I Have a Dream...
Today, while A attended his Genetics class in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I headed over to the same cafe as last week. The class began at 10 a.m. and we were late. I found the mom who organized the class, N., also sitting in the cafe. Of course she would be there. She told me about the cafe, and that it is a good place to pass time, study, knit, etc. She was studying for her dissertation next a hip-looking chic on an iBook. I hoped she would not notice that I arrived at the cafe at 10:25 a.m. instead of 10:05 a.m.
I told her that I wanted to start a Geography class for teens. "Oh that would be great," she says. I ask her if she watches Jay Leno. I recount that one Jay Leno episode that horrified me to bits:
Jay Leno: "This country's capital is Mexico City."
Random woman on the street: "New Mexico!"
JL: "New Mexico is a country?"
JL: "Not a country. Let me ask again. This country's capital is Mexico City."
RWOTS: "The United States!!!!"
N. expressed similar frustration with our geographic literacy. She is an African-American woman who grew up in the South, married a Swiss guy and learned that most people thought Swiss people were Swedish, yet was still stupefied when someone - a New Yorker - she knows was challenged with this question: "Name a Northeastern state." The answer by the New Yorker was "Paris."
N. agreed that we should have a Geography class.
I then went to the downstairs section of the cafe to knit my French Market Felted Bag.
After 5 minutes, N. popped her head to the downstairs area where I was sitting.
N: "Sorry to disturb. Do you know which was the Civil Rights Amendment in the Constitution?"
I do not know the answer. I am embrassed. I was a law student. I studied Constitutional Law. And I have forgotten. On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Me: New Mexico?
If you, like me, are stumped for the answer, today would be a good day to learn it. I have a dream that one day, we will all know this very, very basic information, like recounting the capital city of Mexico. The real Mexico.