The Road To Riches: Count Me Out

I live in a state with a reputation for riches and mansions; a place everyone wants to raise their kids, cookie-cutter style with perfection. Mini vans are a must, PTA meetings are these moms’ top priorities and status is everything. Tommy Hilfiger, Rod Stewart, and Diana Ross all post camp here in good ol’ CT. If you are not from Connecticut or the outlying states, you probably do not care to know much more about it here. Many think it is just a bunch of fields and farms, anyway.

I hear one or the other from people I have met from out-of-state for my entire life. It is true, Connecticut is wealthy. But realistically, there are cities; impoverished urban areas, as well as farms, as well as mansions. Connecticut is a great mix of all things that every other state has. Because Connecticut is so close to New York City, and celebrities and athletes have all called this place home at some point, only the wealthy reputation sticks.

But down in Fairfield County, the Southern most region of the state, is where the most affluent subside. I grew up in Bridgeport, a city within Fairfield County that knows little wealth. It is your typical urban setting, with a diverse range of people. I grew up in a home that was big enough for a family of five, where the mall was five minutes away and a fun, normal childhood was possible. Money did not grow on trees, and everyone seemed happy, in the eyes of a young me. We all did just fine. What sets the rest of the cities in this county apart is their snotty, craptastic attitude. This is not the first time I felt this way about Southern Connecticut, but now I am really starting to grow a disgusting dislike towards those people, and it is pushing me away even further.

Surely, some deserve their riches, like the corporate businessmen who work until God knows when to be able to feed their plastic wives money to shut them up and keep the house clean, kids happy. But I feel like a lot of those people are just born into it, married into tons of money. I know this is a cynical post, but I live here and I have to deal with this almost daily. It is a dumb way to realize there are better things out there for me, but whatever works, I guess. 

Yesterday myself and friend Nicole went shopping in Greenwich, the wealthiest town in Connecticut. Why? I really have no idea. I left it up to her. Girl time is girl time no matter where you end up. We were in search for some good deals at a handful of consignment shops that were raved about online as having brand names for less. Next time I want brand names for less, I will head to T.J. Maxx. These places were not only annoying in their presentation, fur coats littering the window displays, french writings on the walls that probably meant “Fashionista,” or “Diva Star,” or some other nonsense. I walked in to the first place and was hit by a smell of old, used shoes. These shoes were Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, what have you. They were ugly. I would not have bought a pair if they were five bucks. The women at the counter were all too busy with their noses in the air, helping some middle-aged soccer mom choose between mink or chinchilla. These women were so excited to be in the presence of name-brand garbage. Regardless of the annoyances around me, I spot an over-the-shoulder worked leather bag that I immediately tried on. Very earthy, natural looking, and there was no big brand name stamped onto the back, what a relief. Price tag: $465 dollars. Get out of here. So what it was a vintage Chanel bag. I would not have paid more than $30 dollars for it. It was used! There were scuffs and marks on it, which I had initially thought gave it character, but for $435 dollars more than I was willing to spend, I was just sick.

This routine continued the rest of the day. Every other car was a Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Infinti, I seriously kid you not. Is this real life? Women walking around the streets with bags in their hands, no work, all play. Like I said, I was used to seeing this, but yesterday it struck a nerve so deep I wanted to cry.

Dressed comfortably, I walked into these places with my converse, ripped jeans and nose ring out there for the Stepford Wives to see, and was looked at with a bit of disbelief. No one asked me if I needed help, but they were quick to talk to Nicole, apparently dressed more appropriate for the occasion than I.

I realized in that instant, after all the other instances of being in these ritzy towns (24 years), that I absolutely despise that way of living. I feel like there is one way of being wealthy which is acceptable, obviously, as I would like to be someday, and then there is this. Why on Earth would anyone want to spend their day mindlessly trying on tacky Armani jackets and discussing the boys’ next big game. Are these women bored? Is there really nothing else to do with endless amounts of money?

