Why David Sedaris isn’t in love with me

“You were a mess.”

Those were my husband’s encouraging words to me after waiting in line for two hours after a Sedaris reading at Boston Symphony Hall on Wednesday. When I responded that I hated him and wanted him to jump off a bridge he responded, “No. It was really cute seeing you completely lose your cool and be so ridiculous.” Jesus, thanks.

Here’s the thing, I don’t stalk celebrities. I don’t generally talk to them or bother them or try to tell them all about what good friends we would be. Mostly it’s because I realize that I don’t want to be friends with them. I want to be friends with whomever they play on TV. (There were two celebrity instances that broke this mold, both not optimal. One involved Tom Brady and the other The Boss. But those are for another time.)

I’ve been going to Sedaris readings for almost 10 years here in Boston. I have even been to some alone, which, if you know me, you know is a Huge Deal. I don’t typically do anything like that alone. I can’t even eat alone unless I have a stack of papers and a Very Important, Very Busy look on my face. But I have, indeed, bought a ticket for one and sat my ass in a seat at Symphony Hall on more than one occasion to hear Mr. Sedaris tell me all his stories. Tell ME.

I really, really believe that he would benefit greatly from the remarkable friendship we would have if he would just give me a chance. No, seriously. I actually believe this.

But every year when it comes time for audience questions or book signings, I slink down in my seat and get all nervous and sweaty palmed. Again, if you know anything about me, you know I don’t ever get nervous or sweaty palmed. I could stand up in front of 20,000 people and talk about any random topic without so much as a butterfly, but ask David Sedaris to be my friend? OMG NO.

This year was different. This year I decided that I was going to wait in line with my book and I was going to have him sign it. I was going to use that time to seduce him with my wit and charm and by the end of it he would be begging me for my home address. I even went one step further on the crazy ladder and wrote him a note. Unfortunately the only paper I had in my purse was a print out of the contagious disease page from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, but I did not let that deter me. I told him we needed to be pen pals and then outlined in great detail why this was going to be so wonderful. I explained that I had tried to just BE his pen pal by locating his address on the internet, but that I didn’t want to exhaust too many resources because I knew it would look creepy. (I also left out the part about how, if I was taking notes during the last ten years, I could probably use random context clues to triangulate his location in England.) I told him about how normal I am and how I would even send the occasional care package. The note was wrapped about a business card so that he could Google me and see just how normal and pen pal worthy I am.

The line after the show was long. Two hours long, in fact. And that was after I bought some other random author’s book so that I could cut to the shorter line. (I had to have him sign it, which was awkward because I hadn’t the foggiest idea what the book was about or who he was. And he was Indian and you know how my humor doesn’t translate with the ESL crowd.) For the most part, the hubs and I spent the two hours chatting about random stuff to keep my mind off the fact that I was just hours away from the biggest moment in my life. I was going to have 5 minutes to charm the pants off of my idol. The only writer I’ve ever actually admired. The only writer I KNOW needs to be my friend. Occasionally the hubs would ask what I was going to say and I would just look at him with that “stop talking or I’ll puke on your shoes” look and he would laugh and tell me he really did support me. He thought it was great that I was going for it. (I now realize he was mocking me.)

Adding to my stresses was my outfit. About six weeks ago I bought this dress thinking it would be something a little different. By something a little different, I apparently meant “dress like a fat hooker.” I don’t know what my deal is. I know that I am chunky and I know I need to lose the weight, but I go into these strange empowerment phases where I suddenly get all “power to my body” and buy things that, upon reflection, I have no business wearing. Between that dress, the no makeup, and the 68 and raining hair, I looked every bit the crazy stalker I was going to convince him I wasn’t. Oh, and I was breaking in some new over the knee boots, so I looked like a swashbuckling hooker. Because I had a limp. Like a peg leg. From the boots.

