unsulpherized dried apricots

21 Jul

Excuse me?!”

That was me, uncharacteristically thrown off kilter, responding to what I was fairly certain I’d just heard – a woman I didn’t even know essentially tell me that I was a bad parent.  OMG, I had heard her right; she instantly repeated without the slightest hesitation,

“You can’t do that!  Taking your child out of school for that long is truancy.”

Frequently the San Francisco parents I dealt with said ridiculous things, but this was the first comment ever aimed directly at me.  Though I basically couldn’t stand any of these people, had nothing but a deep-seated yet somehow playful loathing of their self-righteous asses,  I rarely absorbed that disdain down beyond my outer personal armor.  But this oddly slack-jawed, soggy-eyed lady was really irking me.  Her proclamation was uttered with a very special sort of condescension, one that invokes not a patronizing tone, but a casual one, implying that she is above general mores of social interaction, and therefore allowed to make rude, condemning statements to whomever she wanted as casually as if she were commenting on the weather.

I “can’t” do that, she says?  As if this horrid woman would know anything about the public school district’s rules. Her little A.D.D. princess went to Adda Clevinger Junior Preparatory and Theater School for Children, which we at work referred to as the Stage Mom School for Vicariously-Living Parents.  I vaguely suspected that if I’d told her my 1st Grader had missed a month of school to tour Europe, or perhaps go skiing in Tahoe, instead of backpacking across South East Asia, I would’ve been roundly supported.  But since this wasn’t the case, it was her duty to inform me I was quite remiss – breaking the law even – all in a breathy, disinterested voice that seemed to be stifling a yawn.  She was already disengaging from the conversation by the time she’d repeated herself, however, so I let it go.  Her little irritation stayed with me the rest of the day, though, like an inaccessible rock in my shoe, long after she and the A.D.D. princess had gotten their wheat grass juice at the organic market next door and headed back to the Marina.

So, no, spending nearly 10 years in the line of fire of tangibly assertive, downward-dog-posin’, Whole Foods-shoppin’ pseudo-lefty parents has not left me bitter and disgruntled.

Cuz hey, I kinda like yoga.  And I’d love to do more environmentally and politically sensitive food shopping. I embrace progressive politics and ideals.  So why do I friggin hate these people?  For all I know, I project the same sort of unbearably haughty confidence that comes from knowing you’re Doing the Right Things as I stride brusquely down the street in my Dansko clogs, sipping my Not-From-Starbucks cappuccino and listening to a This American Life podcast thru tiny earbuds.  I’m not all that different, surely.

I guess I just like to think I’m still with The Force.

The Dark Side of a socially-conscious and empowered population?  That there has emerged a sub-strata of people who have somehow distilled the greater progressive movements toward addressing the  world’s most pressing concerns – the right to decent food, shelter, health care, education, safety and justice –  down to a petty, narcissistic list of personal  demands.  People that have hijacked the basic tenets of  human rights to use in justifying their insistence of getting what they want all the time.  “I have the right to a double-soy-latte-extra-hot in under three minutes!”  “I can’t believe it, they don’t carry unsulpherized dried apricots here? That’s outrageous!”  “My son and his best friend have to be on the same soccer team, they have a right to play together!”  Ugh.  San Francisco, home to one of the most highly educated and politically liberal demographics in the country, is also chock full of ignorant, self-important ass-wipes with some seriously misguided priorities.  And guess what; the two groups are not at all mutually exclusive; in most instances, they are one and the same.

There will certainly never be a shortage of assholes anywhere, but the particular breed detailed above hasn’t come about organically, as part of nature’s standard formula of 1-Asshole-to-Every-3-Bearable-People or whatever it is.  This breed of asshole has created itself intentionally, through a series of self-conscious life choices, and what disturbs me most about it is the bastards are spawning a second generation.  They’re passing their sense of Entitlement on to their otherwise innocent children,  handing it down like a beloved family heirloom or a genetic propensity to freckle.

Hopefully my son’ll kick a few of their kids’ asses and help stop that shit it its tracks,  a little Natural Selection in action.  Then I’ll take him out of school so we can go on a trip.

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3 Responses to “unsulpherized dried apricots”

  1. Jen July 22, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Ah, you should meet the family at our preschool that left a box of “special cookies” for their daughter to “enjoy” when the rest of the kids got birthday cupcakes or treats. They were teething biscuits. For a four year old.

  2. Rachie :) July 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    hear hear! Here’s to the hope that those of us who keep the force alive will also succeed in passing along a healthy sense of skepticism, humility, and kick-assness to the generation that follows us. I think its clear that you are on the right track with Calvin. And you know I got only a pepper grains worth of tolerance for the Noe Valley mom squad and their unfortunate offspring.

  3. Lori September 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Hey Disgruntler! Here in NYC there is a parallel universe on the Upper West Side where I work as the director of a private preschool. Oh the stories we could share. I really laughed a lot at your Women of a Certain Age as well.

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