I am so repulsed by yesterday that I will never go to Greenwich to shop again, why the hell would I? I am perfectly content with the mall. I love Forever 21 and I love to save my money even more- especially if it would go towards something I can physically do; travel, go to a nice dinner, get my hair cut, anything

Give me the farms and open fields. I want to dine out comfortably, knowing my shoes and funked-out ensemble are not being judged. I want to be in the company of normalcy. Are the people of Greenwich good people? Maybe, but I never want to spend enough time there to find out.

The same way they most likely judge those in the outskirts of their fabulous towns, I am judging them, and it feels good. Just because I live in this area does not mean I need to ever be apart of that. Surely, Connecticut is not the only state that deals with this. I know there are other places that I glamorize for having the potential to be called home someday (Los Angeles), but I truly do not think it gets worse than Connecticut.

Just when I thought I have found reason to love it here, it flies out the window into the abyss of doubt, hatred and nausea. Someone save me.

31 thoughts on “The Road To Riches: Count Me Out

  1. Spoken from the heart! The 2012 “Shooting My M16 From The Hip Until It Glows Cherry Red” Award for conspicuous service to the world of Blog goes to….(*opens envelope*)…sarah On The Go….!!!

  2. I think this is a common struggle, anywhere a person can see disparity in wealth. Clearly, some places have more disparity than others. I see it even here in the Seattle area, shallow motives fueled by seemingly endless money. It can definitely make a person angry to watch someone waste money on something frivolous or ugly. Why? For me it seems to be the carelessness or cavalier attitude some have towards the money that most of us work hard to put in our pockets.

    Your frustration is spot on :)

  3. Wonderful post and message! We also live in an area that is similar, but our family is more down to earth. We love the country and funky ensembles and just being us. There are many down to earth people like us, too, but the other a bit snobby folks, we don’t socialize with…count me out, too, it’s not all about money and designer labels, etc. and if people choose to focus on those alone, then they’re missing out on the deeper meaning of life~ :)

  4. I totally get it! My family grew up on Long Island which is now littered with these gigantic houses and even bigger egos. It’s quite sad when you think about it, that so many wealthy individuals feel the need to display their riches for others. It makes me wonder what, if anything, they really have to show for themselves outside of materialistic narcissism?

    If the town of Greenwich, CT donated 5% of their yearly living expenses to charity – think about how much good that could do? I bet that amount of $$ could cure some diseases, dammit.

    I hear ya, sister. It’s a shame to see such waste within prosperity.

  5. That bad! I wish I was rich enough to spend money on designer bags and things – and then NOT. I would spend it on good things, like friends and dogs and trips to the US (but not Connecticut).

  6. Excellent post Sarah!! Couldn’t have said better.

    I lived in the tri-state area and worked on Wall St for almost 6 years, so I exactly know what you’re talking about. Unfortunately, you’ll find such snobby places in other states as well.

    Your shopping experience reminds me of our frequent trips to Short Hills mall, Woodbury commons and others..:-)


  7. Great post! I dont live in America, I live in Cape Town, South Africa, and I can tell you you are not alone in how you feel. This problem is global and we are all to blame. We have put far too much value on monetary systems, to the point where we know no better. That is what our lives has become – a rat race for wealth. We have been too concerned and put all our energy into the physical, that now thats the only way we think – physically. Even love has been twisted, contorted and perversed. Love is now about sex, creativity is now about selling a good idea for money. The whole world is fucked. Is there hope for us? I think yes. Its people like you who blog about real life. You spread awareness and hopefully, even if its a few, they will question their beliefs and what the have taken to be truth. Our planet and society’s only hope is for the majority of global population to shift their thinking. We need to put less valuye and emphasis on the physical, wealthy and monetary system, we need to drop our egos and competitive nature, only then will drastic change occur.

    We are all guilty of feeding this rat race powered machine, and our excuse is “Thats life.” Yes that is life, but it doesnt have to be this way. We can make a change, we just need more people WANTING to live a different lifestyle that isnt based on power, money and social status. Money only has value because we as a collective have put value on it. Critical thinking and positive action from the masses is what will make a change, You can also count me out of the road to riches. A humble more simple life has far more meaning.

