Monday, May 28, 2012


One of the things I admire about my neighborhood is the spirited use of white marker on car windows. You normally see the stuff advertising prices on a used car lot, though anyone trying to sell a vehicle around here makes a sign. If, however, it's Brianna's sweet sixteen or the Cougars are going to the finals or some driver/passenger has or will soon log basically any milestone/accomplishment of adolescent life, well we will break out the paint markers and go to town. Big letters, lots of exclamation marks, a circle framing where the driver's head will go and an arrow pointing to that circle with an explanation that takes up the rest of the windshield: enough writing to impair visibility and distract other motorists, but too gleeful to begrudge. Which is all to say, I knew it was graduation this weekend.

I didn't believe it, however, until a teenager in a neighboring district confirmed that after a week of standardized state testing, a few days before it was even decent to wear white shoes, Texas had released her children into the wilds of May. Having once been a schoolgirl myself, I find this news as subversive and enticing as the rumors in my Californian elementary school that, somewhere, some children got whole days off school because of snow. Dallas kids may not take off Illinois' elusive and mysterious Casimir Pulaski Day, but they seem to have everything else: both the occasional possibility of a snow day AND a school year that ends a full three weeks before my alma mater. I am, frankly, scandalized both that this is true and that they aren't shouting it from the rooftops. And I thought they were lucky to have paint markers.

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