I haven't written much about etiquette lately because I can't figure out how to write what I have in my head. Plus someone I know recently did what I was going to write about next which is...potentially awkward. I need people to just send me letters I can answer Miss Manners style. Aaaanyway, in the vein of growing up in a rough situation, I was just laughing with Mike about an old memory and thought I'd share.
We live in a part of town that has a reputation for being full of snobby rich people. Heck, I used to think that about this end of town! What I've discovered, though, is that most of the people here aren't dripping with cash. They are people like Mike and me who drive cars til they die and don't go out to eat. I mean, some of them are.
Others are totally the stereotype. A mother came to a library meeting once. I recognized her jewelry because it's a designer the women in Mike's family really like. I have one of his more affordable, no jewel bracelets. One year for Christmas, all the girls got a piece of the guy's jewelry from dads or significant others and I got a short chef's knife from Mike. We all went "oooooooh." And then everyone looked at me like "what?" Hahahaha. Anyway, the mom showed up wearing a good $10k worth of earrings, bracelets, watch, rings and earrings. Seriously. To a library meeting. But, whatever, it's her thing. It's not my thing. And probably wouldn't be even if we could afford that much ice.
Back to the memory, some time ago, I told Mike that the moment I knew I wanted something else was on a mission trip. Jesus didn't come down to me or anything but I went to this house. It was clean. Spacious. They had a VAN with a TV. But, for whatever reason, that isn't what struck me. The next morning, they had cut up fruit for breakfast. WHO DOES THAT? I remember thinking, you know what, I am going to have FRUIT for BREAKFAST someday. Have you ever seen the tv show Life? It was like that with the fruit.
Of course, now I know that a house and cut up fruit isn't everything. Not that I thought it was everything then but when I was barely scraping by, it seemed like money would make everything easier. Straight up honest? Not living paycheck to paycheck is easier, hands down. At the same time, moving up a bit in income brackets hasn't done a lot for the smoothness and predictability of our life, obviously. And, really, all the DIY and making a comfortable home is less for appearances and more for being able to use our gift of hospitality to minister to our friends and anyone else who finds their way here. I'm sure the same is true for the family with the fruit. But still, sometimes I look around the neighborhood and wonder how I got here from where I was. I still don't have cut up fruit for breakfast, though. But that's mostly because no one else in my house will eat cantaloupe or honeydew except for me.
That's not to say I have gone gently into suburbia. Mike's dad likes to tease me about how I'm a fitness instructor with an SUV (I am a martial arts instructor with a weapon hauler, thankyouverymuch). I don't entirely fit in here any more than I fit in when I went to school in my old neighborhood. Although not feeling like I fit in with the tennis moms feels less dangerous than not fitting in when I was in school. You guys, I seriously would HIDE in the library during lunch in middle school because I was so scared of the crowds. Yes, I was doing martial arts but I was also smart. One little kid vs. a group of bigger kids? Those are bad odds! I might have become a researcher, hiding in the books all through high school if a guidance counselor hadn't sent me over to one of the better schools in town. She looked at my straight A's, looked at me, looked at my mom, and got out some paper. She said, "look, don't tell anyone I did this but you will never survive here. I am going to send you over to this principal. I want you to ask her to make room for you."
|I used to work near here. It isn't looking too bad! Interestingly, if you google our current town, you get pictures of big houses. Google where I grew up, you get mug shots. There are revitalization efforts happening and I hope they go well!|
Mike reminded me of my "I'm not going to be broke forever" epiphany the other day. He got me a bunch of Samurai Chai Mate for Valentine's Day or Christmas and asked me if I had any left. I told him I haven't had any all summer because I was saving my nice tea for when it's cooler and I can really savor it. He said, "you know your fruit thing? Your next goal can be getting to drink Teavana tea just because." Ha!
Anyway, I had an actual story to tell about Sharaze the suburban vigilante, picking up people's trash in my SUV, and the fact that I am now mildly concerned that at least two moms are going to assault me but you have to wait for that because I rambled way too much.