Luckily I’ve managed to keep my foot out of my mouth at this year’s parties. Not so much a couple of years ago.
The other night at my favorite event of the year–a friend’s Boxing Day pot luck–I did one of my best jobs putting my foot not only in my mouth but all the way down my throat and into my right lung. I was having a perfectly nice conversation with a couple of people and we were talking urban gardening and compost and a little of this and a little of that and one thing led to another and this woman who I then noticed was one of those strident aging hippy types that puts my teeth on edge because everything they have done is so vitally important; and they have done so much to improve life on this planet. People like this make me want to turn my head and pantomime a finger down my throat. We were discussing a lovely hand ground bread. Ms. A is standing next to me engaged in another conversation but something caught her attention and she leans in and said something like: “Ohhhh how Waldorfian of you.”
Is was at this point I slipped my shoe off.
“Ah you know Waldorf” Strident Poncho clad woman remarked.
I had my shoe in my hand near my chin. A had turned back to her conversation leaving me to fuck this up all on my own.
“Twenty years ago Me and A were professional Mommies and so we made the decision of the appropriate preschool resemble a bloody pulpy horse’s carcass.”
Poncho Hippy eyebrows flew into her salt and pepper hairline just above her forehead easily about three inches higher than they normally rest as she let out a rehearsed chuckle:
“How dear of you! What did you think of Waldorf?”
I’m surprised I could say the following clearly, what with my Clark mary jane lodged firmly between my teeth. My shoe was so tasty I didn’t notice her firmly set jaw as she spoiled for a fight defending the Waldorfian way of life.
“My gut feeling was this wasn’t a good fit for my son and I was completely right. There was this guy in the neighborhood had this whole shtick about gathering the children in a circle so they could make dirt and sing songs about making dirt. He did it in a baby voice, too. It was terribly funny at the time.”
But not so funny this time.
Thank God I didn’t go on with a guffaw and giggle about the riff A performed at a musical performance when we noted a sullen little girl in a whimsical outfit sitting with parents in badly hand knit accessories. And how we were shushed for laughing after I leaned in and whispered: “Waldorf” and she replied in a hurt little girl voice: “But mommy I just want to go home and weave.”
I was settling into my shoe and didn’t pay terribly close attention as Hippy Poncho Woman laughed nervously and offered up a story of having all her Waldorf children in for the holidays and how their friends from school came over and weren’t they all just the most creative and clever bunch of young adults. And I couldn’t hear her further defense of this Austrian model founded on the premise of the Whole Child with interdisciplinary approaches paying special attention to developmental milestones because the chewing was loud in my ears. The Shoe Ambrosia also lowered any filters I had for diplomacy.
“Yeah but not learning to read until eight or nine and only discovering then your child has a learning disability puts them at huge disadvantage when you have to send them off to mainstream public school because Waldorf can not meet their ‘special needs‘. It’s tricky business if your child has learning disabilities.”
The conversation was declared over when she tossed off in an even and practiced tone: “It’s always so enjoyable to make fun of things we don’t understand.”
I didn’t realize Passive-Aggression was one of the Milestones taught at The Denver Waldorf school.
Fortunately, I kept my foot out of my mouth the rest of the evening and I think I even managed to NOT insult anyone else.