After almost two years on the boat, details about living on shore that I used to take for granted began to get fuzzy. In that way, I guess it's good that we came back for a visit, before I forgot completely.
Now that I'm sort of surrounded by the land life, sometimes I think it's completely crazy. People say there's no real social class, but in schools, there is. It's quite plain - the people that everyone want to be, the middle people, the people no one will talk to. That also includes fashion. As there aren't many public schools that require uniforms in the Northwest, people wear whatever they want. Or, as sometime is more the problem, whatever they can afford.
When people are cruising, they really have to be more open-minded. There's not many kids out there, and unless you want to be lonely and read your book all day, you have to get out and interact with them. There's no peer-pressure, you can't just follow what other people do - and frankly, I didn't want to. I found it so wonderful, not having to worry what other people thought, or having to fit in. By cruising, everyone out there has something in common, some common ground that's always safe to stand on.
And in all the third-world countries that we've been in, it's different still. I never really got into it to experience it myself, but it just looks different. Since there is a social class in most places, and not just in the schools, everyone wears uniforms to school. I don't think I saw a single school that didn't require uniforms. This gets rid of wealth issues in schools, and starts everyone off on an equal footing. I'm assuming that eventually those schools develop a social ladder as well, but I don't think there's anything that could completely erase that except for not going to school, and I'm not sure even that would work.
I guess it's a thing that people get used to, but I'm certainly not adjusted to it yet. Frankly, I find it all slightly crazy. I much prefer the way people approach others in the cruising life, without so much prejudice, but it's hard to hang onto friends when it's possible that you might be sailing in different directions.
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