Thursday, November 09, 2006

Laylah, Layla

Laura Lippman's character, Tess, represents the drive towrds independant success, accompanied with a hesitation of truly succeeding individually. This drive coupled with hesitation is reminiscent of the attitude of almost any new college gradutae I've ever encountered, aspects of the discussion with our group on Tuesday, and particularly inherent in the attitude of the boys of the St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Baltimore City. Perhaps the boys' reservations with the possibilities of such success our different from mine, but the principle of why they wish to be educated and established parallels mine, or any other student's for that matter.
There is a wonderful example of the reality of the cultural divide found in this, or any other city: when Tess finds out that Keisha Moore's daughter is named Laylah, she automatically sings a riff from Clapton's classic, "Layla", then stopped abruptly citing her embarassment at the fact that Keisha probably hears that all the time. "Keisha looked puzzled. 'There's a song with my baby's name? Isn't that something? I'd sure like to hear that sometime.' 'Yeah Derek and The Dominoes.' Keisha looked blank. 'You know, Eric Clapton.' 'Oh yeah that guitar player. The one whose little boy fell out the window. The one who did the song with Babyface.' Funny, the different contexts people brought into the world."(55)
The passage illuminates the cultural divide between the two women, but not does not impose any sort of judgment on either reference to Clapton, the icon; I think this exemplifies the importance of the union of the two references, and what you can learn from those outside of your "cultural comfort zone". The St. Ignatius boys often converse about a Baltimore that I know nothing about, but consider it a privelaged window through which to learn about it. Whenever any of the Loyola students discuss school work, or evening plans, the boys are more than enthusiastic to hear all about it, exhibiting their desire to someday participate in a college education, and those very same activities. Our commonality is in the desire to learn form each other, and our divide lies in what we already know about ourselves; the boy shave taught me the value of what I can bring to the table, and the invaluability of learning about others.