My Maine Space | August 27, 2014

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With a heat wave comes the dancing flowers, smiling happily as they drink their potion.

By the way, these flowers were a solid foot taller than I am.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Book 8+9 | Impressions

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I don’t have all too much to say about these past two Books, but I wanted to post my thoughts before I begin reading Book 10, the longest Book in the novel.

Book 8 consisted solely of the trial of Esmeralda but ended with the iconic scene in which Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda from her execution. This was the scene of primary interest for me. Hugo paints Quasimodo in this ending to be the representation of God. You can tell from all the descriptions of him; he is “like a raindrop rolling down a pane of glass,” (p. 344) which is a classic biblical archetype from Genesis representing rebirth and new life. He has a “thundering” voice, “which was heard so rarely,” (346) which is an apparent parallel to God. He inspires awe from the crowd, who “regrett[ed] that he had so quickly withdrawn himself from their acclamations.” (345) He is the protector of Notre Dame, where “all human justice expires.” (345), and then Hugo makes the image inescapable from the readers’ eye when “all that royal strength” used to entrap Esmeralda is “broken with God’s strength” (345) by Quasimodo. God will protect, God will save the innocent, God will use his superhuman strength, God will inspire awe from the peoples, and God will be mysterious, and God will remain above earthly law. It’s an unavoidable illustration that Hugo has drawn for us.

This idea, which so captured my attention at the end of Book 8, continues through Book 9 as Quasimodo watches over Esmeralda in Notre Dame. However, here it is not so obvious. In fact, the image may have completely been cast away at this point, but the idea stuck with me. So, I tried to discern Hugo’s opinion of God from his descriptions of Quasimodo. Hugo’s God is a human one, I believe. Yes, he possesses all the qualities that the Christian church teaches, such as omnipotence and mercy. This is demonstrated obviously through Quasimodo’s inherent strength as well as his desire to please. He gives Esmeralda his own meals and bed; his voice is “so raucous yet so gentle.” However, Hugo’s God feels things like a human does. He feels acute loneliness, but that same melancholy and sorrow “reconcile…his ugliness” (363) for the world. It is his pain that makes him merciful, and so it is beautiful. He is deaf and partially blind to the world but still understands how it works at its most fundamental. The world has abandoned and forgotten Quasimodo, just as people forget and abandon the scripture, its teachings, and their morals everyday.

Perhaps some of you will think I’m stretching here, looking for connections where there aren’t, but to me this comparison is perfectly evident. As I go on to read Book 10, I will be eager to explore this theory more.

Mt. Katahdin | Millinocket, ME | Bucket List Item #22

Mt. Katahdin is famous for many reasons. It’s the end of the Appalachian Trail (AT); it’s the tallest mountain in Maine, scaling a mile above sea level; and it’s home to countless misadventures and even many deaths.

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Hiking is quite possibly my favorite activity of all time, and — as someone who’s grown up in Maine — taking on the The Greatest Mountain has always been a top priority. However, even so it kicked my ass. Exercise is practically a foreign concept to me, but every summer I like to take on one, massive hike. As a young person, this is easily done without any physical preparation, but I’ll have to rethink my strategy next time because Katahdin, you truly are The Greatest Mountain.

Our plan was to begin our hike around 5:30. We were going to go up Chimney Pond, then Dudley, and then Knife’s Edge to summit. On the way down, we would take Saddle. When I was fourteen, I hiked up Chimney and part of Dudley to reach the Pamola caves. So, I thought this would be a fun, but rigorous hike that would take about ten hours.

The day did not go as planned for several reasons. When I awoke at 4:30 that morning, my stomach was in knots. I felt like I was going to vomit, but how could I come all this way and NOT hike Katahdin? It would’ve been too much of a disappointment. So, I set out and braved the trailhead. Usually, hiking up to Chimney Pond should take you about two hours. It took us two and a half due to my frequent stops and nausea, and then we had to rest for half an hour to see if I felt up to continuing on our journey.

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Chimney Pond

Now, if you’re not a big hiker or don’t feel like you can summit in a day, then hiking to Chimney Pond is a perfect way to ease into the hike. It is absolutely stunning. The water is crystal clear, and you can see straight up to the top of the mountain. You can also watch all the hikers, like little ants, climbing up any of the trails except Abol or Hunt. There are small campsites there that have a lean-to for sleeping. If you want to stay at this campsite, you better book your stay well ahead of time. Also at this campsite, you have to set up a bear bag. If you don’t know how to do that, you definitely need to learn before arriving.

