Awkward Babysitting Moments…
Time Travel Tuesday
Make no mistake, babysitting is a real job, with real job hazards. One of my worst memories from my babysitting career was the dreaded drive home. Usually the parents would return home well past the time they’d indicated. If they said they’d be home at 11:30 p.m. I would count on them being home by 1:00 am.
Please understand that back in the day, we did NOT have cable TV. We had 5 channels, if we were lucky. Weekend babysitting meant that you’d be watching, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, and Bob Newhart and the news, which was way over my simple 14 year-old head. After the news, the TV went to a testing pattern. Good times. It took all my strength to stay awake.
Not to digress, but one time I became so delirious with sleep that I actually crawled into the parent’s bed. I’m talking, into the sheets, fluffed the pillow, etc. I may have even partially undressed, I don’t remember all the details of this particular trauma, but I do know that when they arrived home they were shocked to find me sprawled out in their bed. Imagine, Mama bear and Papa bear returning home to find Goldilocks in their bed. Horror of horrors!!! I don’t think I ever babysat for them again. At least I didn’t break their ugly chair.
If I was awake when the parents returned, I would routinely be questioned as to how the night went. Did they really think I taught their kids how to speak fluent French or teach them how to paint like Rembrandt? “We ate the gross frozen pizza you left for us, played ‘Operation’ and ‘Ker-Plunk,’ even though there were pieces missing, and then I yelled at them to go to bed.” Okay, so that’s what I was thinking on the inside. Outwardly, I’d just smile, nod and tell them what they wanted to hear. (Any kid that begged to stay up late was met with my best 14 year-old stern expression and something along the lines of, “No way, Jose.” Sometimes I’d have to threaten to tell their parents. Hey, don’t judge. At age 14, you do what ya gotta do. I hadn’t developed my full arsenal of fun babysitter tricks at that point.)
The parents, often in their drunkenness, would try to combine their funds to pay me. It was a good night when they were really looped or didn’t have the correct amount. I’d just smile and try to convey, non-verbally, what a stellar babysitter I was. It usually worked, and I’d get a nice wad of cash, and by, “nice wad of cash” I mean, $10.00. But let me tell you, there isn’t enough monetary compensation for the ride home with Mr. Whiskey breath, swerving on the road and asking you inappropriate questions while forgetting where your house is. I never wore my seat belt much EXCEPT on those occasions.
Getting out of the car and walking into the safety and comfort of my own home was the best feeling. Ahhh…. (This is the good memory part of the story.) Cue: Dorothy with Aunty Em. There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home….