Only in town for one week, and already I’ve been mistaken for the help. I suppose this makes it as good a time as any to talk about money. Why not. I love how the French will discuss goose livers and threesomes (over breakfast, no less), but never money, because discussing money is vulgar.
I’m going to get all kinds of vulgar. You can blame the man I met at the park for that. I was pushing the girls on the swings at a playground just down the road, and we were all laughing and having fun, when a middle-aged man came up to me, smiling, and asked, “How much do they pay you for that? $10 an hour?” Silence. I wasn’t sulking, I was trying to figure out what the hell he meant. Then I got it (a little slow on the uptake if I’m honest) – ohhhhhh- you think I’m the hired help. I delicately informed him I was the Mommy, not the Nanny, we exchanged a few more pleasantries, and off he went. Then I just kind of stood there, pondering what his blunder meant. I looked around me, and thought- Wow, there is a lot of money in this town. I noticed ground crews working on immaculately maintained lawns. Beautiful old New England mansions, complete with turrets and widow’s walks, nary a peeling paint chip to be found. I thought about all the big shiny boats in the harbor, quaint shops, fast cars, the glorious cobblestone downtown, the Moms, strolling… dressed to the nines. Yep, the best things in life are free, but the nicest towns are usually filthy rich. Then there’s me, in an old fleece jacket, jeans, sneakers. No wonder he thought I was the help.
The man’s false assumption did not upset me. I’m not offended. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a nanny. Or a lawn crew. Or wearing fancy clothes. I chose to move to this town because the schools are great, and the town itself is very beautiful and safe. It’s much easier for any town to accomplish all three of these things when it has a lot of money, so I’m thankful to all the staff-hiring, dressed to kill Moms around here (even though I may not exactly fit in amongst them), because they’re partially fitting the bill for my twins bright new future. Thank you. Seriously.
And here I am, a few days later, still contemplating money. I guess after moving from a remote island where bare feet is the norm and yurts not uncommon, to… here, it’s not surprising I’ve got money on the brain. I periodically wonder if my husband and I should be trying to make more dough. My husband has offered several times to, for lack of a better term, sell out. In the world of high science there are multiple routes you can go, but the two biggies are academia or industry. The first has cache, the second, cash. I always say no to number two. This is mostly because of people we know. One of my husband’s grad school buddies, a brilliant organic chemist, now makes a killer living… stirring toothpaste. A girl I went to high school with once cornered me in a boutique to brag that she had just started a very lucrative, highly sought after position, courtesy of her fancy science degree. I found out later this dream job was at a tampon factory. Now for the record, I am a huge fan of money, toothpaste, and tampons. I’d love to have more of all three, especially the first, but not at any cost. I love my husband, and he would do anything for our family. If I told him to forget about teaching and research and use his big degree to make more money he would do it; but I don’t want him to. Discovering black holes is cool and sexy and exciting in a way that toothpaste and tampons, or doing high math for financial markets, just…isn’t. At least not for now. I don’t like to make predictions for the future. When I do, it always bites me in the ass; I still have so damn much to learn.
Funny how all of this surfaced from one offhand comment, which, by the way, I’ve decided to take as an enormous complement. As my husband pointed out- maybe that man thought I looked young (nannies are usually young, right?), or maybe he thought I was a superfab childcare giver (based on my exceptional swing pushing abilities) and was trying to poach me, or maybe he thought I was one of those sexy, naughty nannies, and was trying to draw me into a lurid affair. See, compliments all! Or at least, that’s how I’m taking it. Why not.
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