  8. Love it. Though I am not from an affluent town of family, I would not choose that way of life. (It’s not as if it hasn’t presented itself before. Apparently, I’m intelligent enough to not be entirely white trash). I don’t like judgement. I don’t like cookie cutter anything, or to be expected to act a certain way, be a certain person. I just want to be me. Do my me thing. Because, I know that life would just kill me. Maybe some women want to be admired as a doll, perfect skin dusted elegantly with Sephora, without a hair out of place. But, I don’t.

    I did have a run in with money, mentioned above. It was the one thing that put me off. Here I am, in a small, but elegant apartment in an affluent side of the city, with a pudgy man majoring in physics at the most prestigious university in the city, smoking pot. (No judgement. This was nearly ten years ago.) He detested my piercings, tongue and belly button, and asked that I remove them. Apparently, all of my lucky charms had to go too. The same zodiac pendant that I had been wearing for years. I wasn’t good enough to meet his friends. Once, I wore blue nail polish. He spent the rest of the night looking for paint thinner in his closets. I dyed my hair back to red, and that was all she wrote.

    He thought he had the right to judge me on appearance? The guy was a pillhead for crying out loud! So much hypocrisy. I couldn’t be me on the outside, but he could be the incredible wreck on the inside? So much for that. I can’t lie to myself, much less to anyone else.

    No thanks. I’m done. Straight up hippie lifestyle, homemade clothes and accessories, long free flowing hair, and as many weirdo lucky charms as I like.

  9. Hello, thank you for dropping by.
    You survived the pop-culture sit-pretty-ritzy-glitzy-cookie-cutter way of life unscathed. And this is an achievement, considering how strong the influence is in this present times. Kudos to you!

  10. Thanks for following my blog!
    And I understand your frustration, I think your one of those perfect for the road, experience a world not just determined by brandlabels and who´s who. You seem to have a healthy rage fueling your writing, hold on to it!

  11. Connecticut, nice! Was that where the “Stepford Wives” movie was set? I hope some day we can make a trip to that State! Nice blog! Saludos desde Alicante, España

  12. Sarah,

    I see we agree on this, I appreciate having nice things but abhor people who build their whole identity around them. Your car, your job, your house, your whatever, is not what makes you who you are.

    I love designer gear, upscale locales and gourmet eats but can just as well rock something from Goodwill. Style and class are not things you can buy. Elitetess snobs who have to have everything specialized, imported, foreign and custom made are running from the inner loathing that they feel about the ordinariness of themselves, no matter how they try to dress and cover it. God forbid they should drink a Miller or eat a Hershey bar, lol. Nope, it’s got to be Vosges and some overpriced microbrew.

  13. Do you need the designer close and accessories when you have (do I recall correctly) ten tattoos? As several of your other commenters state, you can find wealth and superficiality in any community. We cannot change others, but we can respond graciously to all (while exiting from those situations with which we do not wish to affiliate). I had a recent Mall-Twilight-Zone experience, you can read about (if you haven’t been by recently):

  14. I used to live in CT, and although I wasn’t rich, nor am I today, I miss it a lot. CT beats Ecuador any day, even if there are a lot of snotty people!

  15. I think there is a lot to meet the eye here. From the different friendships I’ve had, I think that while there is superficiality, its important to remember the common humanity. Everyone does bleed the same. Gucci goddess may be subject to physical abuse just like cashier girl is. Money does talk, but an actual conversation puts the money in context. Neither side of the hill is only green.

