Monday, December 03, 2007

Maybe the reason I had no bum

Pretty apropos of nothing, I was thinking today about high school babysitting and the strange dance with food we all danced while doing it.

At the beginning of your night, the Mrs. or (the horror) the Mr. would give you a little tour of their kitchen, saying "Help yourself to anything you can find! I'm so sorry - there's nothing to eat!" Which was either glaringly apparent or a blatant lie. She would laugh a little and perform the cursory opening of the cabinets and fridge, without revealing anything; you nodded and smiled anyways.

But you could already tell by that time where your night was going. Houses with the heat on and activated cable harbored goods like Doritos and Dove Bars, while the cold houses ("we have solar panels!") with "lots of movies, but no TV!" tended towards tofu, stale rice crackers and flat seltzer. You'd wave off the invite - "Oh, I already ate. But thanks, thanks" - knowing soon as they left, you'd grab anything remotely edible.

Why the eating had to be so secretive is still a mystery. One night I had just poured a big bowl of Froot Loops. As I dug in, I saw the flash of headlights and the sound of tires on gravel. I spit my mouthful into the trash, quickly pouring the rest down the sink. Total panic. I ran to the couch, put up my feet, "oh I've been here for hours", and flipped my Seventeen. I do believe I looked genuinely surprised when they opened the door.

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