sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

May 29, 2012

Bay Area Birthday Circuit Report

Filed under: Bay Area politics, parenting, society — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:41 pm

Blogging has been sporadic lately, due, in part, to the weekly Birthday festivities my daughter is invited to attend.   I chaperone her and pretend to be bashful beyond belief.

There is always something at those parties — or somebody, like the lesbian part-time Christian minister who, according to her online bio (I looked it up), lives with her “spouse” and two adopted boys.  From what I gather, her main job is teaching sex ed in a public high school where last year several students got pregnant.  Not sure what it is exactly that she believes in; I suspect she just wants to stick it to the church.  As DH said, at least Dan Savage is straight about his goals.

These days the Birthday party circuit buzz is about elementary schools where this coming August our children will be institutionalized for the next seven years.  When asked, I usually say that while I’m not particularly impressed by American schools, I’m not yet worried because I don’t think the quality of scholarship matters that much for a kindergartener.  I leave it at that.  I suspect other mothers think I’m a Russian bitch… and they don’t know the half of it.

Last weekend, one party mother was introduced to a PTA president of her neighborhood elementary school.  The president, a pleasant enough blond with puffy hair, talked up the school and PTA.  The mother, a forty-something lady with bright auburn hair and a flying anatomical heart tattoo spread over her breasts, duly asked: “Are there any crazy people at the PTA?”  I’m not trying to suggest that a middle age woman with a partially abstracted by clothing tattoo is crazy, rather that her body art is crazy derivative.  Even if this lady was the first one to get that type of picture inked a decade or two ago, in 2012 it looks expected.  That’s the problem with tattoos.

Anywho, the blond went on to defend her neighbor in a pleasant enough voice: “Well, no.  The woman who stepped up to be my co-president this year is a bit conservative.  But, as I like to say, she has a big heart.  She is a really nice woman, although from time to time she sends me invitations to prayer groups.  I ignore them.”  Too bad the lesbian minister wasn’t within earshot.

Can you imagine?  What if the puffy-haired blond would say something like: “Yes, she is Jewish, but the good kind, she’s a long time member of Jews for Justice in Palestine and is currently working on Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement.”  Being the wrong kind of Jew (I’m still proud of being reportedly called a Zionist bitch a decade ago), I can imagine people saying things of that nature.  I suspect I can be filed under “heartless capitalist”, too, because, for one, I don’t wear my heart on my chest, but, more importantly, I don’t see myself doing any fundraising for the school my daughter is going to attend given how our school district is third most expensive in the Bay Area, while certainly not the third best, and our town is not the third wealthiest.

When I was leaving, the ladies were chirping away about community being the most important thing about the school.  When I hear them talk about “community” (or, better yet, “diverse student body”) I know the school doesn’t offer much academically.  Oh well.  Aging hipsters get to stick together while pissing away the inheritance.

I first heard about Bay Area PTAs about 10 years ago.  A couple with a school-age daughter said that they were members, and that the PTA is fine, and the school is fine.  They said, smirking approvingly, that they listed their daughter’s religion as pagan, and asked for Halloweens off as a major religious holiday.  The daughter, however, likes going to school on Halloween.

Which reminds me.  We went out for dinner tonight, and got to eavesdrop on the table next to ours.  Four yentas were talking religion.  One of them declared that she’s no longer religious, although her grandmother in China is “hella Catholic”.  A few minutes later she was declaring: “He’s a Taurus like me!”  I suppose that doesn’t make her religious because the zodiac doesn’t rise above crude superstition, but she clearly wants to believe in something.



  1. “I suspect other mothers think I’m a Russian bitch… and they don’t know the half of it.”


    That PTA lady better not ever consider a move to flyover country. Way too many prayer group invitations in these parts.


    Comment by nooneofanyimport — May 29, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  2. Ah yes the “spiritual but not religious” types.

    Comment by Infidel de Manahatta — May 30, 2012 @ 7:29 am

  3. Reading posts like this makes me think how messed up things are around here. They want a diverse community… ha unless that means real diversity.

    Comment by Harrison — May 30, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    • It never occurred to them that maybe there is a person in their midst who doesn’t think like them.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — May 30, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

      • Oh I’m sure in their little Liberal circlejerks they would be APPALLED if they knew someone thought differently.

        But because you’re in the minority you have to keep quiet like at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 70s remake).

        Comment by Harrison — June 2, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  4. I was doing a favor to one of the local schools by being a “citizen panel member” on some presentations the kids were doing. At one point, I admitted to being “just a good old Ohio Redneck,” to two of the teachers, and one of them quickly fled the room and never came back. Maybe it was coincidence…

    Yet, in the end, I was the one who took the time out of my schedule to be there for no viable reason other than to help children interact with adults. Is it that that bothers teachers so much?

    Revel in your Russian craziness, my bloggin friend.

    Comment by Jim Fister — May 30, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    • I try to keep my mouth shut, unless I can justify it on some sort of ethnic grounds. If I try to tell parents and teachers that what they are trying to do is ridiculous and will never work, I will get called all sorts of words, but, on the other hand, if I tell them that it’s not how we do it in Russia — well, that’s a different story… Multiculturalism.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — May 30, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  5. ‘The mother, a forty-something lady with bright auburn hair and a flying anatomical heart tattoo spread over her breasts, duly asked: “Are there any crazy people at the PTA?”’

    Hahahaaaaaaaa. It’s like a Tom Wolfe novel.

    Nice call.

    Comment by KingShamus — May 30, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    • Tom Wolfe is so great because his writing is so true to life.
      I think I need to subtitle my blog “My life is a Tom Wolfe novel”.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — May 30, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

      • I think you need to write a book about this.


        Comment by Harrison — June 2, 2012 @ 8:26 am

  6. This has to be one of your best posts.So, after kindergarten will it be home schooling or private schooling?

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — May 30, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    • I don’t know. I can’t see myself homeschooling. We are trying to get into a public kindergarten that’s in our school district, but not in our neighborhood. We’ll see how it goes.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — May 30, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

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