Saturday, April 02, 2005

Of princes and paupers

Despite my constant complaints about being broke (which certainly feel true, for the record), I am not what one could call, by any stretch of the definition, poor. Maybe I could squeak by with middle class, but my judges would (and have) amend that with an 'upper'. And yet growing up in Los Angeles, going to school in Beverly Hills, I came to the conclusion that our family wasn't too well off. In my defense, I was probably 11 or 12 when that happened and I never really reexamined it until I hit college, and was made to see that 11 or 12 year-olds are idiots, along with people of just about every other age with the exception of 17 through 22 year-olds, and we laid plenty of traps for them too. Morons.

Anyway, I met someone yesterday who made me think that my 11 or 12 year-old self wasn't just making the s-word up. I was at my parents' country club (and for the record, we didn't become members of that until a few years ago) for my second golf lesson--and a smashing success it was! I learned how to hit balls and was hitting them over 120 yards and it was awesome! I'm sure it was God's April Fool's joke on me--and afterwards went up to meet my mom, who was still there after a tournament against women from another country club. (She'd shot an 86, her best score ever, particularly considering she hadn't broken 100 within the past six months--God's April Fool's joke on her.) Country clubs in general are quite nice, but even there you have tiers, and the club she'd played against was posh. In fact, you can almost tell how nice a club is based on how short the end of the stick is that women there get. At some places women are only allowed to even be on the premises a few days per week. They're required to wear skirts when they play. They have trouble scheduling tournaments there against women from other country clubs. Basically, the nicer the club, the further back in time you go.

There were still a couple of members from the other country club there with them, and I began talking to one of them. First, picture me, wearing the clothes I'd worn since 6:30 that morning when I'd gone to work at Starbucks. The khakis cost $20 at Target (and even then I think they were a rip; they fit poorly, and they're already falling apart) and my collared shirt cost less; not that cost really mattered, in this case, as it still had a few whipped cream stains on the left shoulder, which add their own kind of style. I'd exchanged my Starbucks hat for a USC hat to hide my gross hair, which stuck out on either side in pigtails. My makeup had resigned long ago. And I became more and more conscious of all this while I sat talking to this woman about her new orange Porsche 911 Turbo, their house in Bel Air, their office on Rodeo Drive, the 7-carat diamond on her finger, what a crime it was that UCLA's golf team wouldn't let her son practice with them because he had two country club memberships, how Chris O'Donnell's older brother is soooo cute (he won the championship last year at Bel Air Country Club, at which they have one of their memberships), and finally on to how I should meet her kids, especially her son, who's also a Taurus.

In all, she seemed like a very nice, well-meaning woman, though my end of the conversation consisted mostly of nodding and smiling. What I really wanted to do was lean over, narrow my eyes, and ask, "Are you for real?" Maybe accompany that with a poke or two. I did not tell her that I used to work just down the street from their office, at Jamba Juice, and that, 2 degrees later, I've been promoted to working in a Starbucks not far from there. I got the feeling she might wrinkle her brow (or at least momentarily try to fight off her investments in plastic surgery and botox with an attempt to do so) and look at me and say, "Work?"

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