Don't Let Me Watch Your Kids

and give it up for another Cute Single Boy of the Week

We’ve got a forum topic going on disgusting things you’ve found in someone’s house, and it brought back a terrible memory of the Last Time Pamie Ever Really Considered Baby-sitting As a Form of Income.

First of all, I should explain that I was never really a good baby-sitter to begin with. Terrible. Awful. Your kid cries, I start crying. It just happens. The two of us will sit there all day long crying while you’re out and when you come back I give you a wet, sobby baby and I whimper as I take the ten dollars from your hand and I leave and hopefully never return.

One of my first baby-sitting experiences (outside from my little sister, whom I watched all the time), was a little girl named Tedra. Ooh, just writing that name down gave me the willies. She was an evil, evil child. No, seriously. Evil.

Here’s how evil: She’d want to stay up late. I was told to have her in bed by nine. She wouldn’t go to bed. I told her she had to. She took all of the water from her bathtub and spilled it on the bathroom floor. As I was mopping up the tub, she’d spill her mother’s makeup all over the bedroom. As I’d clean that up, she’d squish crayons into the carpet. To keep from beating her senseless, I would just hold her arms down and try and look into her face and tell her she had to go to sleep. Oh, I’m about seven and she’s about five. Anyway, I’d hold her arms down and she’d kick my shins and tell me that she isn’t going to do anything I tell her to do because I’m not her mother.

And then she began to hit herself in the face. She told me that she was going to tell her mother that I beat her and that I’d never be allowed over again and I’d go to jail for beating her. I left her alone in her bedroom.

The phone rang. I answered and said that the lady of the house couldn’t come to the phone right now.

[scripty]
BITCH
Well, is this the sitter?

YOUNG PAMIE
Ma’am? Can I get your name and I’ll have her call you back when she’s available?

BITCH
What number did I dial?

YOUNG PAMIE
Uh…

BITCH
You don’t know? What kind of baby-sitter are you? Do you even know what address you’re sitting at? What if the baby gets sick? How are you going to call 911? How can you be so irresponsible? What the hell is the matter with you? You tell me that the mother isn’t there and then you can’t even tell me what number you’re calling from? What the hell is wrong with you?

YOUNG PAMIE
(sobbing)
I just want to go home.
[/scripty]

Well, that night, Tedra’s mother didn’t come home on time. In fact, I have no idea when she came home. All I know is I woke up to a strange bedroom. After about three seconds it all sunk in. “Oh NO!” I screamed.

“Pamie? We’ll take you home after breakfast. It’s okay.”

It was so not okay. I didn’t want to be in that house ever again. After a miserable breakfast (Tedra took to putting syrup on my shorts while their stupid dog would try and bite my clothes), I went home and declared that I was never baby-sitting again.

Of course, that didn’t last, and when I was a bit older I was asked to baby-sit the children that lived across the street from my house.

Now, let me say that we were a bit cautious of these people, anyway. We called the husband “Batman,” because he was always building this Batmobile replica in his front yard (with personalized “Batman” plates). The woman had something to do with church, but I’m not sure. I hardly remember her. I do, however, remember the day she wheeled an organ and an amplifier into the front yard and began beating that poor organ to death. The music was so loud that my father couldn’t hear the television inside our own house. He walked across the street and tried to explain to the woman that as much as she needed to sing to God at that moment, the Cowboys were trying to pray as well, and he didn’t want any crossed signals.

These people would let their children wander around in diapers when it was snowing outside. They never wore shoes. They were always dirty. Still, one night my parents told them that I would watch their kids for them when they went out for an anniversary or something. I walked over to their house and they told me that the kids were pretty much already fed and that they could have cookies later and just to let them go to sleep whenever they wanted. They were all, “Do whatever you want. Eat whatever you want. We’ve got cable. Bye.”

First of all, the house was a mess. Like old food messy? Stuff covered every counter, the floor was crummy. Toys covered every single inch of floor space. These kids were crawling all over the couch cushions with their leaky diapers and their snotty faces. I couldn’t take it. I started cleaning them up, trying to clean up a bit of the kitchen. I think I was eleven at this time. The boy was older than the girl. I think they were four and two. In any event, the boy asked for some cookies, so I grabbed the box of cinnamon Teddy Grahams from the cabinet, and went to pull out a handful.

My hand. Was. Covered. In. Ants.

There were ants all over the kitchen. I hadn’t noticed before, because of the amount of dirt in the house. I screamed and stomped on the box of bugs. I put both of the kids in a tub and told them to bathe each other. They played with soap while I took their clothes outside and tried to get all of the bugs off of them. I called my mother in tears and said I really didn’t want to be there anymore. She told me that it was just another hour or so, and then I could come home.

I tried to calm down. The phone rang. The parents had decided to go out for a few drinks, and would it be all right if I stayed for a few more hours?

I hung up the phone and shuddered.

I had cleared a walk-space through the living room into the kids’ bedroom. I dressed them and told them it was time for sleep. It was after ten at this point and these kids showed no sign of sleepy. I plopped them down on the couch and we all watched Growing Pains or something together. I walked back towards the bathroom.

And that’s when it happened.

The hallway was covered in framed photographs. I glanced upward and noticed how striking all of their relatives were in comparison to the family I was dealing with. They were all very happy, pretty people with these great smiles and hair… and then I noticed that the frames were all wrapped. In cellophane. With stickers that said “3 for $5.00.”

