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Yesterday and the Friday before my parents and I drove up to Seattle to see two chamber music concerts as part of the summer festival at Benaroya Hall.

You can see the complete schedule here. If you live in the area, I’d urge you to check out the remaining concerts (there aren’t many).

Anyway, that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about; what I wanted to blog about was what happened before that. We went to Wild Ginger (amazing restaurant, by the way) with some of my parent’s friends, two couples. Wild Ginger is an amazing restaurant; the dumplings and the seven-flavored beef in particular are excellent. But when the bill came, we wanted to split it evenly: three sevenths for me and my parents, two sevenths each for the other people. But get this: the waitress did not know how to find fractions. I really couldn’t believe it. That’s something you learn in middle school. I know some of my mom’s students have troubles doing basic algebra and writing complete sentences, but I guess it never really sunk in how so many people slip through the cracks and don’t learn any of the basic things that school is there to impart.

I don’t really blame the waitress (I mean, obviously she could have taken the initiative and learned herself), but it’s whatever middle/high school she attended that has serious problems. We say (or at least, I say) that Americans are stupid, and I’m half-joking, but it’s kinda true. There are many smart Americans (like me, I would hope), but there’s also a huge population of people that are uneducated and obese. And one can’t entirely blame them. The blame rests for the most part upon the rotten education system, and in the case of obesity, how much sugar is being added to products. Really, both of those issues fall to the lack of education so present in the populace. It makes me sad and angry that a waitress in her late twenties working in a fairly upscale restaurant in a liberal part of the country doesn’t know how to find three sevenths of a number. I don’t think she even understood what a fraction is, never mind how to find one. It was disheartening, but thankfully, there was some beautiful music afterwards to drown it out.