Thursday, November 13, 2003

Life in New York

I usually get a chance in the morning, while Ian naps, to get in a quick post. Today, we all went on a tour of PS 187 instead.

A large group of nervous, middle class parents were led around the school. Here's what they were thinking, Can I send my child to this school? Will my child be the only white kid in his class? Will my child end up with a tatoo selling drugs on the corner if he goes to this school? Will he ever go to college? Is there any way that I can afford to move to the suburbs? Should I put my kid on a 40 minute subway ride every day to get to the good public schools? How many of these other parents are going to send their kids here? See, it's really a prisoners' dilemna. If everyone send their kids, then the school will improve. If only you send your kid to the school, then your kid is in big trouble.

The school looked adequate to me. Sure, there were 31 kids in the third grade class, but who can worry about 3rd grade? The kindergarten looked normal. We're going there.

Then I had 1/2 an hour to vacuum, clean the bathroom sink, wash the dirty dishes, and pick up toys, because my friend, Margie, was coming in from Long Island.

99% of the time I go about my daily business of living in New York City without thinking too much of it. But during those rare visits from friends in the suburbs, I realize that I am living out of a different century.

They never say anything, but their horror is obvious. What no driveway? What's alternative side of the street parking? I have to park my car in a garage three blocks away? Then put all the stuff in the stroller? Then, carry it all up a flight of stairs into the lobby of your building? After stashing the stroller, the kids and the stuff have to be carried up four flights? You have to wash dishes by hand? How does a drying rack work? What's all that noise outside?

It's a good thing I read all those turn of the century, New York City novels when I was a kid, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and All-of-a-kind Family. Life hasn't changed that much.

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