This week I began nannying for a wealthy inner city family. My early thoughts were- huzzah! A generous hourly rate, a Monday to Friday gig with minimal stress- farewell endless coffee making!
How little I've learned in my minimal years. Surely a wiser woman would have found something a little untoward about the taxidermy in every room. She would have felt a little odd when first encountering the enormous lion that snarls, stuffed at the front door. Perhaps that uneasy feeling would have mounted when she met a panda turned into a rug in the upstairs hallway, or a rhino's head mounted to the wall in the den. She would have felt a little ill when her new boss pointed out the Ming vases, the vintage car garage...
And casually mentioned he'd fired the cleaning lady in a mansion that holds seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, two game rooms, three living spaces, two ornamental hallways, one gigantic kitchen, one formal dining room, one casual dining room, and a pink and lime green glitter playroom.
Oh, dear reader, I am not wise, and suffer selective observation. I saw the vintage Rolls Royce that would be my nanny car, and two sweet, albeit very overweight girls with stripper names eating chocolate out of china bowls. I took the job, grinning.
Perhaps for our hypothetical wise woman the following event would have been the expensive straw on the taxidermied camel's back.
Last Saturday, Dad bundled the girls and I into the nanny car to do the drive to their very exclusive private girls school that costs a little more per term, per girl than I made in the last financial year. I was a little nervous, made even more so by K's (the most neurotic eight year old I've ever encountered) monologue that she was 'worried Claire is a bad driver, and she'll make the car go too fast, and then it'll crash, and a truck will come through my door and cut my head off'. I alleviated her fears by stopping at a traffic lights, getting confused by the old school controls, and instead of indicating left threw the car into reverse. Good.
On the way back from our drive, during most of which the girls whined they were hungry, causing me to repress me urge to tell them they'd benefit from feeding off their excess body fat for a few weeks; there was a mortifying event that should have sent me fleeing back to the benign drudgery of being a waitress.
After grilling me about music, a conversation that featured heavily in her love for Lady Gaga, K said: 'Claire, you should go on a date with my Dad!'
I laughed and explained that I was the nanny, and that was all.
'But my Dad thinks you're really hot, and that's why he gave you the job.' said K.
Stunned, horrible silence. Dad goes a horrible shade of purple. I nearly crash the car. 'Don't tell terrible lies! It's very very bad to tell lies!' yelled Dad.
K starts crying. 'But I DIDN'T lie! I HEARD YOU tell your friend!'
Oh, Jesus. If you can picture a man decked in designer gear, dripping in gold, trying to compact his portly frame into the space between the seat and the door, don't, because it was awful. The front seat was radiating with shame. The girls started singing 'Telephone' in the back. I managed to make it back to the mansion without driving the car under a semi trailer.
And for some fucked reason I agreed to start on Monday.