Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Time It's Personal

"My father needs money, my mother needs money, my sister's as thin as a reed -- but me, I'm sitting pretty; I've got all the money I need."

Snotty Suburb residents are divided between the two places the Emcee of Cabaret described, it seems. Some pockets are deep enough that the market drop means only moving a couple of accounts around for protection; other pockets have fingers picking at the lint along the seam at the bottom, hoping for a thread-tail to pull to keep the pants from dropping to ankle-depth.

The Republicans Whose House Has A Name Given It By Them (soooooo new money) have to sell because, Mr. Republican confessed to a neighbor, they simply can't afford it.
Shocking! And to add to their loss, their family dog who they ignored and only allowed in the garage to sleep on the coldest of nights was run over, squishing blood on the road, deaddeaddead. In full view of a yard full of children, the youngest just turned three years old, all of whom saw the entire scene. All because the Republicans Whose House Has A Name Given It By Them couldn't be bothered to protect the dog by keeping it on a leash. (See "Feral Children" post for how this attitude translates to Snotty Suburb child-rearing practices.)

So they've listed their house at bargain-basement pricing which is even more shameful since it indicates to everyone just how close to the margin they'd been living. These days, Mrs. Republican and the children can only be seen backing out of the driveway on school run mornings; the station wagon windows rolled up, the garage door closing on the packing boxes inside. And pretty soon the children's school will change, since no one goes to Snotty Suburb Public School unless residency is fully verifiable by the Town Clerk. Who knows. Trust me.

Incredibly Beautiful But Damaged Goods young man stopped to say hello to me the other day. He looked better than I'd seen him looking in a couple of years -- relaxed, not stoned (maybe half-baked, but not the deep disconnected stupidity of his darker days) and his hair was clean, pulled back in a ponytail held by a leather thong.

"You're looking great," I told him. He and I share a tacit understanding about boundaries. When his days are dark (it's obvious by his posture) we keep our exchanges to a quick nod and smile (mine.) On so-so days, we say hello and keep going. The last couple of times I've seen him, he's looked on the upside of so-so; bordering on happy. I chalk it up to the young lady he's had with him consistently for the last few months.

He told me he was moving back home from his nearby apartment. And that the family was selling the second home with ski-in access. Oh, and probably the Snotty Suburb house as well.

Knowing how much the parents lean on their status as identity -- part of the reason the kid is Damaged Goods -- my shock registered on my face obviously enough for Incredibly Beautiful But Damaged Goods to hastily supply an explanation.

"It's the financial stuff -- the markets and all," he said.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I told him. "That's a tough thing to do."
Tough thing to do. Four words to capsulize offloading a combined several million dollars worth of real estate where the kid and his sibling grew up.
All gone.
"Yeah, well," and he shrugged. His mouth twisted in a half-smile, ironic but not cruel and showing his dimple. He didn't say anything else, just stared for a second or two and shrugged again.
I put out my hand to shake. "Take care, man," I said.
His handshake was utterly correct. "You, too."
I watched him as he left -- cotillion dance-class trained, god-like good looks, his family's fortune tumbling downhill. The damage inflicted by his parents in their grinding of his gentle nature to force conformity to the social position he was born into protected him from caring about the loss of it.

He clearly didn't give a shit about the future lack of Snotty Suburb residency, the spectre of being dropped from invitation lists, the open snubbing at the Don't Ask For Membership You Have To Inherit It Tennis Club. The pain it caused his family bothered him because of the sweetness of his character.
As for his own pain, it was born of those institutions.

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