I shoulda been a card-carrying socialist.
I’m sitting waiting to buy my wee Honda Fit, surrounded by huge behemoth cars for people with more money than understanding of the environment, listening to people whine about how they wished they’d bought the BMW equivalent, and silently fuming.
Here we sit, in a country where the divisions between rich and poor are sharper than ever before, where despite our vaunted social safety net, governments still rip off the poor to pay the rich, spend millions on advertising about the oil sands, and let people lie in the streets…
I don’t know.
Sometimes my intolerance for the rich is almost a taste in my mouth, of overpriced coffee, or extravagant truffles. It’s not envy. I have more than enough money for my needs, and wouldn’t know what to do with more, except maybe pay off my kid’s student loans and let them start life in encumbered by anything other than their intellects. I donate as I can, I advocate as possible, I write and argue for others. But it’s not enough. Not when there are people who expect others to serve them.
I remember taking a wealthy friend of mine to Starbucks for her “required” coffee fix. She blasted an order to the new immigrant coffee barista that he didn’t quite get. He missed one point, and she tore strips off him right left and centre. I was appalled at the entitlement of it all, the feeling that she deserved exceptional service, and her intolerance for any error in that, no matter how small.
Where does that come from, this entitled feeling? My niece, raised in substantial wealth, doesn’t seem to show it, and of that I am irrationally proud. Irrationally as it is her parents who have raised her right, but I stand in reflected glow. My kids seem to be socialist- prone as I am, and quite willing to overthrow, which also makes me both irrationally proud and sad that we’ve created a world where they must live with such anger. And a bit afraid.
Sorry, I’m moralizing. Shouldn’t do that. It was the BMW couple who started me off…I find myself wishing for the old days of noblesse oblige, if we must have stratification.
So, tip for today, don’t act entitled. Smile, be friendly, and appreciate, and you may be surprised at the good service and kindness you receive. And while you are planning your festive occasion, plan to share it with someone else. Someone who needs it and who doesn’t feel they deserve it.