Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Einstein's Played Out... Here is my Theory of Relativity

After almost 5 months in Sunny Republicanville, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that concepts such as “well-off/broke”, “educated” and “diverse” are relative terms.
In Liberal Yuppieland:
Broke - adj. Your car is more than 5 years old; your rent is less than 2K a month (though by the time you’ve reached your mid-30s, you really should own a third-to-half-million dollar house slightly larger than a post-it note but in the right zip code); you only shop at TJMaxx/Marshalls; you spend less than $100 getting your hair done; you take exotic international vacations less than once a year.
Educated - adj. You have spent roughly the cumulative GDP several medium-sized countries on multiple graduate degrees, which may or may not be useful in any capacity but bragging rights at cocktail parties. You are fluent in at least three languages, and Flyover States American English doesn’t count. If you’ve reached your late 20s and have neither Down Syndrome nor a graduate degree, people are impressed that you can still maintain gainful employment.
Diverse - adj. You have friends from every category that you have actively sought out to prove how open minded you are - your Australian Aborigine friend, your Gay friend, your left-handed senior citizen Capricorn friend.  alt.  Your ethnic background is kind of diverse if, say, your heritage is Liberian-Norwegian-Hmong-Wampanoag-Martian.
In Sunny Republicanville:
Broke - adj.  Your car is younger than you are.  The structural integrity of your home can withstand someone farting loudly indoors. Your groceries go on your debit card, and not your EBT card.  The latter is mostly because, you don’t have an EBT card.  How does a cashier know that I don’t have an EBT card?  Easy:  The Universal Law of how tell if a woman is…
Well-off - adj. Your fingernals don’t necessarily look like complete crap, but if they’re painted, you did them yourself.  Acrylics, gels, and those little rhinestones and funky painted designs in blindingly loud 80s colors have never seen your hands. You don’t have the money for that sort of thing, like you would if you earned minimum wage. 
Educated - adj.  You have completed high school.  To be fair, I think this is an impressive feat here, if the high school near my house is any indication.  I was out walking during the school day back when I was 8.5 months pregnant, was mistaken by a teacher for a student, and ordered to get back to class. Um… crow’s feet, wedding ring? You going to report me to the truant officer for not having a Master’s degree?  (It’s not that I couldn’t get into grad school and kick its ass, it’s just that I haven’t found a job I was passionate enough about to make that kind of investment of time and money. But why am I defending myself here?)
Diverse  - adj. Your ethnic background is diverse, if you are not multi-generationally inbred. I presume this is a vestige of this area’s Dust Bowl Okie heritage.  While standing in line at the grocery store today, Pillbug (who has blue Japanese eyes, Black lips, and skin just dark enough that I think he dodged the bullet of inheriting my freckles) and I overheard a WASPy woman telling the cashier, “My son is a human United Nations!  He’s Scottish, Danish, German, and Irish… that’s why he’s so exotic looking.” Honey…  your little boy is cute, but you can’t call a blue-eyed blonde “exotic-looking” unless you live deep in the Serengeti or something.
I’m still trying to figure out which is “the wrong side of the looking glass”, Liberal Yuppieland or here.  Sunny Republicanville is not by any stretch of the imagination the ghetto or a hick town.  We don’t have one Neiman Marcus per every 100 people as per stringent Liberal Yuppieland zoning regulations, but there is a Montessori school, multiple starbucks, a BMW dealer, etc.  We just also have honky tonks, a major road named after a country music star (whom nobody's ever heard of outside of this town), and a disturbing amount of mullets and acid-washed denim (sported on days that are not Halloween).

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