The gratitude of my temporary inmates seems only to ring truer with each passing circumstance. I suppose I may have acquired a skill or two over the years where it pertains to the custodial caretaking that so many in this throwaway culture would prefer to ignore.
It’s not Stockholm Syndrome that these folks have come down with, since I’m not the one responsible for my subjects’ captivity, but it is definitely a similar phenomenon (a guy sure could get used to all the attention, anyhow). My wards do actually receive that kind of no-strings care that the medical insurance industry forgot about as soon as private concerns got their hooks into it (even though their advertising tries to sell a different story).
Perhaps because of this comfort, every single one of our emerging beer-krausening technologies has been behind schedule under my watch. Maybe it was a mistake to combine a halfway house with a chemistry lab. Our three chemists-in-captivity are functioning alcoholics who just use this particular project to get tanked on the job all day–with my tacit blessing, I suppose. Last Thursday, Ernie–the least-tactful of the three–decided to not look both ways before crossing the street on his lunch break (I do give them at least a little time in each week to get out and smell the flowers). Long story short, Ernie got hit by a shipment of cabbages (with a truck attached), survived, and is now suing the city for not putting a stop sign in a 40 MPH zone. As soon as he got back from the hospital, you’d better believe I gave him quite the lecture on roadside awareness!
Triumphance rarely conquers the spirit of the wide-ranging pituitary-minded poltergeist wrangler in his heartiest of times (from the Belgian Riviera to the Spanish beer mines the proletariat sent their kids to one fine Summer evening only to find that mines aren’t as fun as they’re cracked up to be); I’ve lately found myself drawn toward the lively canary fields from my youth, where the kids and elderly alike would frolic in ways suitable to their particular stations. I would perform amateur somersaults and insist on becoming a gold-medal gymnast, knowing full well that I’d most likely have to settle for silver and a life of abject mediocrity (though producing a silver medal in and of itself is quite impressive from a layman’s standpoint).
Nevertheless, the frolicking continued into the wee hours of the afternoon, both the youths and elders needing to be put down for naps by their respective caretakers. At such a bizarre turn of events–otherwise considered contrived–the caretakers had a brief period all to themselves while their wards recharged their batteries. Seeing as how I was never awake under these circumstances, I have no idea as to what my au pair would have been doing at the time of my napping. However, I do have several theories batting around in my head (not unlike the 1927 Yankees’ unfair offensive firepower). I won’t bore you with the sheer volume of my ruminations, as those would only emphasize my madness. I will, however, provide a few of the “greatest hits”, as it were.
But not today. That’s for a different time. For you see, in the time it took me to describe my aversion to pointing out the minute details of my meandering mind, the youths and elders have already awoken from their sun-drenched siestas, relegating their caretakers to once again looking out for soiled diapers, skinned knees and broken hips.