For much of my youth both of my parents worked outside the home. Because of this, my sister and I spent a good amount of time with babysitters over the years. I had my favorite: Celeste.
Celeste’s husband was an anesthesiologist, and they lived in a bomb-ass house in the O.C. She even had one of those rock water falls that spilled into a Jacuzzi, and would let me and Denise cannonball off it. Maybe not the safest idea of all time, but damn she was my favorite.
She would take us on so many fun outings, like the one time we got a shit ton of candy at Main Place Mall. Denise got one of those massive jaw breakers, and in typical Denise fashion, barely ever licked it, because she wanted to keep it around forever. She could’ve sucked on that thing for an hour, every day, for twenty years, and still would have it. But I digress.
Or that one time we convinced Celeste that we should go to Knott’s Berry Farm in the pouring rain. So she piled us into the car and headed over, only to face a shuttered amusement park, not letting anyone in. Depressed, yet hopeful, we went to the diner just outside the gates and got a couple of slices of pizza, praying that the rain would subside. After about an hour with no sunshine in sight, she drawled in her sweet southern accent, “Yeah, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna let up anytime soon.”
Another beloved babysitter who took care of us while Mom was flying the friendly skies and getting wedged between a large passenger (with no pants on) and the bathroom wall, was Nancy, at least I think that's what her name was, she looked like Bonnie Raitt….Anyways, she had long, fire-engine-red acrylic nails that she would click through her teeth while watching soap operas. She also taught me and Denise how to play Othello. Every time I watched her flip the black and white discs on the Othello board with her red talons, I yearned for the same ladylike nails on my own stubby paws.
She also dutifully made us take our naps every afternoon on garish embroidered sofas in her spotless living room. As with any nap time involving kids, most of it was spent trying to silently play or get into trouble. Occasionally while watching her soaps she would holler from the other room, “stay on the couch!” This would then give us the idea to treat the carpet like lava, and use couch cushions as a way to navigate the room. See, I’m still on the couch!
Since we rarely fell asleep, our nap times were not unlike this scene in Step Brothers. Talking to each other from across the lava carpet.