Many years ago, before my own daughter was even born, I taught the daughter of the Bugaboo family. (Name changed to protect the innocent.) At the start they seemed delightful enough. The father was a physician, the mother a (not-currently-working-but-staying-home-to-take-care-of-the-kids-with-a-full-time-nanny) nurse and they boastfully donated large sums of money to worthy causes. I was sure they were harmless.
This was a time when we had very little money, so sometimes it was difficult to watch my affluent students go on expensive vacations. Once, as the Bugaboos were leaving for (yet another trip to) Disneyland, I handed Mrs. Bugaboo a $10 bill and asked her to please bring something back for my son, Bryce, then age three.
"I know it won't buy much, but just a little something," I asked, visions of miniature Mr. Potato Heads dancing in my head.
"Certainly!" she responded.
I was a little excited for the next lesson, wondering what tiny treasure they might have brought back with them for my boy.
"I have something for you," Mrs. Bugaboo said as she walked in the door.
What could it be?
She dug deep into her purse.
"Here's the ten dollars," she said, handing me back my rumpled bill. "We were just WAY too busy to buy anything for him."
Their eight-year-old daughter, Olivia, had simple goals. Let me clarify that. She had a single goal. She wanted to play the theme from Titanic. I procured the easiest version I could find.
It was the one and only thing she ever learned. I taught it to her completely by rote. No matter what else I tried to teach her, all she wanted to do at every single lesson was play "The Titanic" over and over. I took to calling her "Titanic Girl" which was probably not kind but was definitely accurate.
The Bugaboos' full-time nanny, Mrs. Hirsch, had worked for them for many years. One day Mrs. Bugaboo arrived at the lesson and informed me that Mrs. Hirsch was very ill. In fact, Mrs. Hirsch had been in the hospital and was now recuperating with them at their house.
"They must really love Mrs. Hirsch," I thought.
Halfway through Olivia's lesson, (yes, on the dreaded you-know-what) Mrs. Bugaboo's cell phone rang. She jumped up and hurried into the next room. Instead of silencing the phone, she answered it in a blaring voice.
We stopped the lesson so as not to interrupt her - thinking this must be something important about Mrs. Hirsch.
"No, the appointment is on Wednesday. It has to be Wednesday. That is the only day that will work."
Goodness, this sounded serious.
Olivia and I waited patiently as Mrs. Bugaboo argued at length about the duration and date for the appointment. Finally, exasperated, Mrs. Bugaboo blurted out, "NO, it's NOT my massage appointment. It's for my FACIAL and CHEMICAL PEEL with Sergio!"
Sometimes the ship just sinks.