I don't know if I have actually mentioned this or not, but I am a nanny. I began the job two weeks ago today, and let me tell you there's a big difference from day one. The Child and I butt heads like it's what I was being paid for. I'm used to directing actors and she's used to directing life, and the two did not mix. At all. And there were a lot of tantrums on her end. And there was a lot of spite on mine, watching her throw a fit with a smirk on my face because I knew it'd piss her off. And then we'd play dress up. And then she'd ask me to move in.
I don't plan on ever using her real name, and although I'd love to, I don't think it'd be wise of me to ever post a picture of her face. I need to protect myself, her privacy, and my employment. And I think that's only fair.
So I pick up The Child from school today, and ask her if she'd like to go to the playground. And she got very excited, because for some reason "playground" means "Subway" in her language. And then she realized where we really were. She lived with it, and took off into the giant wooden structures that remind me very much of a playground from my childhood. I didn't see her for a good hour and was able to catch up via text message with a few friends, which was nice and overdue. After an hour she came running up to me and asked me to push her on the swing and Internet, with absolutely no exaggeration I pushed that kid for forty five minutes on that swing. And she was beyond content the entire time! I didn't know a four year old could sit still that long!
After forty five minutes more kids had arrived at the playground, and she ran off to hover within three feet of them until she was eventually included in the game via osmosis.
So I go and hit on the benches where I group of moms have gathered. A dad shows up. He says hello, we all smile back, and then the moms go back to talking to one another. I text and watch traffic and watch kids. The Dad sits near me. He starts reading a Jesus Book. And then he strikes up a conversation.
Within the first ten minutes I find out that he's getting divorced for the second time and his wife has a restraining order on him. And he has four kids, ages 15, 13, 5, and 3. And he's 36. And he's found Jesus. I have nothing wrong with people who are religious, but it seemed very superficial. He likes to dance. And he wants someone who he can just talk to. And he writes poetry. And then he recited something really bad about a rose and somehow got the conversation on to Marilyn Monroe. And he asked what I did, and I told him theatre, and he asked where I worked and I was as vague as I could be. And then the "hitting on" commenced, only it was very awkwardly done with very badly thought out comments and lots of blushing on his part after he'd say something. And then he was insistent on getting my number and I was insistent on not giving it out and then he was really insistent on giving me his number, so I saved him as "Creepy Playground Guy" and as I was entering it he was feeding me some bad line about two butterflies spreading their wings or something. And then The Child came over and told me she was ready to go, and I have never wanted to hug that kid so much in my life. Dude tried to kiss my hand. I told him if he wanted to keep his he'd let go of mine. And then we left.
The part that confuses me the most is what on earth made this guy think that he'd meet a single mom on a playground midday on a Monday? I mean, I'm a nanny. But I'm not in a DC or NYC where nannies are all that popular. 99% of the time people assume I'm the mother. The women who had their kids on that playground were stay-at-home moms. If a mother is single she is not staying at home with the kid all day, she's out making a living. And really? Don't open the conversation with the act you're unemployed and have a restraining order and can't go to the college campus when we are right next to it.
The entire encounter was maybe 15 minutes long. It was so bizarre.