I got invited to my 20 year reunion today. And I realized how wrong my perception of my peers is. Was.
My parents… *loud laugh*
The thing is…possibly almost no one was old money who I went to high school with. Well…with the exception of maybe a few people. And frankly I was friends with almost all of them. One or two of the guys had intense crushes on me, even. Although we never dated. …And the rest who I weren’t friends with were…bourgeois and pushy and genuinely rude. Possibly more upper-middle class. Truly.
I didn’t see it back then though. At all. And I struggle to see it now. But it’s so obvious if you look at people’s photos and analyze the trajectory of their lives and their subconsciously displayed class symbols online.
…”His father is a dj at MPR and his grandfather was super important in Massachusetts politics. As a Republican. Actually I think he founded APM.” a friend of mine said in my 20’s. I almost dated him after she did. But he was in love with her and I was in a (severely floundering) relationship with my now ex-husband. And…this was normal to me. So normal I thought literally everyone had similar experiences. Because that’s the perception we have of ourselves in this country. And the parents who raised me fed into it constantly. Birds of a feather flock together and we were “lowly farm people.”
People lie when they think they’re going to lose in America. Because everyone is scared the experiment will fail either on a grand scale or personally. They lie as children. They lie as adults. They teach their kids to lie or they lie to them so much the kids become like tortured living saints. Unaware.
Why do we lie to keep from losing? The same reason my father lied about the wealth in our very affluent upper-middle class suburb. He was overcome by it. In his case because our wealth is an older type of wealth. Culturally. And while he was grappling with the core of humanity in his youth instead of “trying to get rich” because of his background…his social inferiors were making lots of money. So he’d be enraged when they would clap in between movements of a symphony during my orchestra concerts but then at least pretend not to realize what that actually meant for the context of him as an individual and our family. He never figured out answers to his questions or he didn’t like the answers and ignored them.
They started drilling oil in the early 1970’s on my paternal grandparent’s land. But we didn’t take it that seriously… In the end, the technology wasn’t good enough yet to care.
The thing is…there’s an innate intense sexuality in the American upper-class. They might not be objectively the prettiest…or in some cases they might be…but regardless…they exude virility. All of them. It’s not just Jack.
Nor just Bobby. Or his dad.
Maybe they’re all you’ve noticed though. And was their intense sexuality even real? Sorry to burst that bubble too. …But either way, the American upper-class isn’t comprised of soggy people sexually. And they’re not all deranged perverts. Or at least, they didn’t use to be.
The Hindus have explanations. But so do the Muslims and Jews and Christians in a way… At any rate, it’s an observable phenomenon if you’re honest, maybe. And if you don’t enjoy painting people you “hate” with ugly brushstrokes to mar their souls for the ease of your consumption you can possibly see it. They’re not the bourgeoisie.
“Oh. You’re just still hurt because they snubbed and bullied you so much in high school. You’re lying!”
Oh of course I’m still hurt. Why wouldn’t I be? People never stopped being mean in my life. They just changed their tune. Now I’m the big bad wolf mean-girl and before they’d debate in front of me like I wasn’t there about whether it was more desirable to sit next to me or “the retarded girl” at lunch. “The retarded girl” was genuinely mentally challenged. And they claimed that they “preferred” her.
“This is a waltz thinking about our bodies. What they mean for our salvation.”
I’m off to write to worship God.