However, after eating some cheese and an apple, I decided I could keep going. My stomach felt better, and my body had gotten accustomed to the mountain air. (Side note: There is nothing better than mountain air. It can feel warm on your skin, but it breathes in as cool and refreshing. It awakens the spirit.) So, we signed out at the Chimney Pond ranger station and headed out on Dudley at 8:30AM.

DSC_039Dudley has a reputation for being the hardest trail on the mountain. Honestly, I can’t tell you why; I think they’re all equally as difficult. On every trail on the front of the mountain, rock climbing is unavoidable. On Dudley, rock climbing is pretty much the whole trail. However, I prefer that for a couple reasons. One being that rock climbing is easier on your leg muscles because you depend so much on your arms. Two, when you’re consistently rock climbing, you’re body gets used to the work as opposed to when you do it in small spurts. I think I’m in the minority in this assessment, though.

DSC_33Now, I’m going to tell you something. I don’t trust a single sign in Baxter State Park in terms of mileage. I simply cannot believe that Dudley is 2.4 mi or that Knife’s Edge is 1.1 or that Saddle is 2.2. It makes absolutely no sense. I don’t think the signs are accurate, I never have, and I’ve never met anybody that does. So, moral of the story: Take the mileage signs with a grain of salt.

DSC_41.5Finally, though we reach the top of Dudley which is the summit of Pamola Mountain. It took us three hours, so we actually made pretty good time, especially considering the fact that I wanted to stop and take pictures every five feet.

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We took a break here and ate some lunch, but quickly headed out to brave the infamous Knife’s Edge. If there is any wind, clouds, or rain, Knife’s Edge is off-limits for hikers. The reason is obvious; at several points along the trail, you are literally taking your life into your own hands. The trail gets so incredibly skinny that your foot is the only thing that can fit on it. To either side of that foot are drop-offs and cliffs practically to the base of the mountain. Any slight imbalance could be the death of you.

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This hit me especially hard right as we left the summit of Pamola. The sections right next to Pamola are by far the hardest on the trail. Once you get closer to Katahdin, the trail widens up a bit and becomes less threatening. However, the very first thing we had to do on Knife’s Edge was slide-walk down a cliff face into a small landing that had cliffs on either side. Then, once you walk across this small landing, you had to climb up an almost flat wall to the top of another little hill. It was completely and utterly terrifying. I’ve never had a physical panic attack before, only mental, but about half way through Knife’s Edge my heart felt so tight that I really thought I was going to have a heart attack. After that, we had to stop pretty frequently because my panic attack was so bad. This trail is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. I am a huge risk taker; I love doing things like this, but you need to be honest with yourself before you hike this trail. Most people face death in a way on Knife’s Edge that they have never had to do before in their lives. Of course, my boyfriend, the mountain man, was practically running across the rocks.

Eventually though, it all ended. We reached Katahdin’s summit, and I rewarded myself with a 3 Musketeers bar.

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We arrived at 1:30 and hung out at the top for about half an hour. We saw a mountain crow, which is about the same size as a hawk and also soars in the clouds like one too. It’s definitely an interesting bird.

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However, the day is not over. We still have to make it down the trail. Saddle, although it’s supposedly the easiest trail, was not all that easy. The beginning was very flat and leisurely, but eventually you come to an avalanche path and are rock climbing down the steep mountain once more. It’s incredibly hard on your knees, so be prepared for that. However, I won’t bore you too much with the details of the way down. To keep it simple, tears were shed, bruises were made, and cuts were etched into our skin. We practically ran down the mountain because all we wanted to do at that point was be done and go to bed.

When we got back to the Bunkhouse, though, we discovered something entirely unpleasant. When we booked the bunkhouse at Roaring Brook for this second night, we imagined it would be similar to the AMC White Mountain huts. We were wrong, very wrong. There were no lights in the cabin, which is not a big deal because everyone had flashlights. However, there were no mattresses on the bunks. I slept that night with the sore, bruised, cut body on a wooden plank. I basically didn’t sleep. I also considered multiple times throughout the night going to sleep outside on the ground because it would’ve been more comfortable. So, if you’re planning on staying in the bunkhouse bring yoga mats or single-person air mattresses for your bunk. Otherwise, you’re in for the worst night of your life.

