Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Media Whore, I am

I am a class A media whore. And because of that I feel that I own exclusive bragging rights. I cannot remember the last time I was on the radio, the internet and television all within the span of two days. Come to think of it, this may be the one and only time. So thank you Andy Warhol, I now commence a retrospective on my 15 minutes. They came and they went with little fanfare.

Last week, Eric and I received a registered letter from Social Services (oh, pardon me, it's the Department of Family and Community Services). Eric sat across the room from me quietly reading it. I had a horrible flashback about Aidan running away this summer, and the inquisition I subsequently endured. You know, all the questions prodding into the integrity of my parenting, are not easily forgotten. Maybe someone caught me on the nanny cam showing Harry the best air guitar to accompany Hells Bells, or not panicking when Aidan was playing with a set of steak knives. All sorts of horrible things passed through my mind. And as I could hear the seconds tick tick ticking as Eric read this letter with a very serious look on his face, I came very close to imploding with curiosity.
"Well!! What does it say?"
"They are closing the daycare"
"Who is?"
"Social Services"
"Why?"
"Because it is inadequate and a danger to the users."
"What?"

I have taken all my kids to this daycare since September 2002. I love this daycare. The building is a little old, but the quality of love in that place knows no price. There are women who have been looking after Aidan since he was 8 months old. He trusts them, and you can tell. He reaches out to them when he sees them, in the classic "pick-me up" pose. Never have I been concerned about Aidan's safety, and never have I questioned the quality of his care. As far as I was concerned, the accusations were bogus. Later that week, upon the request of many parents, the daycare owners held a meeting to discuss the closure. About 20 families showed up, all stunned by the Department's decisions. The owner gave us her story, offered all correspondences between the centre and the Department of Family and Community services, and asked us to come to our own conclusions. A few minutes later, an ad hoc Parent committee germinated. Don't mess with a group of military families. We are well connected, it appears. I took on the role of Communications Officer - I offered to send all concerned members the address, phone number, and e-mail of every politician at every level of government - municipal, provincial and federal - both the leaders and the Ministers involved. We also contacted the leader of the Official opposition and the critic for the Department of Family and Community Services. We were indeed, a well oil machine. I contacted the media (the CBC) and had a radio interview with the owner. I was rather disappointed with the reporting actually. They gave the government the last word.

I've looked closely at all the reports written by the department. I noted those areas I had questions about, and then I asked the management and staff my concerns. They have addressed every one of my questions, without evading any of them. Our daycare was inspected by a new member of the department - and there appears to be holes in proper procedural process. Or at least, this is what out lawyer says. To make a very long story short, the daycare is being represented by a well respected lawyer (who was the former Minister of Justice, back when the Liberals were in power) and it looks as if the case has a very good chance.

I was quoted out of context on the internet. I so get Chomsky now.

So, in the midst of this chaos, I went to my friendly neighbourhood Shambhala center. The CBC were there doing a documentary about Spirituality in New Brunswick. So, they came to pester the Buddhists. One thing about a group of Buddhists is that they are inordinately shy. As a group, everyone performed sitting meditation with relative ease. And no one farted or drooled as feared. Discussion group was awkward. I am not afraid to express my opinion (big surprise eh?), but I try and be conscious about dominating the conversation. I have also taken the role of chant drummer, since everyone shys away from that as well. Or maybe I have rhythm. When no one volunteered to drum, I stepped up. So, watch out Neil Pert. When no one offered to speak, I gave my two cents. After all, I deeply understand the meaning of awkward silence.. Heather has entered the building.
And then there is my extended commentary about shamatha. My ego was sufficiently stroked. At a Buddhist centre even. The series has not been aired yet. I will update on this. I have a very girly voice. High pitched. I can't even begin to fathom my television personae.

Media Whore.

Told ya.    

3 comments:

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Well done!

The Ministry of Community and Social Services makes me crazy. They seem to intervene when there's no cause for it, and then you hear about terrible abuse cases where MCSS has totally looked the other way.

I'm sure they're underfunded, understaffed, and the work is extraordinarily stressful. But sheesh, it's hard to understand their priorities in many cases.
Q

hotboy said...

Brilliant post! Loved reading this. Don't mess with you guys down at the daycare centre. It's so brilliant that. It's like what is politics? How to operate in a civilised country. Give the basturns something to think about. We don't do that so much here because of the cynicism and apathy and because we're a bit thick, being the residue, the left overs of all the smart basturns who went to the new world. New Brunswick? I didn't know that. I'll look it up. Eric sounds like he's got a presence. I haven't, but I don't know how to invade, or when not to. Useless really. Great post. Up on the hind legs stuff is great. Hotboy

hotboy said...

Drumming and chanting? The different strokes for different folks? What's her name? Spirituality for Dummies. Google and I'm sure her name will show up. Anyway, she wrote an on-line autobiography about her time in an ashram in New York. I really, really enjoyed reading that. Very good on the effects of chanting, etc. Actually, you might be interested, but you probably know about this already. She developed big drumming arms. Must be brilliant exercise. Hotboy