Okay, she has dark brown hair, and we visited four colleges, not three, but it still had that feeling of trying out beds, porridge, and cultures for fit.
College 1: “This college is too impersonal! Cars drive right through campus, the buildings don’t match, and the student tour guide was mean. Mostly single dorm rooms, though—tempting.”
College 2: “This college is too personal! You’d love it, Mom, it’s for hippies, all that social justice and socialist living. I don’t know if I could stand it, especially if everyone is smoking pot all the time. Nice people, though. And it’d be fun to paint murals on the walls and build bicycles.”
College 3: “Ahhh, this college is just right—friendly but professional. Learning for practical applications, leadership training, strong internship program, focus on international relations and economics. More men than women, that’s okay, but low ethnic diversity, too. Hmm. Oh well, that’s going to be the environment I’ll face in business, so I might as well get used to it in college. I’ll just be the diversity.”
How did dreamy me end up with this daughter? When I was her age, I wanted to study the Taoist, Confucianist, and Buddhist symbolism of the poetry written by the maiden characters in the Dream of the Red Chamber. And then find myself a secluded little college somewhere to teach and while away my years in more and more esoteric depths, venturing out every now and again to tour the world by bicycle and youth hostel.
She wants to run a multinational cosmetics corporation.
Is it our different generations, the ways we were raised, the places we grew up, our genetic makeup? Nature or nurture or both?
Standing next to her, I do look like a hippie, and I guess she looks preppie. And yet we look and act so much alike. I will refrain, now, from comparing us (favorably) to certain warring political parties in Washington. Refraining…refraining…