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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Is This--Beverly Hills?

Is it right for high-school kids to bring coffee into the classroom?

I'm so grateful that I was safe as a child. It seems to me that if one were unsafe, rainy days would be more dangerous and closed-in. Strange thought, I know. But while I recall the comforts of pressed cheese sandwiches and Lipton instant chicken noodle soup made on the old gas stove, other people may remember ugly, lonely things on rainy days.

This odd thought pattern is probably one reason why I agreed when Figgy called today during lunch, shortly after 11, to ask if I'd come take her to get a coffee. When I arrived, she and Charlotte [a friend since kindergarten] ran to the car in the rain. I was happy to take them, though probably should have glued myself to office chair and not been so easily distracted. But Fig & Co. are 16 now, juniors--not long before they likely will be too far away to call me to take them for coffee, or froyo, or party supplies, or anything. I like spending time with them, in the car or at Starbucks. I let Fig use the last $3.53 on my recently unearthed Starbucks card, and she added a dollar of her own.

The girls had to be back by 12:06, and were taking their grande lattes [one vanilla, one Chai] with them. The bag of dried mango pieces and the scone, both also purchased on coffee break, were long gone.

Really? I said. You're allowed to bring cups of coffee into the classroom?


But everybody can't be doing that. The teachers don't mind? How many kids do it? Like three out of a class of twenty?

I don't know. But it's a lot more than that in the morning, Charlotte said.

What is this, California? It sounds like California to me.

It sounds like New Jersey to me, Fig said.

This somehow seems very free thinking-California to me. But I guess kids do the same in college classes now? When I went to college, the coffee craze had not yet gripped America.

How about you? Are high schoolers where you live allowed to take coffee into class? I somehow doubt it--this town must be a hotbed of liberals. I'm also aware that kids who are not privileged enough to have an extra four bucks for a drink would not be able to partake, and that might make them feel bad. But one very popular art teacher at Montclair High School keeps a supply of herbal tea and cups in his classroom, so the kids can sip--and they like it. And I had no problem with that.

But can you really settle down and absorb Chaucer or the Periodic Table of the Elements with a latte in your hand?

Right answer, please?

  1. Boot camp in the dome.
  2. Walked Sug around block in rain.
  3. Healthy trail mix--2-ounce portions I make with dried apricots, roasted almonds and a few peanut butter chips.
  4. Latte at Starbucks; resisted pumpkin cream cheese muffin.
  5. Rode bike to appt. yesterday!
  6. Private Benjamin, good work, gold stars for me and H., though it sometimes feels like hitting head against concrete wall.



  1. Yup, allowed in the very liberal HS here in NYC. Also allowed to bring in bfast (not sure about lunch and other food). I'll ask though--it is curious.

  2. Gee, and I thought for sure of you and M. and figured the answer would be no, with dictate coming straight from no-nonsense, all-business Mayor Bloomberg. ;) Do you mean all the public high schools there, or just certain ones? thanks. i was really curious. alice

  3. It's been 8 years since my daughter was in high school so I don't know what it's like now. But when I went to school (the same high school as L attended, but 30 years earlier) there was NO FOOD, NO DRINKS IN CLASSROOMS AND YOU COULDN'T LEAVE THE SCHOOL PREMISES AT ALL DURING THE DAY. Of course that didn't really stop us from the latter... but there was always the risk of suspension if caught having breakfast and a smoke at the local diner during first period. Boy, times have changed. Love, Lin

  4. Lin, look at you, mod girl! I was always afraid to break rules if they would get me into trouble. Didn't you fear your parents' wrath? I guess I was a coward. But I was not afraid to break molds, such as being among the first girls to run cross-country and track in the, alice

  5. Well then a smoke would have been out of the question. But how impressive to be so ground-breaking. I remember how barriers in sports and as well as in business were crashed down in the 70s... thanks to women like you. Good job.

  6. Maja is here. She says: My history and English teacher are old-school and don't let you drink or eat, but pretty much every other teacher in the school lets you. And even the tough ones let you bring up breakfast.

  7. I have no idea if this is city-wide. I suspect not. There's actually quite a bit of autonomy (more than people suspect) in the high schools. Very different culture from school to school.

  8. Hi Maja! Hi Kim. Thank you. I think I'm glad some old-school teachers are still around...I bet that variable applies here, too?....hmmmmm.....will ask...have a good day :)