Tuesday, October 19, 2010

adventures in nannying

I saw this as my friend's Facebook status today:

"An adventure is only an inconvenience, rightly considered. And an inconvenience is only an adventure, wrongly considered." -G.K. Chesterton

I would say that yesterday was an inconvenience that I rightly considered, but then I realized it was more than an adventure. It was a harrowing escapade.

The day started as any other. William got up from his nap, giggled when I used cold wet-wipes on his bum, and cheerily waved his hands in the air as I put him in his high-chair to eat some sliced strawberries. Then the doorbell rang. The doorbell has never rung, and as I walked toward the door, the first thing I saw through the window was a badge. For some reason I automatically racked my brain for anything that I could be in trouble for. The only thing I could think of was that I was parked on the grass. Am I getting a citation for parking on the grass? But it's our grass!

It was the sheriff, and I propped the door open with my foot as he asked if I'd heard any strange noises last night. Reason number one for watching too many detective shows: My thoughts weren't gasping at what crime might've taken place last night, but instead were occupied with why this "sheriff" didn't seem to have better people skills, and whether he was really the criminal in disguise trying to decifer if there'd been any witnesses to his crime.

I told him I was just babysitting, and he'd have to come back later to ask the real residents.
"What is their last name?" He whipped open his pad of paper and tucked his badge away.
I told him, hoping I wasn't spelling out their death.
Then Rajah, their bengal cat (which is half domesticated cat and half leopard, in case you didn't know), bolted out the door between my legs.
"Rajah!" I called in distress, as if he would stop running at the sound of his name and return sulkingly, muttering under his breath, "Nobody ever lets me do want I want to do...."

So, in turn, I bolted out after him. I whisked past the sheriff on the front steps, running through the neighbor's grass in my socks, in 50-degree weather.

"Don't chase him, he'll come back!" The sheriff called after me. My thoughts weren't rationalizing, "Maybe he's' right," but instead, "I hope he doesn't steal William, and I hope William isn't choking on strawberries."

I didn't know what to do! Rajah just kept running farther and farther away, and the pine needles in the grass poked my thinly-covered feet. So I came back to the house, and apologized to the sheriff for running away. He apologized for making me let the cat out, and we ended on good terms. As he turned to leave, I asked after him, "Is there anything we should be concerned about?"

"No, no," he said, because policemen usually have a habit of wanting you to feel safe, even when you aren't. "It was a car parked outside...the street...it had nothing to do with the house." I nodded, as if I understood what he was trying to say. Again with the people skills. What was a car parked outside? Which street? This house? In other words, he could've smiled politely, tipped an invisible cowboy hat, and said, "You needn't worry your pretty little head, ma'am. I'm not going to tell you anything."

When I got back inside, William's hand was halfway in his mouth and his bib splattered with strawberry juice. He looked at me as if to say, "Whatcha been doin'?" So I put my shoes on and ran out the back door. I found Rajah a couple yards away, his head stuck in a pile of brush. I grabbed him from behind and tucked him under my arm.

Then he growled at me, and hissed angrily, and turned around and attacked my forearm with his teeth. I think saying "ow" is probably the stupidest habit the human race has passed on through the years, because what does "ow" even signify? Nonetheless, I shouted, "OW!" and tried to keep his undomesticated teeth from piercing my flesh any more.

"Rajah is an evil cat," I told William, walking in the house. William looked unconcerned. I opened the basement door and threw Rajah down the steps. "You think about what you've done!" I told him. I surveyed the scratches on my arm, two of which were drawing blood. If I get cat-scratch fever and die, I want this blog entry read at my funeral.

After the strawberries, William and I went to the park. On the way there, I made him repeat after me. "I will not eat sand," I said. William gurgled. I considered it good enough.

But William did eat sand, and reason number 2 for having watched too many detective shows: The jeep parked on the street by the park gave me the heeby-jeebies, and I imagined some guy finding out the police had talked to me about last night and was now waiting to pounce. I walked past the jeep on the way back to the house, and a lone man sat inside with a bluetooth in his ear. I imagined he probably said something like, "She's leaving the park now. I'm in pursuit." Do criminals use cop-terms? I only ever hear these things from the detective standpoint, so I don't know. But the entire walk home I kept glancing over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't following me.

Today nothing was remiss, and my cat wounds show no signs of gangrene. And William and I even dressed alike. Does this mean we spend too much time together? Or that 23-year-olds shouldn't wear overalls?


Sarah said...

1. 23 year olds can wear what they want. They're adults.
B. I loved this and it took my stress away immediately.
* I feel like this was an essay that would be in one of those literature books from elementary school with the story in it that's just long enough for you to want the rest of that person's life. Please... write me the rest of your life.

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