Unbeknownst to the hubs, I had decided that the best way to get David to warm up to me was by telling him that my husband had a fatty tumor. My best friend David had told us all about his fatty tumor during the show and I knew that this knowledge would make him feel some kinship for me. He would definitely say, “that’s all I need to know. Let’s go get ice cream and then head to your place to watch Hart of Dixie on Netflix.”

After two hours of waiting, and a very awkward signing of The Other Book by The Other Author, it was time. There he was. Sitting at the little table with his pen and personality just waiting. I took a deep breath and turned to the husband. And he was gone. He had gone about thirty feet away to stand in the corner. He was pretending not to know me. I blame this entire unraveling on him.

Have you ever heard the term “word vomit”? It’s exactly what it sounds like. After that night, word vomit has a new meaning for me. I actually visualize type writer style words flowing from my mouth, covered in some kind of viscose nasty, hitting the table and splashing my best friend in the face. I should have aborted my pen pal mission, but I couldn’t. I started with the book and who to sign it for. I tried to pull up a picture of my son so he could see who he was signing it for. Total disaster. It pretty much looked like I was making up the kid. I immediately switched to the Fatty Tumor Plan, but with the husband hiding in the corner I was going to have to yell at him to come as proof. And if you know my husband, you will not be surprised to learn that he all but looked up and said, “what fatty tumor?” My best friend David was UNBUTTONING HIS VEST to show us his tumor while my husband just stood there. Panicked, I vomited some more.

“Well, at least it’s a fatty tumor and not skin tags. His grandmother had hundreds of them. Like fringe.”

WHATTHEFUCKCAROLINE?!

“Skin tags?” David asked.

“You know. Those horrid floppy skin pieces that grow on people. Totally gross.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out his notebook and jotted down the words “skin tags.” (Now, for as poorly as this whole thing turned out, at least I can say I inspired him to write in his notebook.)

If you weren’t already visualizing my profuse word vomiting accurately, be sure you take into account the sweeping hand gestures I am employing, and the acting out of the husband’s grandmother (God rest her soul) covered in skin tags.

I realize that my  time is waning. The book is long signed and I still haven’t connected. He clearly does not find me charming and my options for wooing him are pretty much nil. I pull out my note, which now feels entirely creepy and not even a little bit charming. I start explaining veryquickly how I’ve written him this note, which isn’t creepy at all, about why he should be my pen pal. I’ve never seen such an obvious “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me” face in all my life. Ever. He opened his mouth to speak and I silenced him.

“Just take the note. Maybe you’ll feel bad about what a hot mess I am and change your mind.”

He took the note graciously, holding it like one might hold a baggie full of human shit.

“Okay. Thanks.”

I knew I’d failed. I didn’t even want to take my signed book off the table because it represented the door of friendship being slammed in my face. In that moment I think I managed to accidentally look like the saddest, most defeated person to ever walk the earth. I looked at the line of people behind me, many of whom I’d been mocking just minutes before, and realized that they were all going to be BFFs with David Sedaris and I wasn’t. I was going to end up on some kind of list. I’d inexplicably be unable to get tickets to next years show.

Walking home, I tried to get excited about the fun note he wrote for Author and how exciting it was to meet him, but it was an act. I’d flubbed epically.

“On the bright side, you may have inspired him to write something.” said the husband.

“About skin tags?” I asked, remembering that I’d inspired him to jot down the note.

He didn’t reply. He looked at me with pity for the first time in our relationship. He didn’t have to say it. I knew. The words were hanging there like yellowed sheets on a clothesline.

“No. Not about skin tags…”

But what’s it really like to have a baby?

She asked me because she was on the fence about whether she should have them. I remember that time in my life. I think I’m still at that time in my life. Should I have kids? But she was asking me seriously. I was her closest friend with real baby insight. What was the deal? Do the heart melting moments outweigh the bad stuff? 

Well. Yesno. 

