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)

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