AKA - Challenge Zsuzsa
I’m in a small village, in the middle of the Hungarian wilderness, partaking in an Easter egg hunt. Mila is asleep. Zsuzsa is charging around the village like a Hungarian Anneka Rice. She is determined to not only defeat her opponents (small Hungarian children), but to leave them shattered, broken and forever destroyed.
“Come on honey! Speed up! We only have an hour!” she bellows.
I speed up. What choice do I have faced with such a force of nature.
“Wait here!” commands Zsuzsa, before sprinting across a road towards a kindergarten.
I can do nothing, but stand and wait. Mila is snoring. A few minutes later and I see a blur of strawberry blonde hair heading my way. It’s Zsuzsa. She’s holding an egg.
“Come on! We have to get to the castle!” she barks.
And so off we go. Zsuzsa is jogging. I’m in hot pursuit with a sleeping baby in a push chair. This is what Easter is all about! This is what Jesus would have wanted! We’re at the castle and before I know what’s happening Zsuzsa has another egg.
“Come on honey! We have to get the third egg!” screams Zsuzsa, and off we go.
We are bounding through the village with frightening speed, but suddenly Zsuzsa slows. An obstacle! It’s an old lady selling quince jelly, the oldest trick in the book, and my beloved wife has fallen for it!
“Honey! What are you doing?” I ask.
“This lady’s selling quince jelly!” says Zsuzsa. “We should buy some.”
“But the egg hunt! What about the egg hunt?!” I implore.
I’m desperately trying to snap my wife out of her quince jelly trance. She can’t see this for what it is. The old lady, she’s the Hungarian village equivalent of a siren and Zsuzsa is a young sailor!
“Honey!” I say again. “We don’t have much time!”
But it’s no use. Zsuzsa is distracted. I then catch a glimpse of the old quince jelly selling lady’s feet and suddenly I’m distracted too. She’s wearing socks with sandals! Several minutes pass, before I snap out of it.
I have Zsuzsa’s attention again. She has no memory of how it happened, but she’s now clutching some quince jelly! Through the village we go.
Suddenly I’m aware of a presence. A couple with a small child in a buggy have appeared, as if from nowhere, on our right shoulder. COMPETITORS! They’re trying to hide it, but I see their game. They’re travelling at an unnatural speed and there’s only one reason for people to move that quickly through a Hungarian village! They are fellow egg hunters! Our nemesis!
I’m now torn. On one hand my competitive genes want to speed up and very gradually overtake these jokers in a nonchalant manner, but I’m British and also don’t want to appear to give a shit! I look at the couple and assess them. I can’t deny that I’m full of admiration for their impressive turn of pace, but the woman, she’s a big girl! She can’t keep this up for ever. I decide that she will fade soon and that our superior stamina will come in to play.
Two eggs later and I’m proved right as we cruise past our sweaty, puffing competitors, but Zsuzsa seems frustrated. Part of this egg hunt is finding the eggs, but another part is deciphering cryptic, Hungarian word clues. So far, all of them seem to be very floral in their nature.
“These bloody clues!” an exasperated Zsuzsa gasps. “They’re all hardcore botanical bullshit!”
“Show me.” I say.
Zsuzsa shows me. I look at the pictures of Hungarian flowers and the various cryptic word clues. I realise that even if they were in English I would be of no use.
“Uh.” I say.
“You could really work on your Hungarian botanical vocabulary!” she says.
I make a mental note to do so.
It’s about thirty minutes later. We’ve just found the final egg! I check the watch. We have eight minutes to get back to base camp (a small Hungarian school hall). This is going to be tight!
“I’ll go ahead! says Zsuzsa. “You follow!”
And with that she sprints off in to the horizon, clutching six, small plastic eggs. What a woman!
Despite the odds being stacked against her, her impressive turn of pace meant that my beloved wife made it in the nick of time, and out of seventy five teams, miraculously, we won! As we drive back through the Hungarian countryside, Zsuzsa clutches the spoils of victory (a tiny bag of small chocolate eggs). She’s beaming.
“You know honey, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like Indiana Jones than I did today.” she says.
I smile back at my brave explorer, my adventurer, my destroyer of small Hungarian children's dreams and I can't help but feel proud.
So, Steven Spielberg, if you’re reading this and interested in snapping up the film rights for Indiana Jones 5, please feel free to give me a call.