Presently, I have three ingrown toenails due to this hike and my poor hiking shoes. I also have a sunburn from at spot I missed on my neck. So, prepare thoroughly for your hike up Mt. Katahdin. Don’t be an idiot like I was. This hike can be fun, but it can also be miserable. Prepare, prepare, prepare. I thought I had prepared. I had food, sunscreen, sunglasses, my hiking boots, flashlights, whistles, matches, the works. None of that is enough. Prepare until you think that your preparing for your preparations.

Ultimately, I am glad I did this. It was taxing and difficult in every way, but it’s an impressive feat. I’m proud of myself for pushing through it. In fact, it’s the only hike I’ve ever done that I’ve felt truly proud of afterwards. All other summits I’ve experienced have been more fun than burdensome, so the pride was vain. This was different. This is an accomplishment.

 

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Book 7 | Impressions

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Alright, I think I’m finally a Hugo fan. I’m still hesitant, waiting for my expectations to crash and burn again, but I think it’s finally happened. Now that we’re in the thick of the book, his writing is compelling, insightful, and acute. His tangents are far less flowery and actually reveal critical insights into the zeitgeist of 14th century Paris.

My only immediate critique is that he is still quite verbose. I did say he is less flowery, which he is. By “flowery,” I simply mean that he doesn’t extend into unnecessary description. He still remains as wordy as ever though. He loves to show off his knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, as well as his flair for words that are over five syllables. However, I don’t want to put too much stock into this observation. I probably just have a poor translation of the book. Perhaps in French his word choice is actually quite concise. So, I will stop beating him up for this and instead will place the blame on the translator, Walter J. Cobb.

Book 7 was everything French literature promises. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife. Plus, it had all the scandal of the Church. Yet, at the same time, his narrative remained unique and interesting. It wasn’t an “Oh, these French sex fiends again!” moment. He took what is inherently French, made considerable observations about these attributes, and spun the themes in a fresh way. It seems quite impressive at the moment. Given, I haven’t read much French literature, nor have I truly had time to explore and analyze the text. Still, I praise Hugo for his mastery of this prose. Bravo! I am eager to read on.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Book 6 | Impressions

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How delightfully refreshing were these thirty-nine pages of Book 6. I’ve been hounding Hugo for how little of the first half of the novel has been relevant, which hasn’t been entirely fair. I still stand by my belief that most of it could be tossed, but that makes me sound like I think everything has to be plot-driven in a novel. I certainly don’t believe that. Many pages and pages in some of favorite books have been spent telling tales that have little or nothing to do with the plot. Russian authors, in particular, are quite fond of this habit. Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, Diary of a Madman and Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, Candide by Voltaire, and many more spend whole chunks of the book devoted to describing the fashionable beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of a particular class, region, and/or community. These portions of the book are often my favorite because they reveal something greater than a story; they become primary historical sources, revealing what a certain populace was like in a way that no archeological dig or textbook could ever reveal.

Book 6 of The Hunchback of Notre Dame did just this, finally. The conversation between the three “gossips” of Paris and their interaction with the recluse was a historical snapshot. We all know people like this, but what are the subtle differences from century to century? From city to city? What do these people value and what don’t they? Hugo answers all these questions in this Book.

Not only does he do this, but he does so in an engaging, intriguing way. He gives us a bit of humor, a dash of mystery, and a sprinkle of satire. PLUS, it pushes the plot along. Well, not quite, it’s still back story for our central characters, but it feels after all this time as if the plot is moving again. We see the unknown connections between Quasimodo and Esmeralda, and the Book ends with actual plot movement. Esmeralda saves Quasimodo from ridicule and torture. Something happened! Yay! After the tantalizing back story we heard about Esmeralda’s mother, the recluse, and her connection with Quasimodo’s orphanage, this little bit of true plot was the icing on the cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter in every way possible. This chapter proved to me why Hugo was given such renown during his time. It will take a lot more of this to sway me to believe that he deserved all that renown, but now I know why he had any in the first place. He’s not just a pretentious, over-educated, wannabe-philosopher. He actually has some real talent. I am excited to see more of this, but am keeping my expectations low lest I be disappointed.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Books 4 and 5 | Musings

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I’m writing about Books 4 and 5 together because they’re each only twenty-five pages long. However, I will mostly focus on Book 5 because it’s a much more interesting chapter.