As usual, I am a focus group of one. There seem to be a lot of people out there who think having babies is The Most Fun Ever. They are all like, “Oh my god! And then I get to quit my job and FINALLY buy that house in the ‘burbs and make crafts All. Day. Long. and sing songs and OMG I cannot wait!” And I think those people are actually incredible. Those people have a different genetic make up than I do. I think my kid is awesome. All two hours a day I spend with him. And then I like to put him to bed and think about how I can’t go anywhere because it’s basically illegal to leave the house. JUST IN CASE. (There’s a lot of just in case in parenting. I want to tell people to go ahead and stop talking, just in case I get violent.)

But when posed the question, “it is totally worth it?” I really can’t answer simply. On the one hand, I have a tiny person– I own a 28 inch human being. He has tiny human pants and little New Balance sneakers and he thinks I am awesome. Like, really awesome. He sees me and he’s all oh thank god it is you I have been waiting on you since forever and i have no concept of time so that’s basically my whole life. And he smiles and makes ‘ahhoooohhh” noises that are pretty funny because he thinks I’m totally following what he’s telling me. Mimic him and his mind is blown. We speak the same language!

No, tiny retard, I have no idea what you’re getting at. 

But then other times he is a tiny life terrorist. He’s the biggest, most selfish dick bag in the history of the world. He wants what he wants when he wants it and that’s exactly thirty seconds before it’s humanly possible for you to have it. All the toys in the world aren’t shit compared to an outlet or a live wire. He stole everything I knew: my life, my professional life, my social life, my sex life. I put meat into a blender and then taste it. Pureed meat. Shit is fucked up. He’s turned my cat into a manic depressive who no longer stares out the window, but rather tries to throw his body against the screen in an attempt to break through to his death.

And really those things are not made okay by him being cute. When he loses his mind–straight from a deep sleep– right as Castle is starting, only to smile and laugh when I go into his room, I frankly think him a deviant little fuck. A tiny human who was sent to this earth to make me think long and hard about who I am and what I believe.

But that’s not an answer. “Is it worth it?”

So I answer like this:

Having a baby is like losing your leg and winning the lottery. Winning the lottery does not make it okay that you’re without your leg, but it does give you enough of a distraction that you don’t completely lose your shit. Your leg is missing, but you’re on a yacht. Would you rather be in a trailer with a leg? Who knows. Depends on whether you felt like going for a jog.

My leg is gone. Blown to smithereens. I have to relearn how to walk and dance and run and everything else I used to know how to do, but I won the lottery, so that’s going to help.

Of course I miss not having a baby. When people say things like, “I don’t even remember what it was like!” I cannot relate. I remember exactly what it was like. IT WAS AMAZING. I drank in bars on weeknights. I made last minute plans. I could get on an airplane without two Xanax and a booster brew and a sincere prayer that the small boy doesn’t lose his mind. When I made a decision, it was with very little than my own comfort and convenience in mind. Those things come dead last now.

No one can tell you whether you should have kids. And that whole, “waiting until we’re ready” thing. Right. You ain’t ever going to be ready. When the tiny human commeth, all bets are off, and the question of whether or not it’s worth it isn’t the question at all. The question is how you make it worth it for them.

 

 

 

NOT what you were expecting.

Everyone I know is with child. Everyone. I am not saying this to be one of those people who has to be the person with the most. There is a chance that you know more pregnant people than I do, but relative to the number of friends I have (very few), it’s a staggering number of pregnancies. I, for one, am totally into the multitude of friend pregnancies. Any opportunity for me to learn way too much about a subject and become a total know it all is instantly my favorite thing. Friends being knocked up = me learning everything you could ever want to know about pregnancy.

As a part of my dutiful pregnant friend training, I’ve picked up some books to read about the miracle of life. As a part of my dutiful blogging, I’m here to share a few key lessons and eye-opening facts that I’ve learned over the last few weeks. (You need to be sitting for this. That applies to guys and gals. You also need to make sure you’re only drinking clear liquids. You don’t want to be drinking milk when you hear what I’ve learned about cervical mucous.)

