Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Public transit story #5: Career aspirations

On my way home from work on Monday evening, the train was surprisingly empty. Usually it's at least moderately full until I make my transfer, at which point I often have to push my way onto a fairly packed car. I rarely get a seat on that line, but it's okay, as I either get off four minutes or nine minutes later, and although I'm not the picture of physical grace, I haven't fallen into anyone's lap yet.

As the train approached my transfer point, I happened to catch a conversation of some high school girls. I really couldn't avoid catching it, though, because they were awfully loud and the rest of the train was awfully quiet.

One of the girls was going on about how her mother wants her to go to this one college, "which is a good school, and it's in our neighborhood, but it's an all-girls' school."

Her friends offered their sympathies. They encouraged her to talk to her mom and maybe get her to change her mind.

Then she said, apropos of nothing in particular, "I saw Memoirs of a Geisha this weekend. That was a good movie. I totally want to be a geisha."


"Um," said one of her friends, "aren't geishas, like, sluts?"

"Well, yeah," said the girl, "but they're, you know, the nice kind of sluts. A geisha is like... like... a high-class ho." She proceeded to go on about the honor of losing one's virginity to specific kinds of customers.

A dear friend of mine has just been accepted to a graduate program at this particular institute of higher learning. She's really into Japanese culture (and wasn't so sure about the accuracy of Memoirs of a Geisha, either the book or the movie). Perhaps she will stumble upon a secret geisha training program, and this teenager will miss out for having obtained her mother's blessing to attend another school, where the boys are but the northern California geisha interns aren't.

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