Grandparents Day (Part 4)

December 1, 2009


After our visit to Random Granddaughter’s kindergarten class and observation of her performance as a cow in the bowdlerized dramatization of “The Gingerbread Boy,” we joined the mommies and RG for dinner at their house. After a very weary RG had gone to bed, we learned a little more of the back story of her attachment to BIP (Bad influence Peer).

As the private school has a preschool, fourteen of the sixteen children in the class were peers in preschool and already knew each other and had already formed social bonds before kindergarten began.

Who knows how friendships and bonds form at the age of five? Perhaps there was some initial chemistry between RG and BIP on the first days of kindergarten. However, as two children who found themselves as the outsiders in an already existing social group, there were powerful forces pushing the little girls toward forming a friendship.

The other interesting part of the equation is that BIP is the daughter of a billionaire. Her daddy’s name does not start with Bill or Paul or Warren, but he is someone who is probably on a first name basis with those people. Pictures indicate that her mother is quite beautiful. Other information indicates that she is a younger second wife and a former ambassador.

In any case, the mommies regard RG’s close attachment to BIP with some misgivings, and have been trying to get RG to extend her social horizons. Other children from her kindergarten class have been invited over to the mommies’ house for “playdates.”

This reminds me a bit of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I hope everyone will forgive the presumption of my saying so.

Yesterday, I didn’t bring a lunch to work, though I usually do so. At certain times, my department gets very noisy, and I find it difficult to work and counter-productive to complain. I decided to go out for a late lunch. As I walked down the steps which lead across a “protected” stream and then to a shopping center, a fellow employee (but not in my department and not someone I know) was sitting on the steps, smoking a cigarette.

I don’t smoke, but I felt cordial, so I said in a friendly way, “Smokers have become outcasts in today’s society.”

Vicky (or so her name ironically turned out to be) replied in a friendly and cheerful way, “Everybody else is sitting inside, while I am sitting outside, enjoying the fresh air.”

We fell into amiable conversation, and I ended up telling her about meeting the paralyzed person glad that he was not brain-damaged and the brain-damaged woman a couple of days later. Vicky in turn told me a story:

 

“I once worked in a restaurant. Another person, brain-damaged, worked as a dishwasher. I learned his story. At one time, he had been a very brilliant man. However, his wife hated him. She hired a contract killer to shoot her husband. The killer’s shot  to the head did not kill him, but he had lost most of his intelligence and now could only work at a menial job such as a dishwasher, and even there, the owner of the restaurant made allowances so he could keep his job.

“However, once in a while, only for a few moments, a few flashes of his old brilliance would emerge and for a few moments he would speak with great intelligence and insight on some topic. Then he would slip back into his usual state as a person who only functioned at a very low level.

“After that experience,” Vicky concluded, “I learned to be very appreciative of what I have.”