Seated across from me — my desk cluttered with paper, books, notepads and unopened mail — the young woman who worked at The Star-News as an intern roughly eight years ago asked me, “What’s new?”
I didn’t tell her that the night before Labor Council leader Lorena Gonzalez defeated former Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda in their race to win the Assembly District 80 seat.
Nor did I mention that Third Avenue was looking spiffier because of remodled streets and sidewalks. Or that in a couple of weeks a new/old waterpark would open when SeaWorld’s Aquatica opens its doors where Knott’s Soak City used to be. And, believe it or not, the South Bay power plant’s demise hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Noteworthy as those events are, they paled in comparison to the news she had shared with me — her little sister had recently graduated college.
It’s not that little sister was dim and her graduation was miraculous. I met her once, at the former intern’s wedding last year, and she seemed bright.
Instead, those civic events were momentarily insignifcant because the milestone was a reminder of how quickly time passes.
It wasn’t that long ago the intern was in college and she would come into the office fretting about her sister’s future. Would she go to college? Would she find direction? Would she stop acting like a kid? (The answer, it turns out, was yes.)
So here we are eight years later, the former intern married and living out of state while little sister was out of school and contemplating the rest of her life.
In all likelihood, that’s the sort of news that will be talked about this weekend, as families get together to observe Memorial Day or celebrate the unofficial beginning of summer with barbecues and outtings this holiday weekend.
In personal arenas, news of so-and-so’s daughter graduating high school takes on greater significance than, say, the latest development in the Sweetwater Union High School District corruption case. People with engaged couples as friends will probably hear more about June weddings and break-ups than they will about budget talks and bond funding.
That’s not to suggest that the everyday happenings of politics and law and education are inconsequential and irreleveant.
What happens with city government and tax dollars and economic policy has a greater effect on communities than birthdays and funerals.
Nevertheless, when someone who used to be a kid comes into your office and tells you her little sister has graduated college, it’s enough to remind an aging editor, news is relative.