I picked a fight.
I knew it wasn't the right thing to do but, well...I was crabby and she asked for it.
It started out innocent enough - I was just reading my e-mail. I had received a "digest" e-mail from one of those on-line parenting communities that lists all of the latest topics being discussed and everyone's responses to them. (I won't name the community...we all belong to at least one and they're fairly similar...)
These communities are the perfect breeding ground for fights because invariably, someone asks a big fat ridiculous question, or makes some incredibly shallow comment, and everyone jumps on it. Then it turns into a huge angry thread. (I love it when that happens. Very satisfying.)
Well someone posted THIS:
"...I have looked at several public schools, and mentally I am having such a hard time with the idea of my child attending for kindergarten, all of them look like cement-and-chain-link fence prisons. What do you guys think? Will my child be emotionally scarred by the sheer ugliness of those places?"
There were just SO many ways this question irritated me.
First of all, "yes," schools in LA aren't very attractive. Aside from the fact that Schwarzenegger has completely bankrupt California Schools and we have NO money at all, we are a BIG, DIVERSE city! If you want freshly pressed, homogenous children popping off a school buses and playing duck-duck-goose on vast, lush, green yards, then move. Simply move.
Secondly, MY kids attend Los Angeles public schools! What a HUGE insult to the LARGE group of parents across our city who break their backs daily trying to make public education a viable alternative in a city where the powers that be prioritize parking above a quality education.
And FINALLY, and I may alienate some readers here if I haven't already, but COME ON, lady..."emotionally scarred" because a school isn't pretty?? (This woman could benefit from reading some good parenting books - here are a couple I recommend...)
You can see how this was a plump little worm shaking it's butt and sticking out it's tongue at a crabby, circling catfish. I had to bite.
I typed my reply:
..."Yes. Yes it will...and while you're at it, you should also avoid pictures of hungry children."
I knew I shouldn't have sent it. My finger hovered above the "enter" key for a solid 10 seconds. I knew my response would result in a barrage of e-mails chastising me for poking at her. Dressing me down for being cold and flat out rude to this poor new mom. But I just couldn't help myself.
I hit SEND.
The first e-mail from an angry mother arrived almost immediately She called me snide and heartless for not being more sympathetic to this poor mother's "very real" concerns. She was right, of course. I had been snide. I began to feel badly. I had second thoughts about my behavior and rash comment.
So, I posted an apology to everyone in the discussion forum and then I sent a note directly to the mom personally apologizing for being so rude.
The mom I "offended" e-mailed me back and accepted my apology semi-graciously. In her e-mail, she said "...LAUSD may be fine for some, but fears it doesn't address the needs of kids, like hers, who were ready for more." The implication? My kids were...you know...NOT "ready for more." She had done it again. She had dangled her big, fat, nasty ol' worm out there. Its' a** was wriggling right in my face.
I resisted biting. My left eye twitched from the need to settle this unspoken score I had with this woman. She was clearly asking for it, right?
But I'm going to be the bigger person here though and let it go. I am not going to "engage" this woman further. We will respectfully agree to disagree. In fact, I've already practically forgotten about the whole thing...
However, if pictures of hungry children anonymously show up in her e-mail, she totally had it coming.