After Yoga on Sunday, I went to Essene (the local health food market that I usually call Obscene
because it is so expensive. I went because they have an organic prepared food bar where you can eat lunch and also get a good dose of East-Bay-slash-Co-Op nostalgia due to the combination of aromas: cumin, coffee, and Seventh Generation cleaning products. Usually I try to eat and hit the road to get on to my next thing, but this time I took the newspaper and just sat and read it for a while.
I almost never seem to allow myself this pleasure. If we got the newspaper at home regularly, I'd never read it because I'd look for a spot to sit down and spread it out, and then wind up cleaning up the dining room table which would lead to emptying the dishwasher* and doing the laundry and then I'd forget what I started doing, which was trying to RELAX.
Anyway, I was at Essene reading the Weekly or the City Paper, and I gravitated away from articles about the midterm elections and towards the article about rich kids on drugs. The article talked about how Bucks County kids (the ones who are typically richer and more suburban that Philadelphia County kids) are coming down to "the badlands" of North Philly to score horse
It seems that these kids feel that HEROIN is ok to do, and even carries great status-elevating power, because now that the Colombians are in charge it comes so strong you can just snort it instead of shooting it up. So now, just like cocaine was in the 80s, it's sort of a faddish designer drug among rich high school kids. Oh, except it kills you dead faster and much more often.
This got me all depressed because one of my favorite activities is to think about how my future children will become screwed up either by me or by the world we live in.
Once I had a conversation with Anna about where we would send our kids to school. I remember her saying that she'd just suck it up and send her kids to private school because she wanted them to be safe and not distracted by violence and crappy inner-city issues. I remember thinking that I would send my kids to public school, but not for the reasons you are all thinking. I am no martyr, and if a public school is no good, I certainly wouldn't send my child on principle (even though I believe in public schools in general and think we should not abandon them even if we can afford to pay).
The real reason I would send my kids to public school is that I'm afraid of rich kids. Rick kids can get in a lot of trouble, and rich bored suburban kids even more so. I almost went to private school for high school, because it was close and appealing to my parents. Instead I went to school with Megan at Van Nuys Math/Science Magnet, and became an honorary Asian person for awhile.
Our school was big and full of non-native speakers of English. There were two kinds - those in the magnet, who were typically raised by parents who valued good grades above all else and transferred their values to their kids, and the other kind whose parents were probably trying to make ends meet and who plodded along in ESL and then maybe joined the army. I didn't figure into either category particularly well, but was mostly in the former.
I basically hated high school. I felt it was alienating and weird and was a recipe for poorly socializing nerds and ambitious pre-meds. I had no school spirit to speak of and never went to football games or dances. We had our little group of friends and that was gonna have to be enough.
But all in all, I am not sure I would have chosen to go to private school with people who were "more like me." In this case, "more like me" means people who lived in my neighborhood on the westside, were white and the grandchildren of immigrants rather than immigrants themselves, whose parents could afford to pay for private school.
I was scared of those kids. Ever since I saw a 60 minutes episode about how the relative rich public school in the Palisades (Pali High) was overrun by drug addicts. I knew people who went to Crossroads, which was a sort of hippy-dippy touchy-feely school that was a favorite among kids of celebrities, and they were SCREWED UP people, in general - many of them alcoholics or addicts.
So I guess what I'm getting at is, what's a person to do with one's future unborn children? Everywhere has the potential to screw them up! New York is too racy, the midwest is dangerous because they will grow up smokers and have sex early, L.A. is too sprawling and weird and they will probably be in a car crash. If my kids are ugly and unstylish, they'll be unhappy. If they're pretty and popular, they'll get pregnant early or wind up among the secretly-bad-that-no-one-knew-how-bad-until-it-was-too-late.
Should I hope my kids come out total nerds with no friends so no one will corrupt them? No, right? I agree that exploring this is ludicrous at this point, but please humor me and comment.
* Actually, I don't empty. I just fill. I fill and T.J. empties. We figured that I was better at the slow-drip tasks, and he was better at defined, periodic tasks.