Likely the most interesting thing about reading up on the art and science of bringing a human into this world is how many things you realize you haven’t known to blame your parents for. Example: the fucked up swirly pattern that is the back of my hair? 100% my mother’s fault. Maybe if that useless milk factory had paid attention to the back of my head, and done the suggested head and follicle massages to avoid “irregular” hair growth patterns, I’d have a perfect ponytail like all the rest of the Heathers. She didn’t, I have the eye of a tornado on the crown of my head.

Thanks, mother.

If you are avoiding having babies because you are bashful about talking about menses, saying the word vagina, or chatting about your sex life, don’t worry. You won’t have to. There is an ENTIRE PREGNANCY LANGUAGE to keep you from ever knowing what the fuck anyone is talking about. This is not funny stuff. I will speak in this language for you.

“Hi! I’m 3DPO and waiting for AF to be a no show. My CM is EW so I’m really hoping we’ve done it! Send BD our way!”

WHAT?

No. Seriously. WHAT?

There’s no talk of periods, only of a woman named Auntie Flow. We can take our temperature vaginally, but can’t say period. Because that would be dirty. Auntie Flow (the period) becomes vilified in these pre-baby days. She’s an evil wench who does nothing but remind you that either you or your husband has failed to accomplish the most basic task. Don’t ever go on a message board if you’re fond of your period. Period fondness is not welcome.

Conception has the power to reverse hundreds of years of women learning to love their vaginas, even find them “beautiful” in their own special, fleshy, purply way. Conception is the anti-vagina. According to conception, your vagina might be a hostile environment, uninhabitable for sperm. (Try to imagine a hostile vagina without a Rambo-style bandana in there somewhere.) It’s hard to heard that you might have a hostile vagina. You don’t want to take it personally, but you do. And then you get hostile. Because no one calls your vagina hostile and gets away with it. No one.

If any part of you is impatient, prone to anxiety, or over analytical, I would suggest surrogacy. Or maybe adoption. One book, What to Expect BEFORE You’re Expecting, gave me such acute anxiety by the 4th or 5th page that I couldn’t sleep. The lists of don’ts was too much for me. No caffeine. Tea is okay, but only certain teas, but there was this study once that suggested that tea could cause flux in blood pressure in .00000013% of women and of those .0032% had a baby who was frowning when it emerged from the birth canal. So, if you can live without tea, it might be best. No one wants a frowny baby. OTC medications should be fine, unless you’re talking about allergy medication, which technically is fine, but it also can dry up your cervical mucous and then what happens? Your vagina gets hostile, of course. So you need to weigh your allergies against the potential of a hostile vag. Tough choice, but it’s yours to make. As for bathing. Fine. If you have to. You really should try to keep your parts from getting too warm, though. So if you’re stressed, you can do anything except relax in a warm bath, drink a glass of wine, or anything else that might actually work.

As for actually being pregnant. Oh wow. There are a lot of “you better be fucking kidding me” memos here. For starters, no raw fish. You know, because no one in Japan has ever given birth to a heathy or smart baby. Ever. Twinkies are fine, lunch meat is out of the question. Your gas will clear an amphitheater. And you’re now the proud owner of something called a mucous plug. (Assuming you don’t destroy your mucous with contraband like Claritin, it actually plays a HUGE role in conception and pregnancy. So I’ve learned.) Your relationship with your spouse, already strained from the sperm on command antics of the prior months, is at risk. The female is hot and horny thanks to the surplus of hormones racing through her veins. She is also orca fat, something that makes Mr. Midnight shy.

Many men also fear spearing the unborn child. It’s cute that they are so concerned. Kind of. The chances of a man folk spearing an unborn child is about as good as a penis getting stuck inside the vagina. While all ladies would like to flatter themselves by thinking their nethers are bear trap tight, we simply know that’s not the case. Unless your man friend has a 10 inch weapon for a private, the baby will be fine.

