My former landlady hired me to help her son on the computer. I didn't want to do it, but I have trouble saying no, plus she offered me a good rate for it, so I finally agreed. Evidently, her 31-year-old son is a collector of expensive sneakers - $1,000 to $4000 pairs of shoes. Not to wear, even, but to store in his closet as collector's items that he hopes will increase in value over the years. (Talk to my sister about how that worked out with her Beanie Baby collection.) And since he doesn't know how to use a computer, he needs someone to go on eBay to help him buy his shoes.
An hour before our first appointment, she cancelled because her son "wasn't ready." Okay, fine. She wanted to reschedule the next appointment to be before 6 in the morning this past weekend, and before I could find a polite way to tell her to shove it, she promised to pay more, and I accepted.
I show up, and the kid - he's older than me, but still very much a kid - still isn't ready. Instead, I sit with his mother in the kitchen while she bitches about how worthless he is. Here's the gist: he has no education, no friends, no driver's license, no work experience ever, no real ambitions, and has never moved out of the house. So how, then, does he afford the sneakers? Mommy pays for them. "Maybe I spoil him," she said. You think? Maybe he does nothing with his life because he's never had to? Plus gets treated to pointlessly expensive sneakers for being a lazy lump?
After nearly an hour, I'm still just sitting and waiting, and his mother goes to buy me breakfast as a nice gesture. It was from McDonald's. I've never had McDonald's for breakfast before, and given how it resulted in almost instantaneous diarrhea, I can't say that I ever would eat it again. As I pick at the food, the son is finally ready. It takes me all of five minutes to click on "buy instantly" to purchase a $1000+ pair of sneakers, and then we're done. I ask him what other pairs he wants to look at, and he says he needs a break. A break from what? Spending his mom's money?
I go back to the kitchen where his mom chats me up again. She says his one real ambition is to go to a special school to learn how to be a certified Mercedes mechanic. That's a very technical, skills-based job for someone who can't work a computer. It turns out that his real passion is to own a Mercedes. (Again, he can't even drive.) He apparently throws tantrums at his mom for not buying him this expensive car because once he has one he can learn how they work, he claims.
But that's when things get really interesting. My landlady says she wants to hire me on a regular basis to tutor him. Tutor him at the computer? I ask. "Teach him how to be a real man," she says. I nearly laugh, because I don't know that I even consider myself to be a real man, how am I going to tutor someone to do that? "Show him how to make friends and get a job." It's clear that what she's asking me to be is her son's life coach, which is absurd. I could probably use a life coach of my own, there's no way I'm qualified to get this man-child into working order. I swear, only in comparison to this guy does it seem like I have my shit together.
Finally, the son, who is close enough to hear everything his mom is telling me, announces that it's time to send me home. "I thought we were buying more sneakers?" I ask. "I don't want to do it today," he says. "We'll reschedule for you to come back another time." He is so lazy that he can't even agree to sit down for another hour to buy $10,000 worth of shoes (that was the amount his mom said I was permitted to spend) he wants with his mom's credit card. I indicate that I might not be available in the future, and he says, "We'll pay you more than, you'll come back, it's cool." This leads to a fight with his mom. "You're wasting his time and my money! I do this to make you happy! You say, 'Mommy, I need someone to buy me sneakers' and then I hire someone nice, and you send him away! What am I supposed to do?" I accept my money for my 2 hours of service (which amounted to five minutes of actual work, and much longer than that of listening to their family drama and having to eat a McDonald's breakfast, which, in fairness, were much harder tasks) and exit as they continue to bicker.
I just wonder - if he doesn't know how to use a computer, what is he wasting all of his time doing, then? When I have time to kill, I futz on the internet, so what the hell is he doing? At least I can safely blog this story without fear of him discovering it.
In the meantime, I'm going to have to learn how to say "No" really fast before the landlady poses the life coach question again. That guy is a hopeless case who could sooner benefit from euthanasia. If anything, I should be the one hiring him. Even when I think my life is going nowhere, it's a real self-esteem boost to see someone like him and be like, "Well, at least I've got a lot more going on than him."