I had a bit of a meltdown last night. The Boy and I like being all civic-minded, so we went to a Parks & Recreation meeting. Our town is renovating a park; we'd like a fitness trail sort of installation nearby; it made sense.
The evening turned out to be two meetings. The first was a regular department update, and the second was about this park.
I'll admit, I don't know much about what our town offers. I've looked up some stuff on the town website, but I haven't found much that's available for someone like me to get involved in. Apparently, that's because there isn't. In my town, if you're out of high school and aren't a male over 30 who wants to play on a basketball league, the Parks & Recreation Department has nothing to offer you. That's right, every class and sports league is for the children.
I've had this rant before. I get tired of all of our energy going toward the children. And what happens if you get someone who was really involved with the Parks' program, then graduated from high school and maybe doesn't go to college. He's around town still, but can't sign up for the activities he used to do. Welcome to adulthood!
Granted, the department director was well aware of the fact that the offerings for adults were weak and wants to fix that. It'll just take time and help from us.
OK. I can deal with that--though it would be nice to have some sort of adult classes through the Parks & Recreation Department, because they tend to be pretty cheap. Adults do have plenty of opportunities for continuing ed--there's an arts center in town and plenty of other adult ed centers in the surrounding towns and cities. However, these classes can be pretty pricey--and by that I mean that a several-week class can be way over $100, if not closer to $200. If you're on a tighter budget, this isn't doable for you.
I'm not asking for the world--just something like a 4-week drawing class for $50. It doesn't have to be from a master--an art student would be a fine teacher for a class like this. Just something basic so that I can try it and see if I like it, without breaking the bank. Is that so hard to provide?
So if the first meeting wasn't disheartening enough, the second one certainly was. This was the latest in a series of meetings about how to refurbish this park and make it useful. The drawings presented showed a t-ball diamond, a playground, and a hockey court among all the features. All things for designed for kids.
As the conversation went along, it became more obvious that the space was intended for children. One woman complained because even though she didn't mind kids, she didn't want them to be so loud in her backyard. A little while later, the Boy mentions having some fitness stations for adults, and the designer talks about those a little bit (i.e.--fitness stations work better when they're along a jogging path). Then I can't help myself and talk about having a space for adults, and how we can't find a frickin' chin-up bar in this town (there is one in the next town over, which I happily stumbled upon one day, but I'm of the opinion that every town needs to have at least one chin-up bar). Of course, I get that slightly emotional tinge to my voice, and I just have to shut up.
The meeting winds up, and we talk to a lovely woman who tells us that our town is made up of waves of immigrants, so they pretty much worked and reared children--they didn't have time for their own extra-curriculars, so why should the town provide them. It makes sense, but I still didn't like it....and then as I thought about it in the car, I kind of lost it.
Not a great moment for me, but I just hit my point where I felt that once again, I didn't matter. I'm tired of not mattering. I'm going through a little low patch with my writing right now, and I'm dealing with a lot of rejection/no money coming in (or not knowing when the outstanding money is ever showing up). I don't work around other people, so I don't have a ton of regular contact with the outside world. I'm a woman, and there are times where it feels that I don't matter as much because of that (another post for another day, but you ever notice on a reality competition show that a woman will say something like, "I really want a woman to win!" and it's OK for her to say that. A guy never says, "I want a guy to win!"). And--of course--I don't have children. Sigh.
A few minutes later, the Boy joked me back to normal. Or at least normal, with a hint of bitterness.
P.S.--I'm heading to Chicago for Uproar by the Lakeshore, the WFTDA Championships. I may not post regularly through Wednesday, but I'll do my best to touch base.