She’s late. The final short-listed candidate in our quest to replace Mary Poppins. We interviewed the others last weekend, and have refrained from making a decision until we could meet K, whose CV positively oozes experience from every line.
My husband’s primary criterion is that K isn’t any larger than the others. It’s not that he’s fattist (not really) but it’s true to say the other three nannies have been rather on the large side; each bigger than the last, like reverse Russian dolls. Perhaps it’s all to do with the wording of the advert; maybe I shouldn’t have italicised the two meals a day included in the package… Appearance does have its place of course; I need to be confident that our nanny is not so unattractive as to be an eye-sore around the place, but not so attractive in a Swedish-size-eight sort of way that I’ll be concerned about going to work and leaving her with my pyjama’d husband.
Anyway, K doesn’t turn up and I call her mobile in case she’s got lost. She has forgotten and is mortified by her error, genuinely upset at having missed the opportunity. She explains in some detail that her grandmother was taken ill in the night. She raced down to the South coast to be with her and clean forgot about the interview. We talk for half an hour; a telephone interview in which I outline our parenting style and she takes me through her nannying approach. They marry perfectly and we are both excited and keen to meet. It’s like dating but without the promise of sex. At least I hope not. That didn’t feature in the advert, at any rate. We arrange another interview and I wish her grandmother well.
That evening I idly throw her name into Google and baulk slightly at the number of instant hits. A veritable celebrity on the social networking circuit, it seems. I click on her My Space profile first and read her interests with, well, interest;
“I’m a fun-loving red-head with a passion for fast cars, fast living and flying by the seat of my pants! Let’s rock till we drop then let’s rock some more!”
Hmm, not “I love nothing more than to watch my small charges develop and grow through a mixture of educational play and exploration”, then?
With no small degree of intrepidation I open her Facebook profile and discover her privacy settings are far from private. Her entire life is firmly in the public domain and as I read on I am gripped with a morbid fascination, beginning with last night’s status update;
“K… had the most wicked time tonight!”
Sitting by your dying grandmother’s bedside?
The day before she duly shared with her friends the fact that “K… is back for the weekend, so let’s party!”
The sudden call home for the critically ill relative is looking slightly dubious, is it not?
I scroll down through pages of status updates and am horrified by what I see. The “perfect employers” she is apparently so devastated to leave are ruthlessly mocked and criticised, their children referred to as “screaming brats”. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are occasions when I consider my own children to be pretty brattish, but then I’m not being paid to look after them…
I stop reading when I see a thread updated via a mobile phone; “K… has spent ten minutes in soft-play and already has a headache” and I realise she is actually on Facebook whilst presumably looking after her charges in a play centre.
I find myself wanting to meet her. I want to ask her more about her poor grandmother; I want to lead her down the path of deceit then slam down copies of her Facebook page onto the table, in the manner of a bad seventies cop show. I want to hack her account and update her status to show her 640 ‘friends’ that “K… is a liar liar pants on fire”.
So should I hire her..?