Book 4 gave me, finally, a glimpse into Quasimodo and Frollo. These two characters, though especially Frollo, were hardly touched upon in the first one hundred and sixty pages of the novel. However, all Hugo has yet given me about them were their back stories, which while necessary has been a long time coming. I feel that this could have been done near the beginning of the book or as needed along the journey, but Hugo chose neither. So, I am grateful to finally read about their characters, but again dismayed by the lack of movement in the plot.

Book 5 presented some more background information about Frollo, but was primarily focused on the philosophical musings about the progression of architecture in modern human history. I went about reading this section differently than I’ve read the novel thus far. I love architecture; it’s a hobby of mine, and I considered pursuing it as a career for some years in high school. However, I chose not to do so for several reasons, the biggest being that most architects today don’t get to be Frank Gehry. Most architects today build suburban developments, which just didn’t interest me. So, I went about reading Hugo’s meditation on architecture like I would read any book on architecture. I read it as an architecture geek, not as the literature geek.

Hugo used The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a means of reflecting on the whispering fancies of his mind. So, he took fifteen pages of the book to discuss the question of how the invention of the printing press affected architecture. His thesis was essentially that the written word destroyed the architectural statement, which reflects humanity’s desire to leave their mark on the world for the following generations.

I tend to agree with most of his observations, such as “To destroy the written word, you need only a torch and a Turk. To demolish the constructed word, you need a social revolution or an earthquake,” (p. 178) and “When put into print, thought is more imperishable as ever; it is volatile, intangible, indestructible; it mingles with the air. In the time of architecture, it became a mountain, and made itself the master of a century and a region. Now it has been transformed into a flock of birds, scattering to the four winds and filling all air and space.” (p. 178) But most importantly, “The press, that giant engine, incessantly gorging all the intellectual sap of society, incessantly vomits new material for its work.” (p. 184) However, I certainly agree with his thesis. I agreed with it from the moment he said it. His analysis left me wanting. Although, I won’t go into that here.

I agree with his thesis because of what I know of history, especially in the recent history of the 20th and 21st centuries. Look at what “architecture” has become! It’s the reason I didn’t pursue a career in it; it’s dead. Building stand alone homes with vinyl siding and shingled roofs is not interesting or creative. Building skyscrapers across the globe in vibrant cultural capitals has even become boring because all anybody wants is to make it look “sleek and modern” with glass, white, and silver. All anybody wants to do these days with their buildings is wipe away their individuality, their unique culture and beliefs. People want to use buildings to conform. So, unless you’re wildly successful like Frank Gehry, being an architect requires strikingly little creativity.

This idea contradicts my last post, where I agreed with Hugo that architecture is not “the outcome of a particular genius.” I feel that is what architecture has become in the recent decades. The reason I agreed was because of La Sagrada Familia, but that is a building designed mostly by a particular genius. The only reason it reflects the changing aesthetics is because it’s been being built throughout two centuries. Buildings today aren’t like that. Buildings today are built in a handful of years, so they can be the product of a particular genius.

I also find his point that writing is an inharmonious art particularly poignant today. He writes of how easy it is to create a book, to write. It’s so easy that anyone can do it, and it doesn’t require the collective effort of a community. Architecture, which required people from all classes and walks of life, created harmony because it represented a whole generation of people. Everyone had their piece of the building; in architecture “every individual work, however capricious or isolated it may seem, has its place and projection.” (p. 184). That changed with the advent of the printing press. Anyone could throw their thoughts down for the world without regard to what anyone else thinks, believes, or feels. Today, with ebooks, and self-publishing, and the publishing industry being profit-driven, the world has been flooded with millions of different ideas, hardly any of which matter. We simply produce more and more with less and less regard for quality.

Writing killed architecture because it was so much easier in every way. However, writing has gone and killed free thought, merit, and quality. Messages are nonexistent in most books today because we don’t care to leave one. All we care about is whether the books sells. If the book sells, who cares what your legacy is? Who cares if it’s any good? Who even cares if the story betters the world or is unique? Very few people care. Incredibly few.