It’s not all bad, though. First of all, you’re bringing a baby into this world! (Hear the roaring applause?!) Second of all, your breasts get enormous. Sure, they’re filled with milk and leak every time you hear ANY baby cry, but they’re still huge. Some women even get the coveted glow; a transcendent iridescence that cascades them during the gestational phase. (Other women get disfiguring acne, but they still get the jugs and the new human, so it’s kind of a fair trade.)

Despite the paralyzing fear and anxiety that I can look forward to coping with someday, I’m more than certain that if there was ever to be a time for the blog to really get good, pregnancy would be that time.

My next read will be What to Expect When Your Expecting. Based solely on my experience with its sister book, I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

Any other good reads?

anything for a price

images

Those of you waiting to hear the story of Caroline and hubs having dinner in Lawndale, Chicago, stay tuned. The story is simply so unbelievable that I need more time to think about it. In the mean time, let’s have a chat about the year 2009 and the progress we’ve made in the areas of customer service.

Long ago, when I was a small child, I remember flying Southwest Airlines to visit my grandparents in Houston. I was in first grade and flying alone. My parents drove me to the airport where I checked two suitcases: one full of clothes, shoes, hair accessories, pajamas, bathing suits, etc. and one filled only with things I would need to have with me to survive the weekend: dolls, animals, writing utensils. (Case in point– and god rest his soul– after taking me to dinner at the Houstonian, my grandparents took me to see Jack London’s White Fang, a movie about carrying a dead body across the frozen tundra. I was six.) The point, however is that I had two suitcases. I checked both. And then my dad walked me all the way to the gate.

Southwest was thrilled to have me. They gave me an honorary pilot’s pin, a cap to wear, a full sized coloring book, and even seated me in the front seat with extra legroom. (Something every three foot person needs.) I had my own stewardess who cared about my well being, brought me unlimited cups of juice. They even played a game on the plane: stewardesses would ask questions over the loud speaker and people would ring in with the answer, winning free drinks and flight vouchers, not to mention creating a community of passengers who would have sat on the runway for hours just to play trivia and eat honey roasted peanuts.

By the time I arrived in Houston I felt like I’d been on a fun ship. I had pilfered 25 packets of peanuts to eat in the privacy of the stately guest bedroom, and even convinced those friendly stewardesses to give me some extra crayons in case my grandparents didn’t have any at the house. (Which they didn’t. They were missing crayons and general merriment. It had been replaced with the Wall Street Journal and a complete lack of understanding about children.)

It was a glorious trip, all for the bargain price of $139 (or whatever absurdly low price Southwest charged me for that round trip ticket to Houston). Magic. I loved Southwest so much that I flew Southwest nearly exclusively for the next 15 years of my life. In fact, my father, who has very few odd convictions, was convinced that there was never a reason to fly any other airline if there was a Southwest terminal within three hours of where you lived. While attending college at The University of Georgia in Athens, GA, my father insisted that I drive three hours one way to Birmingham, Alabama to fly home at Christmas. One year I even asked for a Delta flight out of Atlanta as my Christmas present. Just so I could come home directly, sans the six hour drive. (No dice.) Eventually when I moved to Boston, I was sorry to find out that Southwest flies to Providence, thus beginning three years of taking a car, a train, and a cab to the Providence airport so that I could then fly to Austin, via stops in Houston, Dallas, and maybe Albuquerque. (Southwest will give you a scenic tour of the Southwest for your low fare, as well.)

The point, however, is that the Southwest brand, with no complications and fine print, created the kind of brand loyalty that encouraged my entire family to go out of our way to fly with them. It’s an incredible kind of marketing, the kind that cannot be achieved in any other way. Customer service can move mountains.

Unfortunately, my life now is not as simple as it was back then. I fly places that Southwest doesn’t fly, and then I discovered that flying with a mini television in front of your face is worth at least $200 extra, thus beginning my slow divorce from Southwest. But I havent forgotten them. Recently, however, I had a jovial exchange with a JetBlue sales lady (Nancy) that left me wondering why I ever left the warm embrace of Herb and the Southwest gang.

