Summer nanny duty means highs and lows and frustrations all around. Like my boss thinking I don't understand her rapid-fire French when I do, and me reminding myself to not interpret her very sharp tongued frankness personally. Sometimes it makes me want to retreat into the comfort of America, to the land of Americans with easy dispositions and carefree manners. It's funny that such slight comments make me feel so vulnerable, cut me down to size, make me feel like coming to France, trying to do what I am currently doing, is a mistake. That I am a fool on a basic level for this experiment in all things French.
It also means me feeling burned out as hell on kids. I like kids, I do. I have always liked kids. I was nearly a second mother to my own sister, who is twelve years my junior. But I'm starting, after two years of being an au pair, a nounou, a general kid watcher, whatever the hell you want to call it, tired. I don't want to spend all of my twenties taking care of kids before I happen to have kids of my own...
Apparently it's supposed to be different when they're your own...I will have to get back to you on that one.
It means that I am starting to feel trapped, but it is such a hard thing to feel when it is I who have knowingly walked into this trap. And I now fully realize that I, indeed, work for the one percent. No, in fact, I work for the 0.01 percent. I work for the mondain, the socialites, the people Marcel at once admired, detested, and attempted to cotoie in A la recherche du temps perdu. These people who pay me--and I admit I have agreed--to exchange much of my decision making freedom for money. I miss my liberty.
I feel in so many ways that I have not been living. That instead of living I have opted for the security of planned futures and easy roads that avoid any and all types of conflict that might make me uncomfortable. There is a strong wind of fate blowing and there is something around the corner that I sense coming, but I am admittedly terrified and feel like a child who wants to retreat and hide behind her mother's thighs.
For instance, this afternoon, ¨my¨ ( I call my two young girl child charges mine as a matter of affection), wanted me to call Frenchman. They were being girl children as only girl children can be and laughingly imitating me kissing said Frenchman as a matter of spun, Disney-esque fantasies. So I caved and texted him and said they were giving a beau ¨spectacle d'amour¨ in the pool. Apparently this insinuated a sexual sort of spectacle, which is not what I meant at all, but alas I am not French and while I have a more than solid grasp of the language and culture, this was not what I wished to convey. Face palm numero uno.
The girls then wanted to ask him lots of questions and be general goofballs when my eldest girl child charge asked to ask him a question. I conceded. Frenchman said she could ask but he might not respond. She promptly blurted out:
¨Have you ever had sex with Lindsay!?¨
Faee. Fucking. Palm. NUMERO OH SHIT.
He responded that that was an indiscreet question he would not respond to. Face fucking palm for King. This is the part where I RUE ever agreeing to send the text that made him call me to talk to my girls. I did it in my moment of weakness and to please them, but now I am banging my head on the wall.
Because the French are probably the most private people I have ever met. You do NOT ask questions like that, you do NOT share unnecessary private details with just anyone. I am terrified he thinks I blab non-stop private things to just anyone, or worse, that I have told anyone and everyone about things we have discussed in private. Or that I have assumed that we are together or that we are something that we aren't because hell, I do not know and it's still early. I realize the irony in posting this on a public medium, but rest assured, I do take some fictional liberty and I DO NOT SHARE every last detail. OH dammit. Dammit.
I could barely hear him at the end of the convo because of the shitty network on this tropical island on which I am stationed and I am super afraid I upset him, so I sent him a text apologizing at the end there and for putting up with the kids. Goddam it now I rue everrrrrrr texting him. I want to run and retreat and bury my face under a mask and a mountain of blankets, to hide behind my mother the way I did when I met strangers for the first time.
I am somewhat aware I am probably making--as I am the champion of doing--a slight matter into something bigger, a mountain out of a molehill. I keep telling myself to quit dwelling and let it go, I can hear my mother telling me, like she did my entire childhood, to do the same thing, but instead I obsessively brood and repeat over and over and over in my head.
He is the last person i want to fuck anything up with, and that scares me. I realize how illogical I am being right now: a little gaffe or faux pas or something of that sort is not going to scare him away or really anger him in the long run if he is truly interested. I guess I'm more ashamed about what I deem a mistake in cultural sensitivity. But part of me wants to turn, bolt out the door, and run back to America with all its Americans who speak American English and drop every idea I ever had of staying in France and surviving. Or of having a relationship with a Frenchy. Part of me wants to slap myself and ask myself WTF I am thinking, am I out of my effing mind? Don't I know this is a bad idea?
Most of all, I know I feel this way because i feel so, so, so incredibly vulnerable about so many things right now and I'm just terrified of messing up somehow. Afraid of exposure. I am above all scared of this Frenchy, of where my life might be headed. So instead of being brave, I want to swallow myself whole and disappear. Sensing the beyond insane urge to retreat, run, retreat, run run run run run. Run faster.
I know, though, logically, that that is not living. And it's high time I get around to living. I just hope I have enough courage, to said goodbye to the things that hold me back and embrace those that set me free.