It’s interesting when you look at a family.
All can be well at first glance. But when one spends more than one or two intimate meals with them, like an old barn door, light begins to push through pin sized holes, soon enough blasting through, revealing scantily clad notions of mine, yours, whoever’s. Latent depression, repetitious anachronism (“so-and-so never loved me…”, “all my life…”, “The Orient…”) and so forth. But it is easy to recognize the fading luster of one’s own familial milieu; it is when we begin to look at those families, those people, outside our own immediates, that we begin to lose faith in the facades we subscribed to at a younger age, not knowing the impressive gloss we were lending so much credence to was founded in a) the young naivety of the uncouth mind (by no fault of our own) and b) a sort of refined barbarism, a monetary repurposing, business acumen hastily and incompletely translated. This translation only went one or two layers deep, the only two layers, though, that were readily apparent to the crude 12 to 14 year old. But like a fine wine, age tells.
I’ve learned that affluence is not directly correspondent with monetary success. Once I learned that money doesn’t teach manners, through some jarring firsthand experience, my mental disposition was forever re-casted, forever superimposed, by a much more illumined circuit. That guy I thought was Mr. Wonderful, is really a small-town Ohio native with little-to-no-table manners, concerned with nothing but the outcome of the Christmas Day NBA game, leaving a resplendent table and cordial company in order lounge on the sofa. Thanks, guy, you inadvertently lead me to want to be a better person.
People will stroll in, stop, look at him and the television and say “Dinner is hot, come on.” The response: “I don’t care.” This all being said as a guest in another person’s house, on Christmas Day, during the main course. But not insincere in the sense of being an utter jackass, like the completely vapid diva or the tailored Deutsche Bank trader, but more in the sense of being devoid of any real manner or respectful aspect. It’s not as if this all covers everything; the man definitely has some redeeming aspects, some moral fortitude or uprightness in other areas, but this definitely refuted the idea that a general assumption of class is associated with having money. They are not one in the same, in fact one can even dispense of the other.
What one first sees now, is not always indicative of lifelong continuity. I used to think that a little money, big time corporate experience and many a client driven dinner via the expense account, would calcify some semblance of how to behave in a formal, if not semi-formal setting. But hey, roots are called roots for a reason.