It was 6:10 p.m. when I got the call.
“Mommy, Kristen didn’t pick me up. I’m waaaaiting!”
Not the call I expected or wanted to receive. Now, because of the babysitter, I had to dropped everything, run out of work and try and fetch my kid before day camp closed.
Ten minutes later, as I sat in the backseat of the cab inching my way through rush hour traffic toward the West Village camp, I found myself fuming. Kristen, our college-student babysitter, started working for us earlier this summer when her mother, our previous babysitter, took a full-time gig. Her mother was punctual and dependable, which, having no backup, is paramount with me. I’m fairly lax. I’m not going to ask you to run errands and fold laundry, but, dammit, just don’t be a no-show.
I fired off a text to Kristen: “Where are you?”
It’s bad enough that I have to remind my kid repeatedly of things, but the babysitter too?
Getting no response, I texted her mother.
“Do you know where Kristen is?”
This triggered an avalanche of calls and texts from both apologizing that there was a “mix up” and “it won’t happened again.” The mother, quick to make amends, suggested I copy her on all texts to Kristen.
I didn’t respond. I can’t recall a single time I failed to clock in or my mother had to get my arse out of bed for work. Ever.
At Kristen’s age I worked in an amusement park where I stood for hours on concrete in killer heat. Kristen was handed a $15.00 gig to pick up a 10-year-old up from camp and shuttle her from point A to point B. She didn’t have to comb through the help wanted ads, fill out lengthy forms and answer god-awful interview questions. Only skilled required is the ability to make frozen pizza and do 4th grade math.
Savannah adored Kristen the way a 10-year-old does a big sis. My tendency is to tolerate bad situations and then be resentful; however, I didn’t want the stress of wondering if my babysitter would make it to work that day. When she inquired about Wednesday’s schedule, I said, “we’re fine” and then vacillated on whether to be honest.
Finally: “Your no-show on Monday cost me $40. I was fined by the camp for the extra hour.”