Photo: Little boys at the doctor’s office on Friday. We’ve been referred to an audiologist for Minor, who seems to be testing poorly in one ear. We suspect that it is fluid in his ear from protracted sniffles and allergies, but we don’t know. I’ll keep you posted.
The Auction. Lordy.
I gave my hair a lovely oil treatment, pinned it nice in a little french twist, put on a nice set of earring, a nicely draped dress and pretty cardigan over it (I called it my Old Navy coutoure). Didn’t do make up because I just don’t do make up, and I put on flip flops because the dress covered my feet anyway and I didn’t need them to hurt. I made my jerk chicken extra spicy and got out the door.
I wish I could describe this mansion to you. It just… it just kept going.
But I can’t really get to that yet. I gotta tell you about what happened before I even stepped into the mansion. Because I was sorta an idiot.
I pulled up to this mansion in the second-most exclusive neighborhood in the already exclusive town where the preschool is located, and I circled around to find a parking space. I parked in front of another incredible mansion and stepped out of my car to find one of Major’s teachers. She’s lovely, a little older. I’d describe her as a hippy: nature oriented, free spirited, bright and cheery and a little out there… I really like her a lot and we’ve made a connection this year. She showed up in an older car and had the same look on her face that I did. That, “what the hell am I doing here?” look. She was like, “how are you this evening?”
And I was honest. Why am I ever honest!? “You know,” I said, as we fell in step, “if I had a choice about going to be in an ostentatious and opulent setting, I’d much rather be in Maryland at the Preakness tonight.”
She laughed. “Oh right, I forgot that was happening tonight. This is going to be great! I mean, yeah, it’s going to be crazy, but it’s going to be great! I have to be honest, I’m not gonna buy shit because it’s so expensive…”
I felt comfortable. Why do I ever feel comfortable!? “I know! I didn’t even bother with my checkbook. I can’t keep up with these people. I mean, you know, I get who we are in this context. We weren’t born into this, I mean, we’ve got these fancy degrees, I know, but this isn’t who we are. We worked really hard for this, and we thank God every day we can afford this fancy preschool, but all of the rest of this… we aren’t these people. I’ve got a bad attitude about this. I’ve gotta find a better attitude about this!”
Then I was reminded of where I was and who I was talking to. The teacher replied,
“You know, I was the daughter of two teachers and I kinda ended up at this private school. And it was crazy, and I couldn’t afford to do anything that the other kids were doing. But because of the community, I had some fantastic opportunities. I ended up on a 60-foot schooner that sailed to the Bahamas in high school! Had the time of my life! You just gotta take a deep breath and have fun!”
Kyra, you’ve gotta keep your mouth shut and keep closer counsel. What the hell is wrong with you? You know better than that.
New England is a funny, funny place. There are haves and have nots and a very distinct class system, denoted by everything from geography to accents. But transcendence and transfer are possible via social circles and affiliations (if you are a New Englander). Know a guy who knows a guy? Go to the right school? Connected via family to whosit and whatsit? If you can touch it, even in a secondary kind of way, you can become it. But if you aren’t, if you aren’t of this place and you haven’t married in, you have to wait for your pardon, and that takes time. First rule about becoming a pardoned non-New Englander? Never speak ill about New England to anyone for any reason. You’re likely talking to a New Englander. Second rule about becoming a pardoned non-New Englander? Always assume that you’re on the outside. Because you are. Doesn’t matter where you think you fit in the system, you aren’t actually part of it, so keep your mouth shut and keep it moving.
So I show up at this real and actual mansion, newer built, massive and impressive. My chicken (much fussed over and highly anticipated) was taken to the kitchen before I even checked in. It was gone within 30 minutes. People actually came to me throughout the evening, disappointed they didn’t get any. (“I saw [a dad] get 8 pieces, I shit you not! I didn’t even get one! I told him he owes me a bid on something!”). The house went on forever, and it really was impeccable. Tastefully decorated with lovely details… just fantastic. I stuck with my people, listened and spoke, watched my sleepsack sell to a friend for $90 (!!! Yay!!). I limited myself to 2 drinks, which was smart, and then watched many other people get sloppy drunk for the rest of the evening.
No racist nonsense during the live auction this year, thank God. It was still annoying, though: people talking when they should have been listening, people just progressively getting drunker and… seriously… who wants to sit around and watch other people spend money? The platter for Minor’s toddler class, which featured the hand-prints of the 7 kids in the class, went for $700.
A case of small batch IPA made by a brewery in Vermont went for $400 (split between two families).
Some families walked away from the evening having spent over a grand. I left at 10 because, you know, why stay? The spectacle is of little interest to me. By the time I left, some people were swaying drunk. Seriously.
Some of the families I roll with attended a birthday party on Sunday and a post-mortem and play-by-play needed to be had. The conclusion? Even if it isn’t pretty, it’s good that certain families go in and spend crazy amounts of money. If not, tuition would be higher for all. Let those who can go crazy while the rest of us contribute in other ways.
Alrighty, fine, I guess. I still find it distasteful.
I ain’t goin’ next year. I’m comin’ up with an excuse.
Something else happened while I was there, a conversation with that same teacher later in the evening (she’d had a few). I will save that for my Quiet Thoughts on Friday because it corresponds with some other thoughts pretty nicely. I look forward to writing it.
It’s a beautiful day in Massachusetts! I really, really wish that it would rain and take this pollen out of here! Also, my front lawn is just suffering. The sadness.
See you Wednesday with pictures of all my dead plants!