Living off the grid

Sydney Foreman

The grid dictates the layout of the Chronicle. If I could explain it I would, but the section I spend most of my time working on, Features, is “exempt” from following the almighty grid lines. This is because not all designs lend themselves well to a series of predetermined segments. Similarly, not all people fit well between these lines. I think that I’m one of these people.

I’m a painter who doesn’t live in the valley or on the westside. I am horrible at most sports and I do not plan on pursuing business, law or medicine. These qualities deviate from the Harvard-Westlake norm as dictated by a number of types of grids.

Having decided to attend art school, I’ve inadvertently removed myself from the Naviance grids, the series of lines and dots that supposedly indicate a student’s future. My art school has one dot on its grid, while the University of Michgian’s has over 100.

The next grid I don’t quite fit onto is the housing grid. This is the general map of Harvard-Westlake students’ houses. Although there were enough students in my neighborhood to have a Hancock Park bus, many of these kids live slightly further west than the name suggests. It was the lone Hancock Park bus compared to the four westside and five plus valley buses.

My inability to fit on these grids is no secret. This accounts for the question I am often asked: Why Harvard-Westlake? I could’ve attended an arts high school downtown where I would’ve spent more time doing what I love and spent more time with people who share my interests. As appealing as this sounded a number of times during the dark days of junior year, it wasn’t quite right for me.

I ultimately liked not quite fitting onto any of the grids. I liked that kids who had never stepped foot east of La Brea ventured to my house. I liked that my peers performed science experiments I could never conceptualize. I liked that in return I could introduce them to Donatello as more than just a ninja turtle. I will miss the grids. Although they weren’t necessarily designed for people like me, that made it all the better.