Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fine Young Babysitters

When we were seniors in college, we received a call from a friend who was working for a video production company in Seattle. They were recording The Fine Young Cannibals at the Paramount Theater that evening, and our friend was on the phone looking for a babysitter for the child of one oft he band members.

Jujubi agreed to go, being a great babysitter and up for some adventure (and some money). Jujubi didn't have a car, so I volunteered to drive, also up for some adventure (and some money). I sucked at babysitting and hated it, but driving Jujubi to Seattle would be kind of fun, and babysitting a rock star's kid would be different. We weren't very familiar with the FYC, other than the two songs that were all over the radio that year. On behalf of her employer, our friend was relieved to have found someone to sit with the kid, who she told us was a four year old boy.

We drove up to Seattle and presented ourselves at the theater hours before the show. When we explained why we were there and who had called us, Security told us that there were no children of band members on the tour. Eventually he located our friend and gave us backstage passes. She took us to the Green Room and we met the kid we were supposed to watch. No four year old, he was still in diapers and very upset that he wasn't with his mummy - the hairstylist. Jujubi and I mostly followed him around the area while he cried, looking for her I guess.

Well before the first set was over, the hairstylist appeared. She was muttering handfuls of curse words to the man she was with, though it was hard to understand through her accent what had made her so angry. She grabbed the child and marched out. Jujubi and I looked at each other and wondered what we should do. Our friend wasn't available; she was working on the show. We walked around the backstage area until we found a member of the band's entourage. We said we were the babysitters who'd come for the hairstylist's child, and the hairstylist had taken him with her when she left. We hadn't been paid what we'd been promised for this gig (in fact, I doubt she even noticed us) - and I added that I'd been told I'd be reimbursed for the travel from Tacoma and parking.

The guy from the band had no idea who we we were and didn't care. Dealing with babysitters wasn't his "R." He shoved some money into Jujubi's hands and rudely invited us to watch the rest of the show, saying, "I don't know what you should do, go watch the show!"). Instead of flowing from one song into another, between each song the stage lights went down and everyone on stage changed positions. The audience stood up and shook their hands in time to the music in the same way for each song.

Afterwards, Jujubi and I went to the Last Exit on Brooklyn, a now-closed coffeehouse near the UW. The band guy had given us $20, which even we thought was generous for about 40 minutes of "babysitting" and less than two gallons of gas (when gas was less than $1.50/gallon). We spent it on tea and slices of the Last Exit's amazing apple pie with ice cream and caramel sauce, because it was free money: Someone gave us $20 for the privilege of watching a little kid cry for a short period followed by attending most of a concert we would not have considered attending otherwise. What a fun night, and so random.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember going to the Last Exit when I was in college. One of my most memorable visits was when I went with a friend-of-a-friend. It was a wierd situation because I had never hung out with this guy alone before and it seemed odd that suddenly this guy wanted to drive all the way from the eastside (bellevue) have coffee with me, just me.
We got to the Last Exit, had some really good espresso with plenty of whip cream. He tried to teach me chess in vain and we sat there talking about what we planned to do in the future the smoke-filled coffee shop. He didn't want to go back to school but didn't know what else to do. I was going to school because I didn't know what else to do,
Eventually, it got late and he drove me back to the Haggett Dorm at which point he decided to drive to the door. Literally. He drove his Honda hatchback onto the very skinny balcony that connected the sidewalk to the main entrance. I got out of the car to wave goodbye and he returned it with a large smile and a wave back then put the car into reverse almost running over some students back on the street and drove away.

And I never saw him again.