They had hung up picture frames with the original faux photos inside.

In a crazy horror movie panic, I remember backing away from the pictures and bumping into the other set of frames behind me, knocking off the wall one of those 16-picture frames where you fill it with tiny shots of all of your friends. It was filled with the original pieces of paper. Still wrapped. Still with the price tag.

Clearly, I was dealing with serial killers here.

I called my mother and demanded that I was going home immediately. I looked out the window and saw her in my house, in my safe warm kitchen, checking her watch and looking upward as if there was nothing she could do. She was safe and I was about to have to put the lotion in the basket.

When I left that house later that night with eight dollars in my hand I swore to never, ever baby-sit again. Ever.

And of course, I still did the occasional sitting job because a teen’s gotta buy CD’s you know, but I really, really never wanted to do it again after that day.

I still cry every time someone leaves me with a crying baby.

I’m really never supposed to have one. I swear.

Well, if it’s Tuesday, it must be time for the Cute Single Boy of the Week.

This one is ultra-special, since his birthday is tomorrow.
It’s even better, because you already know him. Okay, ladies, here goes:

Hello. I’m your cute single guy of the week. Please remain calm and in a single-file line.

Just kidding. Get rowdy.

Never mind. It’s really not for me to decide how you behave.

Anyway, I’m Jeff and I know Pam from college. We were actors together at UT. We shared birthday parties with another friend because we were born within nine days of each other. I’m the baby.

I guess it’s time to be cute now. This seemed like so much fun when I thought that Pam wrote it for you. I really think that Chris didn’t write his cute single guy thing. He’s really that nice and all, but…. Let’s just say, I have my doubts.

Right now, I’m struggling to define myself and it causing me much distress. I like TV? Is that a start? Oh God. I can do this.

Well, let’s think of a useful stereotype to use that describes me. Hmmm… That’s why this is hard. I don’t fit into any dating type. I’m not someone you would date and then be like,”Oh God, he’s a(insert verb)-er.” Do you know what I mean? Like, some people are … okay, now I can’t think any dating types at all. Did I just make that up? OK, like, brooding guy or funny guy or boring guy or granola guy. I’m not just one. I’m multicolored. Except for boring guy. I’m not boring guy. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m sure I’m boring guy every once in a while. (Actually, I’m showing that I’m objective guy. I’m really positive that I’m never boring guy)

This may not seem like the proper marketing statement for the circumstances, but I hate dating. This feels like a date. That’s why I probably seem so weird. I seem really weird, don’t I? It just seems to me that in those crucial moments after the beginning of attraction, things always go very strangely. For two years, I found myself only dating cocaine fiends. If I could somehow show you how not normal for me that is, you’d really be very shocked. After two years, I was like,”Hey, the girls I’ve dated? They’ve all been on lots of coke. Is this some sort of trend?” I mean, how do you attract a cocaine user? That’s rhetorical. I clearly have the answers inside of me.

I really like women though. I like them as friends, coworkers, doctors. But, relationships have that whole yin and yang thing, and the yin to my yang is evidently really fucked up. So, I’m figuring that out right now.

So, ladies, this is how a person self-destructing reads. Just like this. But it does suck, doesn’t it? Dating bites!! It’s this weird social setting with someone you don’t know THAT well (otherwise, you’d just be friends), yet you’re in this setting where your very presence suggests that you want to sleep with that person and possibly more. That’s so intimate and gross. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. That’s why I like theatre. You just start making out with some girl at a cast party or something. There’s none of that sticky “Would you like to…” “I was wondering if you” “If you’re not busy…” nonsense. It’s just all of a sudden, you’re a thing. In my ideal world, some woman would just club me and claim me. Maybe it’s from growing up in a matriarchal deeply southern family. I don’t know. I really love happy couples and they seem so mysterious to me. I’ll be part of one some day, but not today.

Unless…now’s your chance ladies!! Aren’t I the man for whom you’ve been waiting? I will say this, I’m cute. Pam, you can pipe in here. [Uh… yes, Jeff is very cute. You can see for yourself in yesterday’s entry. — pamie] And I’m in “A Clockwork Orange:The Musical” starting at the end of this month. Check the Chronicle. I’m playing a madman, if you can believe that. So maybe I didn’t set any of your hearts afire (remember that John Ritter, Markie Post, Billy Bob Thornton show? Earth,Wind,& Fire song?), but someone out there has to at least AGREE with me. I’m surprised that Chris is such a huge liar and allows himself to take credit for someone’s carefully crafted pile of bull crap.

No, really, I am very cute.

Jeff

You know, I’m aware that this seems to be men-seeking-women. And I’m also aware that I’m in the theatre. I’m trying my best to find some nice boys-who-like-boys out there for you guys, and hopefully a few girls-who-like-girls so that I can continue to set you guys up with potential mates. The problem is I know me a whole bunch of boys who like girls. Just know I’m working on it. I’d hate to put up someone I don’t know, here. I’m trying to make sure each Cute Single of the Week has the pamie seal of approval. I want you to know I’m offering quality goods, here. I wouldn’t half-ass you guys. I love you guys.

Man, Sarah’s story today had me cracking up. Go read it, it’s fun.

Whew. That’s a lot of entry, there.

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