Culturally Deprived Family

It hit me. Right there in the middle of Thursday night book club. My children are culturally deprived. I am culturally deprived.

Sure I was in a book club, be we tended to veer totally off the topic of the book at hand and prattle on about remotely related but far more pressing topics such as church parking lot congestion, middle school curriculum, hair color, the price of eggs and my new shoes, about which, once they learned were comfortable, they stopped teasing me. No woman would dare mock another woman's comfortable shoes. It's a supreme law within our species.

When the conversation shifted to weekend plans, I, someone who always has something to say, whether relevant or not, sat in guilty silence. All these women had either purchased and attended or were going to attend in the very near future a live production. A play. Seats at the theatre. Literature put to life and in some cases, music. And, they take their kids.

I thought forking out twenty bucks to take my daughter to the latest animated flick was a bold move for me.

For that feat, I gave myself a gold star on my "Good Mommy" calendar, adhered to the back of my laundry room door with a band-aid. It would've normally qualified for a silver star, but it was a Friday evening showing at the MegaMultiMileLongPlex. I have a rock solid rule about avoiding, at all costs, the Mile Long Mall on any day resembling a weekend. There are not enough anti-anxiety drugs produced in the Western Hemisphere to help me through the chaos and still be able to operate a motor vehicle.

But these moms were driving their children to Downtown Charlotte. On a Saturday night. In clothes requiring ironing, to see Les Miserables. I can't even pronounce it let alone pretend to know what it's about — yet all the other women in my book club nodded and commented with grave sincerity and knowledge. I kept shoveling snack mix in my mouth so I wouldn't have to contribute to the conversation. When the talk veered into navigation of downtown one-way streets and parking decks, I feigned choking on a Whole Wheat Chex square in order to bolt from the room and refill my wine glass.

When three of the ladies shared their plans for spring break travel — flying the kids to New York to catch a few Broadway productions and gallery openings, I jumped up, ran to the kitchen and refilled everyone's wine glasses.

By the time one woman was midway through her family's summer itinerary, starting with tagging endangered species in the wilds of Africa, I was hiding in the bathroom feeling downright inadequate. Then, I remembered we're taking the kids to the Busch race here in Concord next month.

And you can't get a more diverse cultural experience than a NASCAR event. Ooooh, another gold star for me.

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  • Guest

    It's always good to have an excuse to get busy munching on snack mix (or better yet, chocolate)!

  • Guest

    Karen, I know exactly what you mean.  I like to patronize the arts occasionally;  an occasional visit to a museum, the theatre, etc.  But occasional is the operative word.  Between my fulltime job, my husband, Church activities,  caring for my home, and trying to find a way to become a mother, I really don't have the energy to fill up my weekends with cultural pursuits.  My mother often makes me feel guilty for this.  She has the type of personality that every free minute has to be structured with productive activities (she doesn't consider homemaking activities to be terribly productive;  feels that they should occupy only a fraction of one's "free time").  

  • Guest

    I'd have been shoveling in the chex mix right along with you.


  • Guest

    There are ways to enjoy the fine arts that are affordable and family friendly. I do suggest you look again at what might be available to your family in your town that is not too hoity toity for you, because I do believe some of the great productions, just like great books that have stood the test of time – have much to teach us all.