Monday, November 07, 2011

Come come, Mr. Bond...

We had a beautiful weather this weekend:  cool, sunny and dry.  It was "homecoming" weekend at Charlottesville High School, a concept I've never fully understood.  The novels I used to read as a teen made frequent references to homecoming queens, homecoming games and homecoming dances but my own school had no such event, nor did any of the other schools I knew of.  I thought that maybe Buffalo just doesn't do homecoming--sometimes it seems like Buffalo isn't really even a part of the United States, but the other day I asked my mother-in-law about it and she said that homecoming is a public school thing.  Even so, I don't remember hearing anything about it from the public school kids I knew. So it's funny to see my daughter staying after school to help decorate for homecoming and to deck herself out in black and orange for the big game (which they lost).  Saturday night we had a group of girls here getting ready for the dance--having a "date" for the dance is no longer a requirement.  Grace went with her girlfriends.  No long dresses, as of yore described in my teen novels.  One wears a short dress and outrageous shoes.  Cell phone stored discretely in one's bra, a la eighteenth century ladies, (or was it the Victorians) who I believed stored all sorts of useful items in their cleavage.

Since bullying is getting news coverage lately, I asked Grace what would happen if someone who was gay took a same sex date to the dance. She seemed surprised at the question and asked if I was referring to a gay teacher coming with his or her partner. I explained that I meant a gay student with a same sex date, and Grace told me that no one would think twice about it. Since she brought it up, I asked her if there would be a different response for a homosexual teacher and she referred to an openly gay teacher who brings her partner to school events. Again, not a big deal. I'm not saying this proves that no one in C'ville is ever bullied for his or her sexual orientation, but it's nice that same sex couples can at least appear at a school dance without bringing the entire community to a screeching halt, complete with hate speech and national news coverage.

Tomorrow is election day.  It's an off year, so just small local elections, but it's these seemingly less important elections that have the most impact on our daily lives.  A friend of mine, Jennifer McKeever is running for school board.  I know she will bring intelligence and dedication to the job.  There have been times in the past when I was so fired up about one issue or another that I attended most school board meetings and spoke at them.  I don't know how it is in other cities, but here school board members are highly accessible to the public.  Most of us know them, at least by sight.  You can call them at home, email them, address them at the meetings, and feel like you have some input in how the business of our schools is conducted.  Even if you don't have children in public schools, it's still important to vote for your local school board, since the education of the local community affects us all.

There's also the City Council election. Democrats and liberals dominate the political scene in Charlottesville, and since I have democratic and liberal beliefs, that's fine with me, but there's something about being surrounded by like-minded people that makes you hypersensitive to their flaws. Sometimes I am physically incapable of rolling my eyes hard enough at some of what I hear out of city council, although I can't think of any specific examples right now.

Last night I watched The Trip, which was recommended to me by a friend who has very discerning taste in movies. It's very funny, but not likely to have mass appeal. It's a sort of mockumentary in which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon--who are hilarious together-- play themselves on a foodie tour of the north of England and spend a lot of time doing impressions, sometimes saying the same line over and over for several minutes. I particularly enjoyed, "Come, come Mr. Bond, you enjoy killing as much as I do, " and "Gentlemen, to bed, for we leave at 9:30!" (ish) which they repeat in ever more sonorous tones with miniscule changes of inflection. The scenery is stunning and you get an interesting view of fancy food being prepared and presented in pretentious restaurants.


  1. I am heartened by your daughter's response to your question.
    And I really think Homecoming is kind of played up in fiction because my experience was nothing like what I'd read about in books either.

  2. We JUST watched The Trip a week or two ago - it was great fun, I thought!

  3. I had no school spirit in high school. Things like homecoming seemed to be popularity contests, and very unpleasant unless you were a cheerleader or football player.

    My daughter goes to a private school, so she won't have to deal with it. I wonder if she'll wish she did? :-)

  4. A friend just recommended The Trip - now you've made me excited to see it!

  5. I think that while Homecoming is something found across the U.S., it might be biggest in the south. I'm going to admit that I had loads of school spirit in high school and loved Homecoming week.

    I'm heartened to hear that the gay teacher brings her partner to school events, especially since I know of other teachers in town who do not feel that they can be quite so open. I'd love it if gay students felt so open too.

  6. You make "The Trip" sound good, I'll try and see it next week.

    We never had homecomings in the UK, and I don't think they have them here in NZ, but they do have Reunions (similar I think) and a lovely idea of a school anniversary, where all previous alumni gather to celebrate the school, not their particular class.