Let’s imagine for a moment my trip to see my grand parents, only this time let’s set it in 2009. The year of the rat bastard airline whores.

When I was a wee thing, I went to visit my grandparents in Houston. I was going for the weekend, and my parents we’re letting me fly all by myself. Me and American Airlines. I couldn’t have been more excited. I showed up at the airport two hours early, with two suitcases packed: one for my bountiful wardrobe, the other full of necessities to keep me from gouging my eyes out while spending three days reading the Wall Street Journal and pretending that Fiber One tastes like Captain Crunch.

When I arrived at the check in, the evil service rep immediately eyed my two princess suitcases.

$50.

(He informs us that luggage is not a necessity when traveling. There are stores: malls, Goodwills, even outlets where I’m going. If I need clothes when I get there, I can always buy them. Airline policy. If people insist on frivolity like luggage, they are going to have to pay for it.)

Dad and I walk to the gate, where he is immediately beaten with a baton for crossing the yellow line without a ticket. As I scream for a medic over his unconscious body, a TSA working grabs me by the arm, insisting that I show him my driver’s license. I pull out my ID card and boarding pass, straining to see my dad over his massive frame.

He needs a valid driver’s license. Now.

I try to explain in Judy Blume language that I am only 7 and I can’t drive. He walkie talkies and suddenly a woman of comparable size and an extra large Dunkin Donuts ice coffee emerges. They exchange important conversation. I am immediately taken to a glass cube where I am left to rot, until a wiry black man comes to pat me down. He asks if I am carrying a concealed weapon. I reply that I am not. He asks if I am carrying coke. I tell him that I can only have Coke when we go for Mexican.

The next twenty minutes are a blur. I vaguely remember being beaten with a pistol and fingerprinted.

When I wake, I am slumped against the peanut cart, and my boarding group is being called. I wander to the front where a snatchy woman named Joy takes my ticket.

When I get onto the plane I settle into the seat in the front row. Immediately a thin man dances through the crowed, hands me a one page brochure. Some thing about a special room for legs. And some numbers. I give him my best “friendly stranger” smile and try to climb up on the seat. He is not amused. He wants $35 cash or check. I’m sitting in a seat with two inches of extra legroom.

I tell him that my dad gave me $40 dollars as special money for my trip. He takes the money from my Polly Pocket purse and throws me a five.

I get scared during takeoff and ask the stewardess if I can have some crayons. No.

I can buy a KidPak for $4.

She doesn’t tell me that I should save my money because if I get thirsty, a juice cup is going to cost me $3 and I’m not going to have enough money. So I’ll end up drinking sink water out of the lavatory to help wash down the fear and anxiety that is coming over me.

When I arrive in Houston I wander through the airport alone, waiting for someone to recognize me. Eventually the businesses start to close and I am alone. Just before I curl up to go to sleep in the internet cubicle I hear my name over the loudspeaker.

It’s them. My grandparents. They’re trying to find me. We’re going to be late for our movie.

Which is fine. Because once we get there the anxiety of my previous four hours bubbles over, exacerbated by the horrifying film and I have a manic breakdown in the middle of the theatre. I lay lifeless in my movie seat, thinking only of how I am going to get home.

A bus, my seven year old self decides.

I will take a bus.

*

My low fare of $139 soars to $926 all because I need clothes when I arrive to see the gparents, or because I sometimes find myself thirsty after three hours in a compressed chamber. Crazy. Plus I have the added bonus of being scarred for life. Super.

How many times have I been frisked and molested in a glass room while my father, the lumbering terrorist, walked through security on his blackberry?

When I called Nancy, my customer service rep at JetBlue, to change my flight to the SAME FLIGHT two days earlier, she cheerfully told me that my flight was actually less expensive, so I would be receiving a ten dollar credit… and that she would deduct it from the $100 flight change fee.

