back to our regular programming

Sort of. It is Halloweek, after all, and I'm in the middle of a fury of baking, etc for kids in the neighborhood and school. That's all right. It's fun. Sort of.

Mile Hi con was fun. I ran into friends and caught up, heard loads about vampires via
Mario and Jeanne, and about culture and religion via Carol. Buy all their books, would you? They're all fab folks and write fun reads. It's a little intimidating, exhilerating, and a lot humbling to eat lunch in the company of so many fine writers, many of whom are not listed here. From early sales to NYT best-sellers, and with me in the company representing no books sold, we ran the gamut of career stages.

Did we talk writing or craft or any of that crap? No. Mario mostly talked about my diamond ring (it is spectacular) and he suggested I start posting pics of my body parts here on the blog--everything but the face. That Mario...

Jeanne bought me a drink, so now we have an excuse to get together again at some point and I can buy her a drink. She is just so nice.

We talked a lot of history.

But what I'm really thinking about lately are problems and differing opinions on what constitutes one. I've been thinking a lot about the adage: I wish I had problems like that.

Well, I do have problems like that. I'm one of the golden children, the priviledged. My children are happy and healthy and smart and beautiful. My husband is hot and he loves me (even though I think annoyance may be edging in on that lately because I've been gone so much). I have homes that are wonderful by any standard. I am happy. Not always content, because in contentment the seeds of despair take root, but I'm happy.

90% of my neighbors have the exact same life, with some variation.

However, to hear them talk, you'd think death was knocking on the door every other day. For instance, we've had a bit of an "issue" at the other school in town. Yeah--the other school. And yeah, there's competition. It's ridiculous, don't even make me go there. Apparently, there was some sexual activity among some third-graders. I don't know details, but I understand it was more than just playing show-you-show-me. One kid transferred over to our school to escape the stigma. Apparently someone has made it known the kid is here. Some anonymous email went out, naming names. No, I didn't get the email. I'm not in the in crowd.

And the parents are going fucking nuts. They're in the office, making appointments with the principal (mostly parents with kids in other grades, apparently). No one's satisfied. The principal is "pacifying" them without really doing anything. (I'm no big fan of my principal but I believe she's said all the right things within a framework of confidentiality--the kid is watched, the kid is in counseling, the parents are working closely with the school.) Talk is all over the schoolyard and I actually had some stranger walk up to me and talk to me in Target about this issue. That's how I learned about it. Just approached me, somehow knew I had a kid in that grade, and started dumping all this shit on me, somewhat-but-not-overtly blaming the child who was transferred.

I was with another mommy at the time, who is one of my favorite friends. She's one of those people who is genuinely nice but does admirably works at minding what she says. We talked a little bit about it and finally she said, "They're children. They're eight years old. They're all victims." I was relieved because my first instinct was to feel sorry for the kids. Obviously, some things have gone down in these kids' lives and as a community, maybe we want to think about how we can support them rather than fear they might contaminate our "precious" lives. That's been my catch-phrase when someone starts talking to me about it--which has been about every day at school whenever someone gets ahold of me. The parents have found what they percieve to be a "real" problem and have latched onto it like so many suckling piglets at a sow. To be clear, I do have a legitimate reason for stopping the talk. I really don't want my 8 or 5 year old coming to me and asking me about it.

I really can't stand it. I really loathe people who bitch when they really have nothing to bitch about. I really have almost written off this one mother...which maybe isn't her fault because I actually don't like that many people.

But before I fly off the handle from being annoyed, I need something to STOP the talk around me. I could be offensive, but I do have to live with these folks. "I don't discuss things like that" sounds a bit agressive and kind of weird. I could just change the subject, but I find that sort of backdoor maneuver rude. Or perhaps I could say, "This doesn't really seem like the time or place with so many kids around." Except there aren't always kids around.

I need a direct, yet inoffensive approach.

Any suggestions?

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