Why You Don’t Want to Live with the 1%
I live in one of the most affluent towns in the nation; a place where the majority of Americans (think) they want to live. I could dedicate precious space waxing poetic about all the great things there are about living here; however, I’m going to give you the real version – the top 5 reasons you DON’T want to live here (unless you truly are part of the 1% because then these words are probably lost on you).
5. High end cars: Honestly, does the car really matter than much, I mean really? The purpose of a car is to take you from Point A to Point B. The idea is that if you pay more than the car should be nicer. Needless to say I was disappointed when that wasn’t the case. I recently drove a Tesla, you know the extra fancy one with DeLorean style doors, and my expectations were high. I really did think it would massage my back and sing to me because why wouldn’t I? It’s a Tesla. But it didn’t and though the acceleration was definitely faster the overall ride wasn’t much better than my Hybrid Toyota Highlander. Seriously. It wasn’t.
4. One-upping: Halloween should be a time for your kids to get all dressed up, pick up some candy, and be on their merry, sugar addled way. Not so in suburban Connecticut. In our inaugural year we took our kids trick or treating and the first (really big) house we went to the “host” wouldn’t even look at the children. She was too absorbed talking with her friend about how much money she spent decorating her home and that she knew her house looked way better than any other house on the block. Yes, that is clearly what Halloween is about – making sure your house looks the best on the block.
3. Mom’s Group: I moved to Connecticut from blue collar Baltimore where life was about as real as it can get. I was in a Mom’s group there where the ladies would write about finding time to landscape the girl parts and asking for advice on work/life balance. Up here, the posts always start out with, “I can’t believe I have to ask this but….” or it’s inane questions like, “Where can I get best printing done?” Freaking Kinkos! Just go there because do you really think you’ll notice the difference between Pauly’s Boutique I Can Do Anything For You Printshop and Kinko’s? No, you won’t and really your asking is more about #4 than the actual print.
2. Wasted resources: If I had a billion dollars (and I really mean this because I am surrounded by billionaires) what would I do with that? Well, I know what I wouldn’t do and that is build a house to never live in. The number of empty houses here is staggering. Like literally there are 1000’s of houses that have been custom built and never lived in, or lived in for a few weekends a year. A year or two later that house is sold, torn down, and a new house by a new owner that will never live there replaces the “old”. If you literally have money to burn why not do something worthwhile with it and still get the tax write off? There are loads of communities throughout the United States that would happily invest the $10 million dollars you just wasted on one home (not to mention furnishing it! I mean what do you do with the furnishings inside if you’re never going to use that house again and you’ve already built another house while waiting for the first one to sell?).
1. Entitlement: This is easily my biggest gripe and is the worst to deal with. Quite honestly, I could probably wrap all the others into this because it’s all pretty much the same thing. The best example I can give comes from Whole Foods. I’m in the check-out doing my thing and the cashier stops to talk with her co-worker about a price check on one of my items. After 3 seconds (and I’m not exaggerating it really was that quick) the guy behind me loudly states, “what is the hold up here, what are you doing over there?” It took everything in me to hold my tongue and not tell the guy to shut the f–k up and that she’s just doing her job and that he’s isn’t the only person who had to wait. But I didn’t. Instead I thanked the cashier, gave her a big smile and knowing nod as we both understood in that moment who the real dick was.
So that’s it. My reasons for why living in and around the wealthy is really not that great. I realize that in creating my own Top 5 I am generalizing to a lot of people who don’t necessarily fit these descriptions. In fact, I have met some incredible people and there is a much stronger community feeling that many other places I’ve lived (probably because it is pretty homogenous both racially and economically). However, in the two years I’ve had this address I have felt myself shift towards thinking that material goods are indicative of success and that simply isn’t accurate. This is a town of smoke in mirrors and not a place I believe is healthy, yet because there is so much money there is a rampant belief that if you live here you’ve “made it.” As we begin our journey OUT, I am reassured that the choices I have made, which don’t include starting a hedge fund company, are just fine. Especially because it means I don’t ever have own a Range Rover, live in a multi-million-dollar home, get plastic surgery at 35, or send my children to schools that cost $40,000 a year (per child) to be considered successful.