I’m sure we’ve all felt like “a fish out of water“ at some point in our lives. I’m sure there’s been a moment where you feel like you were completely out of your element; completely out of your comfort zone. A great example of this would be Julia Roberts‘s character, Vivian Ward, in the movie Pretty Woman. I’m thinking in particular of the scenes when Vivian first goes to dinner and goes to the race track with Richard Gere‘s character. That’s why I felt this weekend hanging out with Jessica and her family. Allow me to elaborate…
This weekend, I hung out with Jessica. We spent the whole weekend together. We went to one of my favorite local clubs Friday night. On Saturday we went to a outdoor festival at a farm. And then Sunday we met up with her brother and had dinner at his house. Going to the club and the outdoor festival we’re about what I would expect them to be. While I had been warned what to expect at Jessica‘s brothers house, nothing could prepare me for my experience there.
I talked before about how Jessica’s family has money. They own a local business that Al thought it isn’t massive, it’s a local company I had heard of as a kid. It’s been around as long as I can remember. In fact, a few weeks into our relationship, Jessica once told under no one certain terms that she’s going to be financially set when her parents pass.
I’m a little bit intimidated by this girl. I will admit it. I’m OK stepping outside of my comfort zone, but I don’t want to feel like I am a fixer-upper project for her. And I don’t want to feel like I’m never doing anything that I enjoy.
On Sunday, Jessica and I went to meet her brother and his wife for the first time. Let me just say that they live in a house that I don’t think I could even dream of owning. Even in the furthest reaches of my own imagination, I couldn’t conceive a scenario where I would live in a house like that
Jessica’s brother, on the other hand, married into a family that has even more money than Jessica’s family does. Jessica‘s brothers father-in-law is a business partner is one of the biggest business moguls Detroit. When said business mogul bought a very high profile sports team in Cleveland, the father-in-law invested in them as well. Yes, I’m talking about THAT level of wealth
Thinking of his house, I’m reminded of Ferris Bueller’s description of Cameron‘s home in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “it’s very beautiful and it is very cold, and you are not allowed to touch anything“ now granted, I know these people just renovated their house and spent a lot of money doing it, but it still didn’t feel very lived in.
I think about where I grew up/live and compare it to the area I work in. Compare to those two, Jessica’s brother’s neighborhood may as well have been in whole different galaxy. We hear expressions like “uptown problems downtown problems“ and it really is true. People like that just live in a whole different world. Their problems are so much different than the problems that I have, let alone the problems that my students have
What can I say? If I see myself as relentlessly middle class. Salt of the earth. A man of the people. The proletariat, as Karl Marx would’ve said.
I know Jessica was really worried that her brother would grill me. She told me as much. I know that he and I are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum. And if he would’ve confronted me about my political views, I would’ve most definitely hold my ground. But he was very polite, certainly friendly or outgoing or warm; but he polite. But there was just a sense of phoning us to hear his wife. Like they were putting up a front for the world. Maybe even putting up a front for themselves.
I always thought that I was intimidated by very wealthy people. and maybe I still am. But this past weekend, I realized that I could most certainly hang with wealthy people. It’s just that I choose not to.
A little bit of Holden Caulfield, and a little bit of Karl Marx. That’s me. That’s who I am. That’s who I will always be