I've been getting asked some crazy stuff lately. I appreciate there are people who seem to value my opinion, but there are some queries coming my way that are ... well, I'm not sure if the questions themselves are weird (though some are!) or it's just weird that people think I've got the answers. (Or maybe they just want to know someone will make them laugh - if so, indeed, I've got that covered.)
There are a few points of advice I've recently given - and without attaching names - I've decided to include the occasional problem with my given advice as a random blog post ... this is all for your reading pleasure (what isn't?) and for you to toss out some additional wisdom if I didn't think of it. (But who could know more than me?)
But you've gotta' insert your sense of humor or don't even post a comment. :)
Here's our issue: Our next door neighbors, who we know just a little (basically their names, what they do for a living, and that their barky assed dogs are called Tiffany and Abby) have been asking us for a weird favor and we don't know what to do about it. They have a preteen son who is occasionally left home alone when school is canceled. Our neighbors are super paranoid about anyone being in their house. The kid is not allowed to have anyone in the house EVER. So every time he's left home alone, they call us and ask that we keep an "eye" on things, and to call them immediately if there's any suspicious behavior. So of course the kid had the house to himself last week and the Dad calls to make his request. Turns out that the kid had at least five car loads of people over. I kind of minimized it when his Dad called for his report and said something like "there were a couple of strange cars in front of your house (really in the driveway) but I didn't see anyone go inside" (really I saw them coming out the door).
Question: Should I tell the Dad that I don't want to be his rat anymore? I don't want bad blood between us, but I'm not comfortable either. I'm also afraid the kid is going to find out that it's me and my tires are going to get slashed or something. Or should I keep covering for the kid? Any other ideas?
I don’t have any proof, but I suspect that my parents did the same thing when I was growing up. Parents can be tricky. One time they left for a New Years Eve party and just as I was invading their liquor cabinet they came back because they “forgot their tickets.” WHO NEEDS TICKETS FOR A PARTY? Sneaky adults . . .
Anyway, my gut tells me that you shouldn’t be “working” for this kid’s parents. First of all, work should include pay. And gratitude is not pay. Second, though it may take a village to raise a child, who cares if it’s not your child? If I were home on a Saturday night with my boyfriend watching The Notebook and I had to get up every time I heard a car door slam to see if it was someone going into my neighbor’s house . . . well I just wouldn’t. I don’t even get up to get myself more beer, I'd just wait for my boyfriend to use the bathroom and then as he’s walking back to the couch I'd say, “Hey honey, can you please grab me a beer while you’re up?” ... I think I’m getting off topic.
What you need to do is get yourself out of this situation with the least amount of culpability, i.e. get them to “fire” you – just like if you wanted to quit your job but still wanted to collect unemployment. The best way to do this is to mess up. The next time they go out and a car pulls up to their house, call the cops. Report a burglary. When your neighbors are interrupted during their fancy meal to rush home because their house is being robbed, likely they will say something to you like, “What the hell happened!” to which you should reply, “You told me to watch the house! That car looked suspicious!” Continue this process until they get the hint. This is an alternate form of “killing someone with kindness.”
Or you could actually kill them. ? Just an idea.