As you may or may not know, Hai Nan Chicken Rice is an amazing invention, and a real testament to the glory of human enterprise. I recently became aware of a local food cart that serves this divine dish in downtown Portland and decided to check it out. After dropping by the weekend-before-last and finding it closed unexpectedly, I decided to hit it up for lunch today.
So you know, there are only two tables in front of it, and the food cart people are very territorial, which I suppose is understandable, so you can’t grab the next table over because it’s got a big sign on it and people will yell at you and blah blah blah, right? So that shouldn’t really matter, because hey, parks! There are all kinds of places to sit down there.
On a normal day. Because it’s more or less the end of the world, it started hailing while I was waiting for my order, and the most important concern to bear in mind when building public structures is to make sure they don’t have any roofs that might allow a homeless person to find comfort within them. If you think I exaggerate, consider where I did manage to find a seat and a roof that I could use together:
That’s right, you can sit down and get out of the rain at the same time, but it has to be in a fucking fountain. This is, I think, pretty emblematic of America’s decline into a nation of worthless selfish scumbags when the solution to problems created by reduced social services is to make urban space more hostile.
For what it’s worth, Yang’s is great.
So while we were at Pix, following a lovely dinner at Bete Lukas, Matthew and I got into a little. . . discussion, as it were, about online education, which was precipitated by his wife telling us that her marketing professor had said, no doubt in the haughty tone of all morons who seek to reduce their betters, that in the future all PHDs would work in customer service, and all education would be online. The discussion didn’t really go anywhere, because Matthew wanted to talk about the ideal learning conditions for fantasy autodidacts, and I warned against the inevitable future in which teaching the children of poor parents would get you arrested. It was fun, but not very enlightening.
In the car on the way home, C (who is distinguished in this context by the fact that she cares more about how real people learn than she does about how hypothetical constructs do the same) said she had to not listen very closely to us, because the conversation made her sad. I had responded glibly to the quoted comment because it is, to me, patently idiotic. The problem is, in America we can do longer laugh off the patently idiotic, especially as it relates to education. As American’s increasingly find it more important to make sure others are worse off than to improve their own circumstances, educators and educational structures are so at risk that even the most moronic prediction may well prove prophetic.