So, ultimately I agree with Hugo. Writing killed architecture. I see that. I also see a reason I appreciate architecture so much; it took time to make, lots of forethought, and a whole community of people to make it. A book is one person, a cathedral is many. Architecture used to mean something, as did writing. Now both are lost to this brave new world.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Book 3 | Impressions

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When thou giveth, thou can also taketh away. But you know that all too well, Hugo, don’t you? You gave your story life, and you gave me momentary intrigue throughout Book 2 of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This lifted my spirits after reading Book 1, which was remarkably dull and extraordinarily laborious to read. However, my hopes for a compelling tale have been dashed by Book 3.

Book 3 was thirty-four pages of sheer description. Descriptions of Notre Dame, of each section of Paris, and of the view from the top of Notre Dame compromise the entirety of this Book. Now, if (like me) you’ve never been to Paris, quite a bit of this can be hard to follow. Moreover, it is almost completely irrelevant to the story and painful to read. It appears to be a showcase of Hugo’s immense knowledge of 15th century Paris compared to 19th century Paris. So, I have come to the conclusion that not only is his writing pretentious, but so is he. His word choice, his sentence structure, and his tendency toward unnecessary history lessons all have led me to that conclusion.

Who knows? Perhaps he will again lure me into his story with a hint of intrigue and a splash of plot. But I find that no matter what the story becomes, this book will probably not be worth the read. I have the feeling that he did not need five-hundred pages to lay out his narrative. In fact, he probably only need half of that. Again I will say though, who knows what the rest of the novel will bring? Maybe, just maybe, my mind will change in the end.

I will say that in the thirty-four pages of endless description, Hugo did say one thing of interest. He wrote, “[Hybrid structures] make us feel in how great a degree architecture is a primitive art…The greatest productions of architecture are not so much the work of individuals as of society — the offspring rather of national efforts than the outcome of a particular genius; a legacy left by the whole people, the accumulation of ages, the residue of successive evaporations of human society; in short, a species of formations. Each wave of time leaves its alluvium, each race leaves a deposit upon the monument, each individual lays his stone. Such is the process of beavers, such that of bees, such that of men. The great symbol of architecture, Babel, is a hive.” (p. 107).    How wonderfully, though again superfluously, written. It sparked quite a train of thoughts in my mind. I say now, hesitantly, that I agree with him on this.

The only reason I would disagree is because the most beautiful building in the world, La Sagrada Familia, was “the outcome of a particular genius.” But then, the more I thought about Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona, the more I realized that it too was “the accumulation of ages.” The church that’s never done being built had several different styles representative of many different centuries of taste. The back of the church held the Nativity Facade, which was in an older, almost Gothic style. The Basilica (the truly magnificent part of the church) was a product of the 20th century, the product of a time when religious beliefs could be freely questioned, and the direct product of Gaudi, “a particular genius.” Lastly, the front of the cathedral is a product of the late 20th century and early 21st. The stone figures reigning on the walls were cut in a nearly abstract fashion, the bowls of berries on top of the church were painted in colors that are in architectural fashion today, and words were posted on every surface from the doors to the benches that were scripted in a typeface style like this:

Spain_Barcelona_SagradaDoorAll the elements on the front of the cathedral embody the art of the 21st century, nothing like Gaudi would’ve imagined when he designed the building. So, ultimately, I see exactly what Hugo means. Each portion of La Sagrada Familia reveals a different era, a new taste, a different aesthetic of a different time. So, at least one good thing came out of my reading those thirty-four pages, a wonderful new way to perceive our living art.

 

Reading this book is a part of a bucket list item. To read the complete bucket list, click here.

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Book 2 | Impressions

9780451531513As I had hoped, Book 2 of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo was much more compelling than the first. While the writing remained dense and at times needlessly descriptive, Hugo began weaving a tale that gained my attention.

Book 2 is only fifty pages, just like the first. It was short and mysterious. As we know, Frollo, Esmeralda, and Quasimodo are the focus of the story. However, we saw very little of each. Book 2 followed the poet, Gringoire, following the failure of his morality play. Throughout the scenes we get one glimpse of Archdeacon Frollo, as he drools over Esmeralda’s dancing. We also see Quasimodo in his one moment of “self-love,” while he is paraded as the Pope of Fools. And, as for Esmeralda, we see her dancing in the street, being kidnapped by Quasimodo, and saving Gringoire’s life in The Court of Miracles.

