Cultural Differences, Bribery Edition

This morning, Herr R and I were discussing the list of things that we needed to get done before the babe arrives. We checked ‘improve the lighting in the kitchen to near-absurd brilliance to support Betsy’s ability to find specks of foreign matter on freshly-washed wine glasses’ off the list, and moved on to deciding what sort of treats are most appropriate to bring with you to the labor and delivery ward.

I suggested individually wrapped homemade caramels, because they are tasty, they keep well, and they are easy to transport.
Herr R said that he’d check the local takeout places to see what was on offer.
I said that maybe caramels weren’t a great idea, since we wanted our caretakers at the hospital to be calm and patient rather than tweaked out on sugar bombs. How about individually wrapped homemade granola bars? Maybe with some coconut?
Herr R said maybe some pizza? The Hawaiian kind, with pineapple?
That’s when I realized that we had skipped several key steps in our decision-making process, namely those that involved addressing the following:

• Should the treats be something that can be safely stored for a few days in a pre-packed overnight bag?
• How much of a hassle should the treats be? Should they:
-Be prepared ahead of time, but with enough loving care to indicate that they are a thoughtful token of gratitude? OR
-Involve a stop on the way from home to hospital, sometime between the water breaking and the baby’s arrival?
• Who are the treats for? Hospital staff or Herr R or Betsy? (note: Betsy won’t be able to eat during delivery, and she probably won’t appreciate watching Herr R eat a fucking pizza while she gives birth.)

I was giving Herr R a hard time about stuffing a Hawaiian pizza into the overnight bag during the mad rush from home to hospital. After a minute, though, I realized that I had been imagining what I might like if I were a night-shift nurse, and he was, too. Pizza is pretty good all the time, but it’s espeically good when you’re busy and crabby and tired and someone surprises you with it. We still need to find a less greasy middle ground, but the conversation and resultant contemplation has cleared up at least one thing for me: no night shift worker alive is going to get all that excited about a homemade granola bar.

Do you know what the common fable is for the arrival of babies in Germany? They are brought by a stork! How in the hell is this theme universal? Oh. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: if we can all use the same laughably bogus story to avoid teaching our children about how babies are made, why can’t we agree on the shape of an electrical outlet?!

p.s. after this discussion, I can’t get this image out of my head: Santa arriving on my rooftop with, over his shoulder, an enourmous red sack of slightly drippy frozen chili. Surprise, kids! Santa brought dinner!

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