I work in Marblehead these days. Marblehead is a little seaside town of about 20,000 people, most of whom own boats. The median income for a family of four is more than double my annual salary, and, as such, I’m accosted by relative wealth wherever I go. There’s no 2/$14 section at THEIR wine store, no half-price dollar aisle in their grocery. Everyone is genteel, composed, polite – it’s like walking among a different species entirely. Pilates-thin mothers carting tow-headed twins into Starbucks, the lot of them tanned, happy, and clad in organic cotton. I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m fat and ugly.
Then, the other day, I was in line for coffee, and there was this girl in front of me. On her shoulder rested a Louis Vuitton bag, and in the bag was a matching wallet. She paid for her lunch order with an AMEX while her topaz-and-diamond ring glittered jealously under the lights. Leggings, knee-high fur boots, some kind of baby blue wrap thing and way too much makeup for 3:30pm… And suddenly, you know, I kind of felt better.
Because, I figured, money can buy you a lot of things. But it can’t buy you good taste.