Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Death Doesn't Become Her Pt. 2


It is said there are only two things to which we can all count in life - death and taxes.
In my rarefied and entitled world, I have learned to count on three. Death, taxes and psychotic nannies who either threaten to kill me or themselves. I have absolutely NO Mazel with nannies.

When my husband George and I are asked to join our well-heeled friends for an intimate evening of cocktails, dinner and sparkling conversation, we covet not the sumptuous and 'daring' decor, magnificent food, or enchanting, immaculate children 'presented' to us, we stare hungrily at the beaming, underpaid nanny whose tireless efforts make such displays possible. Raised since birth on a diet of near-perfect TV nannies and mannies such as the ever-present, never-takes-a-day-off Mrs. Livingston from THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER, perky, true-blue Alice from THE BRADY BUNCH, the kindly Mr. French from FAMILY AFFAIR, and even Florence from THE JEFFERSONS whose lackadaisical attitude toward work and abusive, codependent relationship with her employer were charmingly 'colorful' (no pun intended), George and I were convinced that if we looked really hard, interviewed scores of legal (and quite a few illegal) immigrants, and ran enough criminal background checks - we too would find our wisecracking, heart-of-gold nanny, who despite being ridiculously underpaid would raise our son, clean our house, cook our meals and still find time to toss out some outrageous zingers to our studio audience. Cue to the laugh track.

What we got was Maria.

Sung to the Lyrics 'Maria' from WESTSIDE STORY

The most hateful sound I've ever heard:
Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria . . .
My outrageous needs and demands go unheard
Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria . . .
I hired a girl named Maria,
And suddenly the blame
for her Zoloft-induced shame
falls To me.
I'm fucking pissed off at Maria,
For tonight I had a plan
and the bitch up and ran
away from me!
Say it loud and your blood will boil
trapped here with my son I must toil
I'll never stop loathing Maria!

The most hateful sound I ever heard.

What could poor, manically depressed Maria have done that would engender such feelings of rage, you ask? What act of underhanded treachery and unmitigated selfishness could this woman commit that would cause me to completely lose my shit? That traitorous, self-absorbed little vixen had the nerve to blow me off so that she could visit her supposedly 'sick' mother in the hospital.

"Bullshit!" I screamed into my cell phone, "Don't you know that I have reservations at Osteria Mozza - it took me two months to get that table! If you don't appear in 20 minutes NOT ONLY WILL I FIRE YOU, I WILL FUCKING RIP YOUR HEART OUT!" Maria blubbered incoherently into the phone, choked out a few incoherent Spanish words and hung up. I angrily threw my cell phone across the room and watched it disintegrate against the tile wall of the butler's pantry.

Clad in my expensive Brioni suit, I sat down on the cork floor of my tastefully decorated kitchen and burst into uncontrollable tears. I was yet again denied an evening of adult conversation and enjoyment so that I could have the pleasure of defrosting chicken nuggets for my son. As I sorrowfully sat on the hard floor, the tears coursing down my cheeks and my head between my legs, I suddenly felt a small hand on my shoulder. I glanced up to see my son looking down at me - horrified and ashamed I knew he had seen everything.

(To Be Continued)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Death Doesn't Become Her

I have always had rather conflicted feelings regarding my son's nanny. While she has always been loving, nurturing and dependable towards my son, she is manipulative, needy, and at times an unmitigated, white-hot mess to me. This is the same woman who when we brought our infant son home from the hospital, fearlessly took him in her comforting, fleshy arms despite his infuriating predilection for ear-splitting, colick-induced screaming, and would lull him to sleep with an endless mental play list of obscure Peruvian folk songs. While George and I flitted around the house obsessing over Donghia mohair fabric swatches for the new living room sofa and the newest Farrow & Ball wall colors for the dining room, Maria would stand sentinel in our son's nursery guarding him against the harmful effects of home decor faggotry. When our infant son came down with a hideous cold and we were told by our physician that Ethan could only sleep with his head elevated, it was she who selflessly sat in a chair for days-on-end holding him upright so that he could sleep soundly. During Ethan's extensive convalescence, I marveled at her patience and fortitude as I raced out of the house on my way to Yoga and a colonic irrigation. (Feeling extremely charitable, I even said two prayers for her during both my Kundalini Meditation and colon 'voiding!')

As the years passed and our son grew, I came to realize that Maria's kindness and devotion came at with a very high price. Not only was her escalating salary, car reimbursement and extensive health benefits becoming a greater and greater piece of our financial overhead, she required an inordinate amount of emotional hand-holding. To my lily white, noveau-riche eyes, her life resembled some kind of dreadful Spanish novella that you see late at night on Univision - a never ending cavalcade of dead or dying relatives, pregnant teenagers, life-threatening illness, INS Inquisitions and emotional upheaval. "Mr. Tod," she would say in broken English through tear-stained cheeks, "My brother - he not so good. He lost his eye at a cockfight when a rooster he train go crazy and try to kill him. I need $250 to send to him so he can get a new, glass eye. I don't know where else to go - please Mr. Tod, I need your help!"

I mean, what the fuck do you say to that? In my fantasy world, I would have liked to say, "Sorry Maria but I'm a card-carrying member of PETA and your brother's support of cock fighting totally violates my personal code regarding the welfare of animals. Plus glass eyes are really icky and kind of gross-me-out."
I would kindly offer her a Kleenex and after wiping her tears and blowing her runny nose she would regard me with a look of gratitude. Even she would recognize the futility of purchasing a glass eye for a man destined to die hideously a la Tippy Hedren in 'The Birds.'

Needless to say, after a few short minutes of soul-deadening Spanglish groveling, I gave in and gratefully gave her the $250 in exchange for some peace and quiet. I have no way of knowing if Pedro ever received his glass eye - apparently you don't get photos of beaming, underprivileged vivisectionists like you do with those Sally Struthers, Save-The-Children kids.

(To Be Continued)