What the fuck.

Flight change fee? I have moved a reservation on one airplane– which is not sold out– to a reservation on another airplane–which is not sold out–and am sitting in the SAME SEAT. Nancy explains that the fee is to cover the convenience cost of the service.

Convenience cost?

One computer just told another computer something that didn’t so much as cost an energy credit to calculate. My Mac is more stressed out by this blog post than the JetBlue system was by my flight change. Does my $90 go towards a relaxing vacay for that poor computer? Who I so rudely inconvenience for my flight change? I certainly hope so.

Poor machine. Having to do all that work.

Alas the cost of flying is now similar to the cost of having your tits redone. You buy the basic package, but you forget you have to buy all the other stuff too. New bras, better fitting tops, mace.

There is no such thing as a $139 low fare anymore.

Farewell.

Farewell.

no, no. don’t touch mommy’s vadge.

If I sat here for twenty or thirty seconds, I imagine that I could come up with one to two million reasons why people shouldn’t have children. I understand however, that for a lot of people, there isn’t a hell of a lot else going on and so, without foresight to the Popsicle-sucking, hair pulling, little monsters that they have an 76% chance of becoming, they decide to procreate. Unfair? Possibly. But I have never, ever been with a child that I was sorry to have to give back after ten or fifteen minutes. (I take that back. There was a baby that I really enjoyed last summer. But then I found out he was developmentally challenged… not a dream baby.)

However, I fully expect to have loin fruits of my own, so it’s fruitless for me to think too much about it. Then I just get scared and imagine stapling my fallopian tubes with a red Streamline. Without telling the hubs, obviously.

Anyway, what brings me to this point is that there are two ways to find your stance on parenthood: babysitting and cat owning. Exposing yourself to the mortifying reality of other people’s children is enough to make any kind hearted soul decide that babies are for crack whores and foster parents. And owning a cat shows you that you are powerless. No matter what.

When I was sixteen, I lived in a very affluent neighborhood. It was a cash cow for short-term, high profit babysitting gigs. In certain parts of the continental US (uh hem… Texas) it’s popular to hire a babysitter to watch your children even when you’re home. I’m not talking about a nanny, but a young teenage girl who has just enough energy that she can put up with your childrens’ post- school, pre-bedtime bullshit so you can have some Franzia on the porch with the girls.

When I did this for the first time I thought it was a little bit awkward. It defies the law of babysitting that says you make a deal with the kids that they can do whatever the fuck they want while their parents are gone, but that have to be in bed by the time we see the lights in the driveway. And you’ll pay them $1. (To children, there is something awe inspiring about a $1. As though no one ever told them that next to the penny, it’s the most useless piece of currency in the world. It is, quite literally, just change.) Needless to say, after a while I learned that alcoholism and on-site babysitting are a recipe for tons of cash. Keep the kids away from Mommy and she will reward you handsomely.

And then there are the traditional babysitting gigs. Arrive at 6. Wear jeans, Merrill’s, and a pastel Polo button down, and say super cheery shit like “I can’t wait!” “Oh! Can we read before they go to bed?”

On one such occasion, a neighbor was walking down the street when she noticed me getting out of my car. In the Sahara, it would have been considered a predatory move. Said neighbor clearly sized me up, determined my age, pedigree, and credentials, and immediately asked me if I babysat. I returned the favor by assuming that her haggardly, Jewish facade was code for desperate and hoarding money. So I said yes.

As it turns out, said neighbor had not had a babysitter since the birth of her child SEVEN YEARS BEFORE. For seven years, she and her husband carted the child around like a duffle bag. I later learned that the child had never really left his mother’s side. At school he was having all sorts of problems with attachment disorder. Super. Can I please babysit?!?

We agreed to have a trial run. I’d let them go see a PG-13 movie for the first time in 10 years and if the house hadnt burned down, they could then go to dinner. Baby(sitter) steps.

