Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Travails Of The One Percent

I’ve been almost as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as Tierra del Fuego. So I have some worldly experience, despite my bookish, monastic life, but I confess I simply cannot relate to this problem in any way, shape or form. It is completely beyond my ken. It is something totally, absolutely and utterly alien to my whole existence. It is a blank spot on my life’s resume. It strains the limits of my imagination just trying to contemplate it. This may as well be happening on Alpha Centauri as far as I’m concerned:
It took Zenaide Muneton 20 seconds to convince me that she was the perfect nanny. Short and dark-haired, she has a goofy, beaming smile and knows how to make everything fun for a little kid. Time to brush your teeth? She shakes her hands and does a pantomimed teeth-brushing dance. Bath time? She pumps her arms up and down in a going-to-the-tub march. After I told her I’d love to hire her, she smiled and thanked me.

Then we both laughed, because there is no way I could possibly afford her. As one of New York City’s elite nannies, Muneton commanded around $180,000 a year — plus a Christmas bonus and a $3,000-a-month apartment on Central Park West. I should be her nanny.

I began researching this bizarre microeconomy shortly after my wife and I started looking for someone to watch our son for a few hours a week. We met with several candidates, all of whom had good references and seemed fine with him. Still, we weren’t sure how to judge them. Should we hire the one who seemed to be the most fun? The most experienced? A native English speaker or someone who could speak a foreign language to him? Someone with a college degree? A master’s?

I’m scratching my head wondering what kind of privileged nincompoops waste one valuable minute of life concentrating on such crap. I’d rather have a freakin’ root canal. If you’ve got the money to hire an expensive nanny you’ve probably got the money to stay home with your kid, but then there’s no prestige attached to that, is there?

You know, I can state with absolute metaphysical certitude that me and those kinds of people have have absolutely nothing to discuss at all.

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