I often pass this sign on my way to work and every time it gives me feelings. First off, what if I don’t have kids? What if I have been trying desperately to have kids for five of the longest years of my life and just that morning I found out it is never going to happen? Then I think I will probably drive into your %$&! sign and through it and into your front door and your living room and do donuts around your kitchen.
Or maybe I have no interest in kids. Maybe I enjoy going to movies and seeing friends and not picking up small, disgusting socks and underwear. What if I spend my time trying to find the cure for cancer and don’t have time or interest in kids? Or maybe I have just chosen another path because there are other paths and dang it not everyone has to have or aspire to have kids?! What if kids are just not for me? How do I drive then?
Am I supposed to imagine the kids I don’t want suddenly out on the street, playing, laughing their loud little heads off, while I’m inside trying to write the novel which I do want? Am I supposed to then go out and drive over them?
Perhaps the bigger problem is that the front yards where I often pass these signs are in Piedmont. Piedmont, you may not know, is a little city tucked away inside of Oakland. The median household income in Piedmont is nearly $200,000 (according to city-data.com). By comparison, in Oakland that number is $50,000.
So what am I to do with this instruction to drive as if my children lived in Piedmont? Presumably, I live there too, then, with them. My first thought, then, is how did this happen? How did I come to live in Piedmont, where the median house value is close to $900,000? I’m guessing Prop 13 got thrown out, to say the least, and we are finally paying teachers what we pay doctors and lawyers.
Next I am left to wonder why on earth I chose Piedmont? Did I suddenly feel the need to be with more white people? Piedmont is 72% white while Oakland is 25% white, 27% black and 24% latino. I love Oakland’s diversity! Know what the black population of Piedmont is? 1.3%.
So how do I drive as if I live there? Chin up, nose out? Social blinders on? Political analysis stored firmly in the glove compartment? Should I even be driving my own car? This is a bit awkward: me, driving myself to the bank to pick up a few more bags of gold coins for the playroom floor.
If my children lived here and I didn’t, I suppose I might drive more aggressively. How come they got the mansion? I zoom down the street now, blinded by greed and hatred. Didn’t I raise them better than this? First chance they get, they run off to this little enclave in a bubble, slapping 1% stickers over the 99% ones.
I shouldn’t let it all stress me out, really. I mean after all, these signs aren’t aimed at me. I am not the driver they are going after. I choose this route, in fact, because the mansion-lined street has less traffic and I can curve down its hill, wind in my face, zooming past those red signs without a care in the world, no bills, no car, no stress, just a man in the world, riding to a job he likes on a green bicycle.