Friday, June 26, 2015

The Japanese Hipster

My son made me an iPad.

I showed up to pick my son up today and his teacher had turned his classroom into a sweatshop. As I opened the door I saw a room full of busy kids. Heads down. Concentrating on the fine details of the devices they were making. Careful to attach the smaller parts without breaking anything. All as their teacher strolled between them repeating that they were all doing very well - and if they finished on time they'd win a prize. Presumably to be allowed to suck water from the communal sweat-sponge used to mop the child-slaves foreheads - solely to avoid their sweat dripping onto the circuit boards below. Okay maybe I'm slightly exaggerating. But my son really did make me an iPad. And all the the kids were making them too. Not one of those awful Apple ones made in Chinese sweatshops by 14 year olds. Oh no. I had mine made by a five year old out of pink card and beans. Just look at it. That thing would sell for thousands on Etsy.

At least my screen won't crack
Today my daughter was sent to school completely over-dressed. It was 110 degrees at one point. Yet she was sent in a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Actually that's not quite accurate. My daughter says she went to school dressed "as a Japanese person." It's alright, don't worry - it's not as flagrantly racist as you might think. Apparently the kids at her Boys and Girls Club were told to dress as different cultures for a competition. That could be lots of fun. Sounds harmless in principle. But lets be honest - this is Maricopa County, Arizona. That could have gone horrifyingly wrong. I would not have been surprised to have found one kid showing up in a Nazi uniform, a few Three Amigo's outfits and another kid going all out and arriving "blacked up." Instead though everyone was just wandering abut the Club in weird mismatched clothes that blatantly didn't fit.

I'd love to show you my daughter in the clothes she picked out. But the minute she walked through the door when we got back to mine she did that thing that only kids and perpetually single men do when they get home. Meaning she stripped down to her knickers and vegged out on the couch scratching herself.  Not to fear though - here's her "Japanese girl" outfit on the bedroom floor.

I know what you're thinking. "That doesn't look anything like the outfits that I've seen the Japanese girls wearing on Pornhub Gavin." Thankfully not. Actually I don't even know what you'd call that style. When I look at that I hear Black Moth Super Rainbow and Agitation Free. Mind you the only thing I thought when I picked her up was that her mother had been a bit lax letting her wander out of the house in this heat in that. I'm all for embracing my daughter's wonderful sense of self expression. But sometimes a seven year old isn't best to be aware that eight hours wearing that can be exhausting. Still - despite looking exhausted from being too hot she still seemed quite happy to have dressed up. And here's the kicker. She won. Can you even imagine how diabolically shit the other outfits were for my daughter to show up looking like a strawberry Hipster and saying she looks Japanese? I did ask her what made her think it looked Japanese. And she said she had no idea. She just showed up there in the weirdest clothes she could find at 6.30 this morning and one of the staff told her that she looked Japanese.

Actually the whole cultural sensitivity reminded me of that weird way that corporate America teaches "Diversity in the Workplace". And trust me - for reasons that baffle me all corporate programs like this randomly capitalize certain words without any seeming rhyme or reason. I can't count the number of human resource training programs/webinars I've been through that start off by pointing out that everyone is the same and should be afforded equal respect, equality and not be treated differently. Only to then point out why all these other people are totally different from white, straight people.

Cultural sensitivity has never been a problem for me. I don't care where you're from. I love you all. Unless you're from Cork in Ireland. And then only because I cant understand a bloody word you;re saying. Rather my issue in a work environment is I sometimes think that because something is funny that it means it's completely okay to go ahead and do it. From constantly leaving a Pregnancy Bible on coworkers desks when they're taking a day off. Complete with Post It note attached stating, "read up to page 118 before 20 week scan" - and always putting away before they came back to work. Then enjoying their confusion as person after person asked them if they were pregnant. Or the time when I teased a coworker -who at 34 claimed she was too old to have babies - by putting an enormous poster on her office wall of a sad face with the phrase "my womb is grey" on it. And probably worst being the absolute evil joy I would get anytime an office birthday/baby congratulations card was passed around and landed on my desk. From the very mild writing of, "I'm deeply sorry this is happening to you" on my Director's wedding card. To the absolutely very wrong of getting a coworkers baby shower card and writing "Nobody is more delighted than I am to find out that the baby isn't mine. All the best - Dad" on it.

But thankfully I don't do that sort of thing anymore. Nobody with a face this innocent could possibly get up to mischief.

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