Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Woeful Travels of Flat Stanley

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Flat Stanley.  For those of you who don't have children (or possibly just ones that aren't old enough), don't teach, and/or don't travel, Stanley is the main character of a children's book that teaches children if they are run over by a steam-roller that they will be able to travel the world by mail.  I'm not even going to get into the possible implications of this story, because actually, I kind of like it, and I've always been jealous of people who got to take someone's kid's Flat Stanley around, snapping photos.  So when my childhood friend/rival, Penny, asked me to do this for her kid, I was ecstatic.  Why hasn't anyone asked me to do this before, I thought.  I was going to be the best Flat Stanley tour guide a kid could hope for!

Well, that's what I thought, anyway.  Turns out I suck at Flat Stanley.  I've had the thing since about November, and I never remember to take the damn kid out.  Hence the wrinkles.

I have had him with me pretty much since I left for Thailand in December, but I've only taken a few pictures of him.  He has gotten progressively more and more wrinkled.  But don't you dare feel sorry for him.  Just because he has been stuck in a.) the back of my travel journal, b.) the inside of my phone case, c.) between my Nook and it's cover, and finally d.) just shoved inside of my bag doesn't mean he hasn't been having a good time.  For example, there was that time that we made friends at the White Temple in Chiang Rai.  How lame is it that I remember his friend's name (Flat Annika) but not mine?  As you can tell, I hadn't even finished cutting Stanley out, let alone coloring him.  Annika's looking a little the worse for wear herself, but then, she'd been surfing and a lot of other fun things.

It's possible Stanley and I got off on the wrong foot.

I tried to make it up to him.  While waiting for my friend (different friend, FYI - pre-established friend) in Mandalay I found a stationery shop and bought scissors and colored pencils.  Stanley looked pretty spry in Mandalay.  He went to visit the monkey temple with me...but I left him in my book.  Which is a shame because I'm pretty sure he would have liked the monkeys.  Kids usually do.  But since monkeys have fewer manners and worse hygiene than most kids (most) they probably would have thought he was a snack and stolen him from me.  You were safer in my book, kiddo.  He did come out on my barefoot hike up Mandalay Hill to pose with Buddha, and I probably would have let him pose with the whole of Mandalay in the background, but my phone was out of juice.  Sucks to be you, Stan.

You're feeling sorry for him again, aren't you?  Don't you dare.  That little snot-nosed brat went to Angkor Wat.  Have you been to Angkor Wat?  I have, and I got called a bitch for this mere fact this very week.  It causes jealousy, people, but I worked hard to pay for my vacation.  Did Stan do anything to pay for this?  Nope.  JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE FLAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU GET A FREE RIDE THROUGH LIFE, STANLEY!  jerk.  No, I didn't share my cool refreshing beverage at the Harry Potter stall with him.  I earned my coke.  Peppermint didn't like him either - she thought he was pretentious, but then, when you're a cat, everyone seems pretentious.

It is about time for the freeloader to fly back to Excelsior Springs.  However, Mongolia's gotta represent, so I took a few more pictures last week, and maybe found some snacks to send with him, in case he gets hungry.  Here are the lessons that I've learned from my time with Stanley:

1. Children are a big responsibility.

Yup, that's about it.  If you are still thinking I would be a great person to send Stanley to, you're wrong.  If I could hardly remember to take photos of him while I was excited about it, I'm sure you can imagine what I'd be like now - they say that you're much less careful with your second kid, because you've already got a spare, and this would definitely be true.  He probably wouldn't even get colored.  I can think of a shortlist of niblings who might be able to talk me into it, if Flat Stanley is still a thing by the time they're old enough, but hey, those kids could get me to do just about anything.

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