no child + left behind =

We're in the southeast corner of Hollywood again, but at a different hotel. It's hot, the traffic is unbearable, its dusty and smoggy; but I'm not complaining: the palm trees are pretty and the coffeeshops are interesting. However, Greta and I are ready to go home. Today's like-we-live-here siteseeing included a visit to the well-known farmers market at 3rd and Fairfax. Having driven through the brown but heavily farmed San Joaquin Valley on the way to San Francisco, returning to LA on the stretch of the 101 that passes through the beautiful and surprisingly agricultural Central Coast, I recognized a few of the names of the grocers and butchers selling their wares in the market. There were even a couple of vineyards that we recognized selling their wine. But mostly the market was packed with very good and very pricey food. For $10, I had some of the best gumbo I've ever had, topped off with freshly baked cornbread and sweet potato salad. it was one of the cheapest lunches in the market and, well, it was worth it. I now believe the preposterous advertisement on The Gumbo Pot sign--their restaurant, they claim, has the best New Orleans soul food cooking outside of the Ninth Ward. Given the current state of the Ninth Ward, they might have the best New Orleans soul food anywhere. When standing in line for my gumbo, I saw one of the rarest sights so far on this last leg of the trip: I saw children. Not teenagers or women in their twenties through forties dressed to look like teenagers. Real live children between the ages of 5 and 9. And they were walking around the farmers market with their families. This is what was so bizzare. I noted that since we got back into LA a couple of days ago, we've seen no children with their families (Greta and my 9-week-old niece Nika excepted). Tracy and B think I'm crazy--they've seen children. But they've seen them horded together in small grassy parks (which also seem to be rare in this part of Hollywood), where they've been looked after--or "managed"--by their Latino nannies. The whole mom/dad-and-kids-in-public thing is bizzarely absent. Is there a reason for this? Doesn't this confirm my hypothesis that LA (or maybe all of SoCal?) is just plain weird? (Perhaps Ray needs to jump in and defend his sandy San Diego turf.) Or is it more serious than that? (Follow the dislocated thinking here.) Could it be that, as usual, LA is just ahead of a national trend? What might that trend be? I'm not sure what to call it. But here's an example of this trend being critiqued right here. (Cue X-Files theme music.)


Anonymous Ray Grieselhuber said...

So, yes, LA sucks.

Children being outsourced to latino caretakers - it sounds very LA due largely to the Hollywood influence, although I have no doubt it happens among the grassy, hidden enclaves of La Jolla, etc.

So you're in LA - that's only 2 hours away from us. How long are you up there?

6/04/2006 3:03 AM  

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