo mechanics approval mode): Did all the kids get a bear? How long does this bear stay with us? What sort of clothes should we get her? After you pass this bear to another kid, will we have another bear? How long does this entire thing go on?
SAGE (looks at ME): I think she wants a dress.
Apparently, we are supposed to host the unfamiliar bear, clothe her and take her around with us for the weekend. And we need to record the fact that she became part of the Alfar family. So we went to Galleria to the bear clothes store (it exists, much to my shock, at the ground level near the fountain overlook) and I pouted when I had to part with P95 to buy a knit sweater for this bear that wasn't even ours. Then off to Megamall where we stopped by Photo Me for a quickie pictorial.
Up to recent memory (as recent as, oh, last week), these quickie pix places operated thusly: you inform the dour lady of what size ID picture you want; you get in the booth and sit on the round screwtype seat; the lady asks you to get out while she adjusts the seat to accomodate your height; you get back in and stare at the opposite wall; she pulls the curtain to hide you from view (though your legs can be seen, of course); she tells you to smile; the light flashes, blinding you, and you're not sure if you're smiling or looking stupid; repeat; repeat; repeat; you get out and wait for the film to develop; a roll of your terrible pictures slides out of the side of the booth; lady cuts them up to your specifications; you pay up; you cringe at your shots; repeat; repeat; repeat.
So this time, we told the lady that there would be four of us who needed to fit into the small booth: two adults, a child, and a bear. She said go ahead and try so we did, managing to squeeze in without squishing our child and the dolled-up bear.
"Ok," the lady said, as she REMOVED the opposite wall, revealing the outside world. She then appeared brandishing a digital camera. "Smile!"
We smiled. I wanted to monkey around, like I would if it were an impersonal camera taking the pictures, you know, like before. But this was different.
After a couple of clicks, she decided she had her shot and proceeded to download the file. After a few moments, her printer spewed out our pictures.
For a moment I felt like my mother confronted with the task of programming the VCR. It just wasn't the same.
After dinner with her favorite Uncle Vin, we went home where Nikki proceeded to create the bear's scrapbook (yes, the bear needs a scrapbook for her memories as she is shunted from house to house like an unwanted orphan).
The next day, Sage came to me after I got home from work.
ME: Hey sweetie, how was school?
SAGE: It was okay.
ME: What happened to the bear?
SAGE: She went with Maxine to Maxine's house.
ME: That's great! Now she gets to meet Maxine's family.
SAGE: What if she doesn't want to go with Maxine?
ME: She does, she has to - house to house, remember?
SAGE: Do we still have a picture of her?
ME: Yes, we have an extra one.
SAGE: Can I have it?
SAGE: Because someone misses her.
ME: Who does?