Friday, May 20, 2005

Nanny, anyone?

It's a gorgeous day in Santa Cruz, so I, naturally, am ignoring the fact that the beach is two miles away and lounging around the pool at my apartment complex.

A mid thirties mom and three 6 year old girls arrive soon after. The girls begin furious assessments of the temperature of the pool, and whether they should get in the pool or hot tub ("the pool is cold like a real ocean!" "the hot tub has bubbles!")

Later, girls and mom, having decided bubbles are better than real ocean-temperature, are sitting in the hot tub, and another woman joins them. She has a thick accent and begins asking the girls their names. Unfortunately, the girls have non-standard English names, like "Claire" and "Sage", and I feel badly listening to the woman try to pronounce them. Mom asks the woman where she's from, and a peculiar conversation follows:

Woman: I'm from Turkey
Mom: Really, oh well we have two nannies from Turkey
Woman: Yes? What are their names?
(Mom says two Turkish names)
Woman: How much do you pay them?
Mom: Um, five dollars and hour
Woman: Do they have visas?
Mom: Um, I really don't know. They might have student visas
Woman: Where do they live?
Mom: Oh, they live on the Eastside
Woman: Ah, I have visa.

At this point, the mom must be in a panic. Is the woman going to barter with her for a nannying price? Is she feeling guilty that she's only paying $5/hr to watch her children, and that she doesn't even know if her below-minimum-wage laborer is in the country legally? Is she worried that this woman is a spy for the Homeland Security?

I'd like to say I know what followed, but at that point I was starting to look red and headed in. I can only imagine though...


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