Lessons can be learned at festivals 1

In exchange for a free ticket to Earthdance and some spending money, I met up with some hill-folk to watch their kids. I had worked for these people a couple of times and thought they were pretty cool. And their kids are adorable, so why not. We agreed that I would watch both children, a toddler and an infant, intermittently at the festival including “at least one night” and I would be leaving relatively early Sunday to avoid being a zombie at work Monday morning. Good and good. See ya there.

Right away on Friday night the parents went out while I put the 3 year-old to bed in their 1960’s cold, dark and musty converted school bus. Because the baby was sick, and would scream bloody murder when her mom put her down for even the slightest second, they took her with them. Thank goodness! Because obviously I was not expected to take care of a sick infant at a festival, right? That’s just absurd.

Saturday morning started bright and early when the 3 year-old woke me. We went on a 10-hour adventure through festival land, scoping out the entire area. We hula-hooped, painted our faces, ate raw, gluten-free food, and painted a picture for her parents.  That evening, while draped across my chest sleeping and smudging her face paint on me, I passed her back over to her parents. With my sentence fulfilled, I was free to find friends, frolic, and dance the night away.

Fast forward to 5 am when I finally returned to my tent. The hippie mom approached my tent to tell me that they had waited “well over 6 hours” for me to return to watch the kids so they could go out. What?! Apparently she waited up for me. I don’t think my own mother ever waited up for me. I was tired. I didn’t want to argue about it. So, I apologized and went to sleep. Sunday morning I woke up with my feet in a puddle. Great. Then remembered that I had to face the stoners and their rendition of the conditions under which I accompanied them. Awesome.

I took my time cleaning up the inside of my tent, silently stewing about being berated a few hours earlier. I could hear them moving about in and around their bus. Reluctantly I emerged from my tent and there they were, just standing around waiting. As the conversation progressed, I realized that they probably said one thing to get me to agree to babysit, but totally expected more.  They believed that we had agreed on me babysitting all 3 nights, especially Saturday night since that’s when the festival was “popping”. Also, they expected me to follow them around and play with the toddler when ever she wanted. Sheisty.

This is NOT the conversation I remember! I would not have agreed to all nights, first of all. What’s the point in going if I can’t hang out at least one night? Besides, I already told them I would be leaving Sunday. They must have forgotten. I wouldn’t have forgotten something like that, but then again, I do not smoke weed 24 hours a day.

I was done with these people. I handed back the extra spending money (minus what I spent on the kid), agreed to disagree, packed up my wet tent, and learned a valuable lesson. Do NOT babysit at a festival!! Or at least set some clear expectations on both sides. And maybe write them down, if one party has poor short-term memory.

I did the math later on when I got home. For $10 and hour, AT A FESTIVAL IN THE RAIN, they got an awesome babysitter. I’ve worked with kids for a long-ass time and nannied in New York City. A quality babysitter while traveling is worth so much more than a measly $10 an hour. Especially at a dirty, wet, crowded festival. Who knows what could have happened to the kid if she got lost!

Ok, ranting over. Sorry!

In what little time I had to spend with friends enjoying the music, food and people watching, I did have a great time. I dressed up, wore many of my festie shades, and bought a new pair that light up! A cute boy chased me across the field to ask me if I wanted to smoke some hash with him and dance. Ehhhh, not my bag, but it was cute none-the-less. Oh, I also found Green Man at the port-a-potties and got a picture with him. Fun times. Here’s a couple of pictures!

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