Bunches of Gripes

Okay.

So I have to gripe here, for a minute. Just lay it out. Just so I don't, you know, say it out loud, or something like that. Although maybe I should. . .

I have one parent that called me at three pm today, saying she was getting off work early, so I didn't need to pick up her kids from the after school program. Okay, well, Marty already went to get them, so you'd better just meet them here, because he's going to show up any minute.

Okay, she says, sounds good. I'm going to make a stop or two first.

Fine.

It is now almost ten o'clock. At night. And not a word from her. Is this where I call CPS?

Gripe number two.

Boy is supposed to show up at five in the morning. Which means I have to be up and showered, etc, by then. So I'm up, clean, dressed, door's unlocked, all that good stuff you want to do at four in the morning. She doesn't call, doesn't come–UNTIL THREE PM.

Oh, hey, I say to her. I thought you were working at five.

Yeah, she laughs. Me too! But they changed me to the swing shift yesterday.

(And you didn't call????!!!!

You think I get up at four for fun, and then I stay up until midnight when your oh-so-amusing shift change has run it's course?)

You know what? The thing that gets me is that I didn't think or say any of that at the time. I have to be relating the story to someone else for the indignity to really register. I just take it, and take it, and here I am, at your service, twentyfour hours a day, six days a week. Fifty two weeks a year.

Gripe number three, four, and five. All from different families. 

You don't show up for a week and a half. Then show up again, without any explanation. Or say you washed your cell phone. Or the kids were sick. And just expect me to be here, waiting, with an empty spot for your child. 

You show up, then on your way out the door, say, oh, she vomitted this morning, but I think she's fine.

You call me and accuse me of ridiculous things, horrible things, because your child has symptoms that your doctor has told you, repeatedly, are in consequence of your own behavior and parenting style.  And then you show up two days later, sweet as sugar and expect me to have just swallowed the accusations, to stand here and keep smiling at you and your child, welcome them back in, no questions asked. You tell me what the doctor said, what dietary changes we're going to make, that I already suggested, and no appology for your behavior. Act like we never had those one sided phone conversations.

Because I do.

I smile at you when you come in, seven hours now, after your shift ends, and I ask you how your day went. And did you find any good deals at Fashion Bug? Yes, that's a great shirt. I sit here, my hands poised over the blog in which I am lambasting you with such venom, and I smile at you and make small talk about your night on the town.

Hypocrite, me. Don't trust my smiles, my good will. You don't know what lies beneath.

Am I?

Maybe the real me is the one who takes the crap and just bounces back. Maybe the me that's typing this is just the tired, disillusioned mortal talking. Because when I smile at you and take your baby off your hip and talk to you about your day when my own has been unspeakable, when I don't point out all your thoughtless behavior–that feels right to me, when I'm doing it.

It's just all such a contradiction. That I can see how ridiculous and thoughtless people are, and yet not let it bother me enough to do anything about it. It seems like I should. But then when I imagine doing anything, it just seems as ridiculous as their behavior. Moreso, because I know better.  

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