I have to stop making assumptions about well-off people

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 4, 2015, 6:14 PM | comments: 0

We were in Windermere today on an ice cream run, at the fantastic Allen's Creamery. For the uninitiated, Windermere is one of the most exclusive areas of Orange County. The houses are expensive and on lakes, sitting by the road is like watching an exotic car show, and famous people live there. (My friend/neighbor/coworker actually spotted Shaq running there, and stopped him for a selfie.)

While waiting for Simon to finish up his ice cream, two late high school-age girls came in. You could tell everything about them was expensive, from their clothes and purses to hair and makeup. This stood in stark contrast to the girls working in the store, who were working their asses off to serve the steady stream of people coming in. I'm not sure why, but I got super judgmental. I immediately assumed that these girls never had to work for anything, that they were used to getting everything that they wanted, and they were the kind of people I loathed.

I don't know why I immediately go there, except that strictly working from appearances, they were the kind of people I loathed in high school when I moved into the suburbs, and that feeling was reinforced ten times over in college. In reality, the exchange they had with the girls working there was beyond nice and polite, and I couldn't possibly know anything about their upbringing, work ethic or how grounded they were. That's shitty, and I don't like myself for being like that.

There is in the general sense a wedge being driven between the classes in this country, fed mostly by our incessant cultural need to hate someone. It's like the American way, and in my relatively short life the focus has shifted around from African-Americans to homosexuals to Latinos to any immigrant back to African-Americans to Muslims, and a continuous range among them all. The energy spent on the hating is staggering. The silly "occupy" movement was frankly just as ridiculous, because it fostered the idea that anyone doing really well, "the 1%," got there by evil means and was out to oppress everyone else. And of course there were people who fit that description, but lumping them in with honest, hard working people was stupid.

There are selfish, asshole-ish people at all income levels. Most people that I've known who are truly in the 1% are good people who work hard, engage in philanthropy, and generally lift others up. It's unfair to assume the worst, especially of their kids.


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