Tuesday, October 29, 2019

School Salad

I've only just heard of the Waldorf School, and if you've got a kid and loads of money, you probably already know about it. If you're rich and have a kid, your education choices are Montessori, private (day and boarding), and Waldorf. If there's another one for rich parents to send their kids to, I haven't heard of yet, having never had more money than Jeff Bezos leaves for a tip at lunch at a fancy bistro (I assume he tips; even the Devil tips, he assures me, so Bezos probably does too) (god, am I going to have to quit my Amazon habit someday? not right now, please, not yet) and also, never having had kids.

Today a toddler spoke to me several times in the library while I worked. They asked for paints and a paintboard first (a paintboard? canvas, I assume), then Legos, then to play with them on the color and shapes toy, then to help them move the giant checkers around. At all times I was seriously invested in these exchanges, which I showed by continually telling them they were doing a "Great job!" and "Look at you! Wow!" So there you go. Not even the cool Auntie. Just a nerd in the library thinking about the coffee she left upstairs which is now probably cold. Also, the kid's mom came over and I said, "I think she wants paints, but we don't have paints," to which I received a dirty look, and I felt bad about not having paints for toddlers, but belatedly I realized the kid was in a blue shirt and grey pants and black sneakers, so is probably a boy, and I wanted to go up to her and say, "Oh hey, I use she/her pronouns for everybody because The Imperial Radch Trilogy." I'm sure that would've got me an even dirtier look, because then I would've been just a crazy person, right? Like, maybe I don't even work at the library. Maybe I just walk around spouting gender-nonconformity stuff randomly, and what all this really means is: Example 2,185,467 of why I can't be trusted to interact with other humans in a way that doesn't make them back away slowly.

I don't, by the way. Use she/her for everybody. Official RS policy is: Whatever pronoun you want, babe. Let me know, and I will use it.

I wish the Waldorf school and the rest of these high price schools had been available to lower-middle-class RS as a child. I've often thought about how my life could have been different if I'd started out differently, with a different education. Don't get me wrong, I did well in school. National Honor Society, Gifted (I think they don't do that anymore? which is sad because I enjoyed the outlet and hanging out with other weirdos), that kind of thing. But I always wished for more art, more going at my own pace, more self-directed stuff.

There's an $80 recorder that those Waldorf parents have to buy. Like, in first grade. In first grade, my mom took us to the Salvation Army and made us help her look through the tables piled high with kids' gloves, to find matching pairs. My bell-bottom corduroys were floods. Why I continued to beg for a horse every single year for birthday and Christmas is beyond me; how blithely indifferent I was to our financial circumstances. Although, I honestly did think it would just eat grass, so it could've been less expensive than the dog.

Maybe if I had a time machine, I'd go back and send myself to one of those fancy schools. There's a lot of mistakes I've made, some regrets, but those might have been avoided if I'd had a different education. Am I saying I still would've slept with four guys at the same Olive Garden when I was 23 if I'd just had a Montessori background? Maybe it would've been six and one girl, and they would all have been at the same Textile Artists' Retreat in upstate New York, and I could've accomplished it all in one summer. That's a remarkable difference, and it deserves to be explored further.

Give your kids art if they want it. And for fucks sake, rich people, let poor kids go to the same school as your own. Make it available. Please.


  1. So basically, you' re an opinionated socialist then :-) But you're right, of course, as far as I know. It's always environment over genetics, as a society we are the people we can afford to bring up. I grew up in a wealthy time period and that was to my advantage. And people like you and me wouldn't have been who we are without public libraries. You should work in one, they are our heritage and our kingdom :-)

  2. Happy Birthday, A. A very belated but nonetheless heartfelt wish. You are beloved and admired.

    1. You break my heart in a good way :-) Knowing there is this. Still out there and still here for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.