The way the simple folk live
The first night I babysat Alex, she was eating dinner when I arrived. Her dad explained her routine to me and then I joined her, sitting in a high stool at the tiled kitchen island. I'd had a quick dinner before I arrived so I watched this slight shy girl pick at the food in front of her. It appeared to be some pasta and sausage dish that most seven-year-olds wouldn't enjoy. Once her dad and his girlfriend were gone, she began to ask me if she could be done with her dinner and have her Hershey's bar for dessert. I knew she hadn't finished what her dad had determined was "enough" but I felt like this was a little girl being forced into living like a grown up, and I was happy to indulge her a little.
I babysat Alex a number of other times over the next year or so. Once that summer we managed to set off the security system and I didn't get the code punched in before the alarm company called to see if we were okay. I juggled two phones, reassuring the alarm operator that I was a babysitter and we were fine, while I talked to Alex's dad on the other line to try and find the correct art book in the living room to find the code. I did find it and managed to not require a visit from the police, but even now when I think of that house, it represents a higher class of living than I'm accustomed to.
There is a large part of me that would like to have a life like that--cooking tasteful dinners, drinking wine, reading fiction that isn't romance novels, actually reading the Newsweek magazine that I get each week. Every day and almost every decision I make is at this crossroads--should I go to Walmart to get a replacement for the lamp in my bedroom that isn't working? Should I buy the Care Bear fruit snacks and Goldfish crackers for office snacks while I'm there? And then there are the bigger choices--if I date him, and we ended up together, what kind of life would we have? Would we have a library of art coffee table books and cook sausage and pasta dinners for our kids? Or would we live in a modest house serving chicken nuggets and reading trashy novels?
I'm at a crossroads--I can continue to live the easy life or make the effort to change and make my life more sophisticated. Should I date the man who would buy art books or the one who would read TV Guide with me? Do I want to give up my fruit snacks and crackers in favor of sausage pasta and wine?