I really like this picture to the left here, by the way. It's just cool. To learn more about how predatory fish want to find you at home while you're watching Wheel of Fortune or doing Sudoku and kill you and eat you with a side of dijonnaise, please click here.
Before I go any further, I also want to extend the warmest, fuzziest and most loving of greetings to VirginiaGal, on this the eve of her 30th birthday. (Since I'm pretty sure she'll read this on the 24th, maybe I should dispense with formality and just call it her birthday.)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VIRGINIA GAL!!
... as Honey says, being 3o is orgasmic! all. the. time. I wish you many, many arousing days from here on out! (see how she blushes!) Seriously: Blessings to you on this milestone. May you have scores more! ... and if on this day that those who love you want to celebrate you, you post about being 30 and single, and not the good fortune to have made it this far, I will go cry in my milk.
I grew up in west Texas. Anyone who's read more than two posts (or who reads and knows me off-line) has probably picked up on that. My experience on the East Coast has been that people tend to think Texans are illiterate morons. (Pardon the exaggeration of their perception of us. What can I say, we're prone to hyperbole.) And frankly the current dipshit in chief does everything to perpetuate and affirm that ugly stereotype. I always find it amusing that Texas gets totally dissed for anything it doesn't do in a progressive manner, when there are many other states - some not even in the South - which have their own backwardy ways, too. But that's for another post. Nonetheless there are definitely aspects to life in Texas that many of us who no longer live there - and those who still do - are either irritated by or downright pissed off about. The amount of children uninsured for one. But as I was having drinks with friends the other night - two others of whom spent their youth in Texas - I was struck by their memories of public education.
One woman grew up in and graduated high school from Amarillo. The young man lived in a suburb of Houston till he was 15. I spent my entire life pre-18 in the Panhandle then the southwest hunk of the state. Houston to Amarillo is a 12 hour drive on a good day, to where I lived it was 13 or 14 hrs. Amarillo to the desert southwest section is about 8 hours. For Sonnjea in CA or Joe in Vegas, you may know that's not a big deal, but if I have any readers on the East Coast, it indicates that people can have very different experiences all within the same geopolitical unit.
The young man from Houston said he remembered having to get permission slips/waivers signed from his parents before his school could teach him Sex Ed or evolution. My friend from Amarillo said her school would have never even broached either. But I remember the Sex Ed section of health class pretty well - it lasted at least 2 weeks - and while I don't remember a "section" or specific class lesson about evolution, I do remember in biology, we just kind of talked about it like a given. We evolved from apes; we're adapted to this or that, etc. We never had to have waivers for either concept.
I called my brother whose adolescence was split between the middle of nowhere southwest of the state and Houston. He remembers in the small town, all the 8th grade boys were coralled into the auditorium one afternoon and one of the town doctors explained sex. As for Sex Ed in Houston, he recalls a week in health class and no waivers. He remembers nothing of evolution in science class. He remembers nothing of science class. (We're more of a word family. We're happy with the Cs we worked hard for in math.) Additionally, a friend of mine from SwTX, now in Austin, recalled with me the day all the girls in HS were given a sex ed talk from a local nurse, complete with birth control options - and how we thought it grossly unjust the too-fertile boys didn't get the same treatment. Nonetheless, no waivers. But I, unlike her, have memories of people in the town we could go to for BC if we needed/wanted it. She remembers it being not available at all.
I guess I find all this curious for two reasons. Again, as much as popular as it is to lump all Texas experiences into the same basket, the communities really do vary region by region. The second reason is this: how much of memory is accurate?
Of the 5 people referenced (my brother, me, my Amarillo friend, my Houston friend and my small town friend), our time away from high school ranges from 9 to 17 years. I barely remembered anything I was taught in high school, aside from classes I liked. Most of my memories from those days are social. And, how much of our memory is affected by the image we want to retain? Does my friend want to remember no birth control options in our town? Does my other friend want to remember Amarillo as the constrictive-Bible belt city? Do I want to remember taking evolution as a given in high school Biology? I recently discovered that what I understood to be the reason I wasn't specifically taught Greek Mythology in Junior High was inaccurate. I'd picked up somewhere along the way that it was because a religious right-wing parent demanded my school stop teaching it. I learned a decade and a half later that wasn't the case. It was simply that I missed that section because in 7th grade (generally when it's taught in TX), I had moved before my prior school got to it, and after my new school had covered it.
How accurate is memory, then? Especially memory of events that really don't seem to matter that much now? High school biology class? Sex ed? I already knew what evolution was and my parents, though not as much help in the department of the mechanics of sex, were always there to talk with us about the emotional aspects. It seems memory would be far more accurate, or at least impactful, for the moments that mattered: picking a name for my baby brother, when we had to put our dog to sleep, the mean teacher who gave me detention for something that wasn't my fault.
... something I do presume, though, is that in this country that is becoming more and more politicized, waivers may be becoming the norm in many parts of the state. But I wouldn't be surprised if they're becoming the norm in many states, period.
(You all know what a period is, right? I'm presuming you took some form of Sex Ed?)