I could probably stand to spend a little time with an analyst on this one. I’m class conscious.
I’m smart enough to know it’s all an illusion. You spend your life believing something and it becomes true. Look at religion or patriotism.
When my ex threw me out my buddy Tracy decided I needed to camp with him on a mountain in the
It was beautiful. I’d crawl out of our little 2 person tent in the morning and look down into a misty cloud filled valley. Our little tent would be in the middle of a herd of elk and I felt lucky we weren’t trampled in our sleep. These suckers were huge.
Tracy and I can’t spend any time together without waxing philosophic. One morning, while we were struggling with a coffee maker that plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter, our conversation was overheard by a guy who was camping by himself. Now there were three of us.
We spent a few days together traveling around
I can’t remember our new friend’s name.
We were talking about how cruel certain cultures could be about class. He was from
They only reason these things exist is we make them real. It reminds me of the Stephen Colbert Christmas special. Colbert was looking at a little nativity scene. One of the little characters was Willie Nelson. Colbert rubbed his eyes in disbelief. Willie said, “I’m so high, you’re hallucinating!” I think other peoples beliefs can be so strong, you have to believe them too.
I have always been sensitive about class. I grew up practically indigent but surrounded by affluence. The mansions on the private streets of the
I poked fun at their ostentation. The kids I hung out with were really cool and non judgmental but I had a chip on my shoulder. “It’s not where you came from but where you’re going,” I would say. I was so bull headed I was convincing. I know you can make people believe things if you’re determined enough.
But I was afraid.
I remember one New Years my buddies and I went to a party at one of these mansions. I wore a tux that was way too small, and tennis shoes. A friend of mine wore a tee shirt with a tux painted on it.
A friend, who had invited us, greeted us at the door in the most beautiful, slinky gown I’d ever seen. Behind her in the greeting area a man played a full sized grand. Everyone one was dressed impeccably. I felt like an ass.
I’ll never forget my girlfriend Julie and I were tripping and visiting a friend at one of these homes.We got lost in a labyrinth of rooms in their basement. We stumbled into one room that had a real suit of armor. I couldn’t believe it. We were rolling around on the floor convulsing in laughter.
We pulled ourselves together and made it upstairs. We found others socializing in a room that was surrounded by little glass panes. Outside the yard was covered in a blanket of snow. A young man about our age was sitting on an overstuffed chair that was obviously not mass produced. He was in front of a very large fireplace in a beautiful thick sweater with his nose buried in a book.
“Whatcha reading?” we asked. Without moving his head he raised his eyes to meet ours and said, “Lord Byron.”
My friend Fojammi went to the wedding of one of our friends in this neighborhood recently. He said he felt like Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with class.
I know it’s not just privilege that scares me. Poor people scare me too. Brutish, uneducated, television watching, sports fan, lifelong employees waiting for something better after life is terrifying to me.
There but by the grace of God.