The scene at the Court of Miracles is particularly intriguing. Hugo seems to have done quite a bit of research on gypsy laws in order to write about their culture. However, as far as I can tell, these wonderfully painted scenes have little to do with the actual plot. There is but one moment where Gringoire briefly wonders about the connection between Frollo, Quasimodo’s servitude, and Esmeralda’s kidnapping. However, it is mostly up to the reader to discern Gringoire’s complete thought because Hugo, for once, doesn’t explain what his exact thought was. If you don’t know the gist of the story already, it might be difficult to interpret.

So, though I’ve grown to enjoy Hugo’s narrative, I still am left wanting the beginning of the real story. Who knows? Maybe time will come to show me that all of this seemingly tangential plot is quite important. However, either way I am happy to read it, for it was an enjoyable read. Also, I can’t blame Hugo for leaving the reader in suspense for so long. Without the mystery of it all, I might not be interested at all in his tale because the writing is so opaque.

Reading this is part of a bucket list item to read 60 classic books before I turn thirty years old. To see the complete bucket list, click here.

 

Entering the World of the Affluent Child | Fairness

I’ve been incredibly privileged in my life. I live in a home where I can get three meals a day. I go to the doctor and the dentist regularly. I even got to go to a private school on full scholarship. Now, I’m getting to go to college. In comparison to most people, I’m doing just fine. There’s no real need I have that can’t be fulfilled. However, I don’t always feel that way.

Going to private school, I was always surrounded by people who had exorbitantly more money than my family did. It made me feel poor, even though that’s not the case. However, sometime around my junior year of high school, I grew out of that insecurity. This was partially due to the realization that those people were not ANYTHING like the person I wanted to become. Their world views and lifestyles are actually quite repulsive. Of course, plenty exceptions to that rule can be made, but on the whole the world of the richer-than-gods is not one I want to be part of.

Yet, I can’t find myself disassociated from their slew just yet. The world of a nanny is remarkably similar to the world of private schooling. The families I work for are all richer than God. One family even owns a private jet. Although I love the families I work for and their children, I often find myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of growing up wealthy. So, here I am introducing a new segment to the Diaries of a Nanny series. It’s called “Entering the World of the Affluent Child”. It’s going to be about all the silly moments that just make me want to shake someone and laugh at the same time. These moments make me want to laugh because of their absurdity and how incredibly well it demonstrates just how the other half lives. These moments make me want to shake someone because I know THIS is the exact reason kids of this class turn out to be such awful people in the end; their parents screw them up in an endless number of ways.

So, to kick off this new series is one of the best stories I have.

Josie is an uncontrollable child. She doesn’t really have discipline or structure in her home life. So, meltdowns are a frequent occurrence. Whether it’s because she doesn’t want to brush her hair, eat her dinner, take a bath, or anything else imaginable, tears are almost always inevitable. However, the most frequent reason for a full blown calamity would be the neighbors.

Josie lives in a townhouse. She shares a wall with a family that has three daughters. Now, these three girls can be even worse than Josie. They literally have no boundaries in their lives. So, put all of them together and it makes for some popcorn-popping drama. They will run between the two homes without a word to anyone. Next thing you know, someone is in full blown hysterics because someone doesn’t want to play the same game as someone else. But, no matter what NO ONE wants to stop playing. No matter how badly their feelings are hurt.

Just a few weeks ago, Josie was over playing at the neighbor’s home while I was feeding her little brother next door. The doorbell rings, and not surprisingly, Josie is on the front steps in tears. Apparently, she had hit one of the neighbors in the eye and had been asked to leave. Her interpretation of this event was that “My friends don’t want to play with me anymore. They’re so mean!” So, after nothing could be done to stop the tears, I picked her up, sat her on the stairs, and told her I would come back to talk with her once she had calmed down.

Upon returning, poor, little Josie was still sniffling. I explained to her that actions have consequences. If you hit someone in the eye, people won’t want to play with you. Her response, uttered over and over and over was, “It’s just not fair!” I explained, several times, that it was fair because she had done something mean and that sometimes taking a break from our friends was necessary. After about a hundred more times of hearing the words “It’s not fair,” I asked her, “What does the word fair mean?” You will never guess her response.

She looked me right in the eye and said, “Fair is when you get what you want.”

Holding back my laughter, I explained to her what fairness really is. But after the event was over, I couldn’t help realizing that it’s how affluent children think. They don’t know any better, practically regardless of how their parents try to teach them otherwise. Their parents don’t actually know better either for the most part. They know what fairness is, but they don’t understand it because it’s never applied to them. It could not have been a better example of how the 1% thinks.