Stupidity Takes Advantage

There’s nothing wrong with doing favors for another person. Unless the one for whom the favor is done is a stuper (short yet again for an imprudently stupid person).

When my kids were moppets, I spent a good portion of the day carting them to and from preschool. I had no qualms about giving their friends rides, having buddies over to play or bringing energetic little lads with us on outings. My problem lay with the parent who dropped her kid off at my home at noon, promised to return in two hours and wasn’t seen or heard from again ’til Late Night with Letterman, without so much as a call.

One incident in particular stands out. Not because it took place at a very fancy puppet show on the very green lawn of a very historical spot where children were not usually allowed to frolic, but because I waited a very long time for the parent in question, stay-at-home-mom, Molly, to show up.

Molly asked me to drive her son, Mikey, to the puppet show. She said she’d arrive a little later to catch the tail end. An hour after we arrived at the show, Mikey’s nanny called to tell me Molly would be there in twenty minutes. I’m sure a few questions immediately popped into some of my dear readers’ minds right about now:

1. Why does a stay-at-home, non-working parent need a nanny to watch her four-year-old?

2. Why didn’t Nanny bring Mikey to the puppet show? And

3. Was Mikey’s dutiful nanny actually working even when her charge wasn’t around?

As you may have guessed, the puppet show came and went, sunglasses were put away, the clean-up crew picked up every last crumb remaining on the premises, and the gardener gave us beastly looks. He scowled and mumbled a steady stream of noxious profanities that were thankfully in a foreign tongue, then sharpened his weed whackers with fervent zeal. Who could blame the madman? We lingered wantonly on the near perfect lawn. Meanwhile, I gazed searchingly out into the horizon for a trace of Molly. I’d been unsuccessful in my attempts to contact her.

I pictured myself sitting there beneath the moon, my two tots and Mikey sprawled on the impeccable lawn, covered in dewdrops and grass clippings that the livid gardener had refused to clean-up in protest.

“That’s it!” I announced, seething. “We’re leaving.”

As we gathered ourselves to go to the car, guess who finally decided to make her entrance?

“Thanks so much, Keli! You really are a sweetie! It couldn’t be helped! I had to stop and visit the ladies at the Charity League,” she breathlessly explained.

“For six hours?”

“Well, you know, I do lose track of time.”

I am happy to report I have since lost track of Molly. “Yes” was omitted from my vocabulary when it came to requests from her, post puppet show incident; hence, I forfeited all usefulness to Molly and was rapidly deleted from her blackberry.

Molly was oblivious to her offense, as stupers typically are. For her, it was a way of life. If I believed talking to her would have made a difference, I’d have done so. But based on her past behavior, I felt otherwise.

There’s nothing wrong and everything right with offering to help another person. But if you desire to maintain your sanity, it’s important to make it clear up front just how much help you’re willing to give. Time-consuming requests can be draining, not to mention irritating, especially when originated by a stuper.

Why not think?


4 Responses to “Stupidity Takes Advantage”

  1. Maribeth says:

    I have definitely encountered a few of those parents along the way. I can’t grasp how a mother would not check on her child for hours on end. Hmm, nope a logical answer is not coming, I am left stumped.:)

  2. footiam says:

    Maybe, you should make the kid clean the toilet.

  3. Starlily says:

    I’ve also experienced the ‘extra long’ baby sit… or parents that are very late to pick up their kids from birthday parties that you are throwing… or parents who ask you to watch their toddlers without explaining that their toddler is going through a little ‘phase’ (which is why no one else will babysit for them) and which you don’t learn about until said toddler bites off your own toddler’s nose…

  4. Julianne says:

    I’m mystified by your inability to contact Molly. In this day and age there is no excuse for not answering, or at the very least returning, a call from the current caregiver of your child.

    I watch other people’s children quite frequently and have never had this happened. I’m not a brave soul like you and tend to keep them confined to my home.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.