It’s April 3rd. Winter is back with a vengeance and the wind coming off the mighty Hudson river is bitting my face like a junk yard dog. I’ve got the four-year-old by the hand, dragging her down Greenwich St. She’s resisting every step of the way like Shawn Penn in Dead Man Walking. So far we’ve counted 687 steps since we left the apartment and we’re only at the half-way there. Yes, I’ll trying to turn an unpleasant situation into a magical math game. She stopped counting at 5 when her month went numb. All systems have failed me this morning. Nanny…out sick. Wife… strategically wearing her bathrobe at departure time. Me…standing at the front door like a idiot with no special purpose. It wasn’t even worth putting up a fight. Now, after what seems like a mountain stage of the Tour de France without performance enhancing drugs, we get to her Montessori school. We head straight for the complimentary tissue box and wipe the mucus icebergs away from our thawing schnozes. Drop off at the school is a strange ritual for sure. Basically, the child and guardian wait outside the classroom door in heightened anticipation until the teacher cracks the door. She then summons in the little grommets like Oompa Loompas reporting for the day shift at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The adults don’t get to see too much of the inside and the kids, being four, make for very unreliable correspondents. By the way, I can’t help but to wonder if that movie was really some kind of communist manifesto about the exploitation of the working class. Hell, Augustus Gloop almost died in the chocolate river. If that’s not unsafe working conditions, I don’t know what is. Anyway, I’m waiting and waiting for that damn door to open and getting very nervous about making my 9am meeting. I scan the holding area and immediately notice an obvious hierarchy to drop off personnel. The pecking order from lowest to highest goes something like this:
1. Dads in sweats, sneakers and Jets caps who have lost their Wall Street jobs
2. Moms of husbands who lost their Wall Street jobs and fired their nannies.
3. Moms who’s husbands are game-fully employed but too cheap to spring for a nanny
4. Nannies of families who are deep in debt but still keeping up appearances
5. Tibetan nannies
6. Caribbean nannies
7. Dads in sweats, sneakers and Yankee caps who retired from their Wall Street Jobs on credit default swaps trades, killing time before the doors open at the indoor golf training facility in SoHo .
8. Ed Burns
My kid gets in with the first group, no golden ticket required. Well, not taking into consideration that one year of pre-school tuition is greater than the outlay for my entire college experience, including books, housing and spring break bail bonds. Outside I catch a cab with a Haitian national who proceeds to tell me a thing or two about exploitation of the working class. We arrive outside the office and I tip him two dollars for my small part as an American citizen in taking all of Haiti’s oil.