Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not for All My Little Words

I'm sitting outside in the sun, with an Earl Grey tea and an old copy of The New Yorker. I'd like to go for a bike ride along one of the Rhein River's many tributaries. I'd like to call up a friend and invite him/her out to play frisbee or for dinner, coffee, or beer.

But instead I'm waiting. S. is due to return from a playdate at any time and I told W., the boys' father, that S.'s bike was still in front of the Kindergarten. Although it should be presumed that S.'s bike needs to be fetched via car whenever S. has this weekly playdate, his parents need reminding and I'm obliged to do so. I'm afraid to remind W. to be sure that someone is home when his son returns (he has forgotten before), so I'm waiting until he runs this short errand before I leave this sunny terrace.

There's a good chance that W. will forget to pick up the bike, in which case the task will be left to me.

S.'s mother, K., told me the other evening, "You need to remind one of us about S.'s bike before we leave from work. And if one of us can't get it, you can pick it up, right? It's only.... What? Half an hour?"

It would be a good forty-five minute walk, I knew, and half of that time would be spent hunched over, making awkward steps, holding the handlebars while also avoiding clipping the backs of my heels against the tiny peddles.

"Yeah, no problem." I said, doing my best to fake non-chalance.

I could have said "No." To any other employer, I would have said that walking a child's bike home is not a stipulated as one of my duties, but if he/she would like, I may be paid extra for the task. But this is the plight of the aupair. I am paid to be available for them. I am given food, drink, and a warm place to sleep. I am indentured to their needs and generosity.

Now that S. is home and my tea has been drunk, I think I'll walk to the Kindergarten and pick up his bike now. I don't have any money to go out with a friend, anyway.

As you may've noticed, I've decided to change everyone's names. The internet is a big, potentially scary place and I don't want anyone to get hurt by what I say about them.


Regina said...

I liked the descriptions; about waiting with a cup of tea and an old New Yorker, and esp'ly walking the little bike home. Funny how they depend on you to do the simplest things they should remember to do themselves. oh, well. Indentured servitude has its rewards.

Mandie P said...

oh how i don't miss it- but i do miss you!