Car Seats and Bus Rides

This piece by Ryan Soriano comes from Downtown High School’s Acting for Critical Thought project, during which Downtown HS partners with 826 Valencia to work on dramatic writing and the American Conservatory Theater to work on acting. Downtown High School is a continuation school in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood.

Car Seats and Bus Rides

The youngest child of three at the age of six is merely ranting to her father who is too busy driving to listen. They are on their car ride to school. She wanted to take the bus to school with her older brother, but that idea was shot down by her father, who thought she wasn’t old enough to ride the bus alone like her older brother, who has been riding the bus alone since he was her age.

No matter what I do my family always sees me as the baby. I am six years old, practically a grown woman. In the morning my older sister still picks out my clothes. I am more than capable deciding what to wear on a day-to-day basis. When we leave the house I still have to ride in a car seat on the way to school, and since my family still sees me as the baby, they won’t let me drive! It doesn’t look that hard. My brother can do it and he can’t even ride a skateboard. It doesn’t even stop when I get to school. Even here they still treat me as a baby. I am in the first grade, and they are still teaching me simple words when I can speak in full sentences.

My dad picks me up from school everyday whereas my brother gets to ride the bus. That seems like a lot more fun than riding in the car, but I wouldn’t know because to them I’m still a baby. I’m such a model student that I complete my homework even before my brother comes home from school. After my homework I am stuck watching the same boring shows that I always watch while mom is out there at work probably having the time of her life. I think I have enough time between homework and bedtime to have fun at work like any regular adult.

Then we have dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandmother’s cooking, but why can’t I make dinner? I can just stand on the chair and cook for everyone just like girls do.

After dinner I’m stuck watching TV again while my mom is glued to her phone. I have people to call too. I have my friends at school to talk to even though they don’t have phones yet. Come to think of it, I don’t have a phone either.

I have to go to bed sharing a room with my older sister while my brother has his own room. I am six years old. I need my privacy. Every now and then my brother gets to leave and go to his girlfriend’s house. Now I don’t know why she would want to hang out with a smelly boy all the time, but it seems like my brother has more freedom than I do when I’m watching TV at home.

Then the next day it starts all over again. Why can’t I have the same responsibilities as my brother? My sister and I get treated differently when compared to my brother. It’s not just my age. When my brother was a kid he got a chance to ride the bus, now my sister is eleven years old and she doesn’t get the opportunity to ride the bus, so I’m starting to think I’m never going get to. How come boys get to be more independent? Girls can handle themselves. Girls can protect themselves. Why is it that boys are trusted with more responsibilities at an earlier age and girls are never seen as independent? Hey dad, when are you giving me the keys to the car?

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