    1. Thank you so much! I am glad people can relate to what I am saying here. I don’t want to come off snotty, I am grateful for where I live and the comfort of my lifestyle, but you know- enough is enough :)

  16. As the fellow said,”The best economic advice I got was from my pop who said,’Hand to mouth financial plan is your safe bet if your lifestyle is laid back.’
    But I found a better one,’plain living and high thinking.’ Now my hand knows at least where it is going’.
    In these cash strapped times I think one should be developing new skills instead of counting oneself out too early. The fellow who learned carpentry made a door on the excuse,’Who knows when opportunity comes knocking at least my door must warn me instead of my nose being flattened.’
    Hope you will come through, Here is wishing best,

  17. Nice to have a rant now and then and yours dovetails nicely with so many of us in the opinion that “wealth” can be shabby! Or maybe more accurately certain wealthy people are shabby – truly shabby!
    Not all of course as you note, there is wealth and wealth and for the term’s sake this is not wrong as we all (well most I think) want some form of wealth to ensure our well-being and security.

    Now “designer” is something else, because I do not and never have associated “designer” with good. Expensive yes, but good – absolutely not! Indeed I have met some of these “designers” and frankly they could not design a blank sheet of paper. And why in the fashion world do they always appear after shows in the same uniform – cheap jeans and sweatshirt – no “designer” for them – Oh no! As always it’s marketing junk to flog advert icon suggested “way to live your life” junk!
    Peer pressure selling and as it’s always been – it’s mass media orientated hype that gets money from the weak, fey and gullible class obsessed newly rich, who probably deserve it. . .

    Class rich would not be seen dead wearing or using any so called “designer” anything. Quality and style are OK, but “designer” – absolutely not.

    These days my car IS a Mercedes I admit, but I have it because it’s a well “designed” car – note, not a “designer” car and I have it because it is quality and in 10 years it’s still as good as the day I bought it.

    However, all this angst becomes mildy amusing and I can assure you pales into insignificance when your legs don’t work anymore, you’re confined most times to a special chair, you’re unable to do the things that other folks take for granted and life expectancy stutters from day to day.
    And “design” is important – the well designed quality of things – decent fitness for purpose things and above all the natural quality of those around you (with no designs as it happens), hopefully equate to some quality of life – and today that’s good enough for me.

  18. ‘Give me the farms and open fields. I want to dine out comfortably, knowing my shoes and funked-out ensemble are not being judged. I want to be in the company of normalcy.’
    Sounds like you just want to be in the company of REAL PEOPLE is all, Sarah, instead of the bio-robot consumerist sheeple that you see buying and wearing those ‘special’ brands — which cost just as much to manufacture as the identical copies in the malls, of course (if not less). You know, you bold and beautiful young rebel, those Stepford Wives, like the Wives of Orange County and of 90210, etc., are NOT happy people (generally speaking — I’m sure there a few exceptions). They choose to live with vicious, deeply venemous judgment every single day of their lives — in both directions. They wouldn’t know what true love was — or true self-worth, or true self-esteem — if it hit them broadside in the temple and handed them a business card. Their generally very materially comfortable, yet miserable (and yes boring) lives and lifestyles, function at best as a golden CAGE, separating them from all the true joys of life. I’ve known a few, had a few relatives of that class, went to school with a few, so I know this from experience. The farms and fields are MUCH more amenable to life satisfaction and true happiness, I guarantee you. I’ve had it both ways, and chose the country (in the tropics no less) years ago.
    L.A. is big. I grew up there, near Santa Monica (yeah, BayWatch Land, The Strand, starts its winding path on what was my local beach). Lots of very distinct environments and subcultures. LOTS of choice. But still solid city, with its materialism and consumist mentality, with few exceptions. If you ever go there, stay away from the valleys, stick close to the ocean (if you can afford it). Santa Monica is pretty laid back, and boasts a lot of ‘alternative’ approaches to health and healing. Sheryl Crow likes it, right?
    It’s very cool to see somebody else rejecting the ‘package’ that we were all offered in the States growing up, seeing it for what it really is — hollow nothingness. I could never quite fully accept being a willing economic slave, so I made my move in my late 20’s, and never looked back. Despite the extreme trials that brought to me, I am SO glad I did it! Stay true to your HEART, and you’ll be guided to where you want to BE.

  19. Came back to this post, as contrast to mine about Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness! a different view of CT from a hundred years ago. Social issues still abide. Thanks for dropping by.

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