After they had written a light dissertation on food preferences, allergies, likes, dislikes, emergency numbers, time tables, maps, and presented it to me, they started a melodramatic farewell sequence which culminated in said child’s face being smashed between the mohair-clad breasts of his mother while she murmured about his angelic face… as though it was a sight she wouldnt be seeing again in a few hours.

No sooner had they walked out the door when the child begin a meticulous debrief of the operational minutia of his house. There was the candy drawer. I could have one piece, but no more, because he wanted to have enough to last through the next week and if I ate more than that he wouldnt be able to. Then there was the playroom, littered with the kind of toys that future a-sexuals play with. I wasnt to play with ANY of them, especially the talking Darth Vader doll, unless we were playing a game and he instructed me to do so. All righty, kiddo. Got it.

After the tour was over, child took me down stairs to watch TV. I settled on the couch and waited for child to take a seat in the beanbag on the floor. Instead child decided to sit on the couch. And then he scooted over, nestled his face between my (16-year-old-non-existent) breasts. And then he cupped them firmly in each hand.

what. the. fuck.

No child, I told him. We don’t touch girls that that. Rather than being embarrassed about it, he became deviant, almost frantic. He was laughing manically and tearing at my shirt. “BOOBIES!” he yelled out.

The rest of the evening I played hide and go-away-you’ll-never-find-me-im-hiding-in-the-pantry and tried to avoid facing child head on. I decided we weren’t going to bathe that night, because the thought of what having him naked could mean for me was too much to think about. I kept thinking that some skillful editing of a handful of footage from a Nanny cam and I’d be bending over for Bertha for 20 to life.

When child’s parents returned home they were completely unfazed by my accusations. Apparently it was totally normal and healthy for a child of his age to take interest in the female form. Why on earth would they discourage that? I could only imagine that they were lucky that child was a boy, because little girls can’t exactly hide behind the healthy interest line when they’re walking around cupping their mansitters balls and yelling PENIS!!

iCaroline learned that unless you can guarantee your child isnt a Grade A molester, you should put off procreating.

Moving on.

Fast forward ten years and I have no children, but I am a married cat owner. After the loss of Milo (who was, as you know, a shinning example of why everyone should own a cat), we procured Stuart. (AKA Fuckface.) Stuart is, among other things, a total disappointment, and it’s sometimes hard to think of reasons why we shouldnt kill him. Just this week our fire alarm went off (for the building). As tenants were frantically running around, trying to find out if we were all going to burn alive, Corey and I calmly made our way downstairs. When we got to the atrium, our neighbors were huddled together, looking for answers. Two of our neighbors had their cats in carriers, one was even clutching her cat to her chest, soothing it. “Where is Stuart?? We need to go back!!” All the neighbors stared at us…

Stuart was staying in the apartment. He’s resourceful. He’ll be fine.

If you saw Stuart you’d never be able to understand where these intense emotions come from. He is cute as pie, soft like a dead bunny, and when he wants to he will be your BFF. Other times he makes it his mission to destroy your idyllic home environment and completely strip you of your humility.

The other day I was trying to get in the house, get my stuff down, coat off, door open, mail on the table– all before I tinkled on myself. I was doing a little hallway dance as I tried to get my gloves off. Fortunately I made it. I slid into the bathroom, pushed the door and sat down. No sooner was a singing the praises of relief when Stuart pushes the door open. Eh. Who cares right? Let him come in. He is probably just wanting to play on the bathtub, which is his favorite pasttime.

No, what Stuart wanted to do was pop his head up between my legs, fascinated by the action taking place, and paw at my most private parts. Are you fucking kidding me? Sitting there I find myself saying outloud “No, No, Stuart!! Don’t touch mommy’s vadge.” And I was taken back to my 16-year-old self, pulling the drooling face of a seven year old child out from between my less-than-heaving breasts.

The Beaulieus are not looking to have children any time soon.