Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than coming home to find the babysitter has eaten all our snacks and fallen asleep on the couch watching bad TV. Never mind that my babysitter is in her late 40's and is someone's grandma. Every time she comes in and I'm running around half-dressed, trying to put the baby to sleep, I think I must be faking this whole parenting thing.
One of my first regular babysitting gigs was in high school for my younger sister's good friend. This family had a beautiful home, stocked pantries and...wait for it...a soda machine!!! The dad worked for Coke and they had a soda gun hooked up to their sink. I'm fairly certain that I drank more soda in the couple of years that I babysat for them than in the entire rest of my life. I remember their kitchen was basically all windows and I would see my reflection gorging on soda and candy. Even though I repulsed myself, I was powerless to stop. I mean, there was a freaking soda machine in their house! You don't get many opportunities like that.
I put myself through college babysitting with this service, It was the perfect job--they had to provide dinner, cab fare home and I never made less than $18-20 an hour (pretty crazy when you consider that's less than what I pay my babysitters now). One time I even got to meet Sarah Jessica Parker because I babysat for her niece and nephew. I had to bite my tongue to keep from calling her Carrie.
Almost every Friday and Saturday night, I would babysit on the Upper West Side from about 7 to 11, watch cable I couldn't afford, get a free meal, pocket the cab fare and then take the subway downtown to dance and spend my newly-earned dollar bills. Back then the parents seemed so accomplished and uh, old. They always wanted to hear about my dating life-too bad I had to make up the interesting bits. It blows my mind that some of my friends in NY now use the same service. My favorite nights were the ones when the wives would come home drunk and laughing. And that wife was me last night-smiling a little too big, talking a little too loud. I'm pretty sure the babysitter enjoyed my tipsiness as much as I did.
Apropos of nothing, here's a pic of Mr. Monk enjoying his favorite Hawaiian delicacy last week.