Monday, May 17, 2010
I take in the scene and mumble under my breath. “Well, look at us now.”
We are standing in the middle of a 14-acres campus. There is an arch from nowhere to nowhere, bedecked with vines and sunflowers – all of them real and grown on the property. Plastic bottles have been cut into flowers and strung above the field. The play structures are adorned with colored ribbons; there is a maypole in the center, it's extended streamers of red, gold and green braided at the ends and awaiting small hands to dance with them around and around. People stand at tables making wreaths of cut flowers, selling all-natural popsicles for four tickets each. Most of them are wearing flowing, layered clothing and strappy sandals or no shoes at all. They give off a feeling vaguely reminiscent of a Renaissance Faire, only this is their everyday attire. Here and there a hand-painted sign is tacked up that reads something like “Kindness” or “Equality.”
Have we cracked up completely? If US Airways didn't still owe us to the tune of another $800, I swear I'd race to the nearest airport and fly east until I was safely over territory in which the people drop their r's from the ends of words adding them inexplicably to the ends of other words, where any idiot knows what it means to order a coffee - regulah - where sarcasm and snarky humor would take this scene, chew it up, and spit it out right along with their Coke: through the nose. I would para-freaking-chute down into that world, the one that's perfected the “Don't even think of talking to me” look and walk and forget this every happened.
Are we seriously considering sending our son to this freak hippie school?
Meanwhile, Isaac, notoriously reticent in new environments, skips ahead of us, watching uninhibited while eight-year-olds make enormous bubbles; the child even speaks to one of the teachers of his own volition. There are goats; there are trees to climb; he wants to surf the see-saw again.
It's pretty much on my list of goals in life: up there with my vow never to rent a bounce house for my son's birthday and to release all bowel movements into a functioning toilet. Though before today I gave it only peripheral attention, my list of goals includes never to be associated with any event or organization at which a maypole dance is danced around an actual maypole.
They've worn me down. It's been almost 13 years. Thirteen years out of 40. I'm no math genius, but that's more than a quarter of my life, over fifty percent of my adult years, living in California.
I think about getting Isaac registered here just for the endless writing fodder it'd provide me. I'd be a spy for the other side. But what is the other side? I thought that motherhood was the dawn of my identity crisis, but silly me, it'd happened years before that, when my life officially began as someone forever more bicoastal.
Someone hands me a petition for farmers to be able to grow hemp. I am light-headed from the smell of redwood; I am starting to cozy up to the idea of a patchwork prairie skirt, or growing my hair to my waist. They are dancing the maypole now, the colors are spinning. This must be how they do it. I thought it was hemp, but maybe I just signed my soul over to their cult. People are singing; Isaac wants to see the turtles again; the crystals are so shiny in the sun...