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.