I live in a condo that my dad owns. Trust me, I have my own demons about it. I'm quick to defer any compliments about my home by making it clear that I'm a good for nothing, freeloading daddy's girl slowly suffocating under the weight of my pathological Peter Pan syndrome. Can I get you a drink?
In all seriousness, I do have a certain amount of self-loathing about it. Actually, that's putting it too harshly, but it's definitely a topic over which someone could easily call me out and I'd just have to take it. No one in my life does that because, well, they're not evil bitches.
Having said all that, the place isn't swanky or anything. I like it a lot, but it's sort of delightfully tacky: I have a mirrored wall, lots of bleached hardwood, a "sunken" living room, and when I moved in, the downstairs bathroom was rocking the most garish, purple-blue-silver wallpaper you can imagine, which actually covered the back of the door. My friends called it the disco. And of course, this savory package comes with a family of 27 next door who are offended by the way I close windows, a little girl who tries to kill cats, and a pushing-50 whack job neighbor who stumbles over whenever I have friends over, and was best described, I think, by Melissa a few months ago:
We were well into our evening when Crazy Neighbor busted in all Kramer-like, sporting a trench over a blazer over a sweater topped by a neon orange baseball cap that said Jamaica on it. In his time with us, he wandered around marveling at the decor, recounted his dinner with a sketchy Sopranos-esque figure, told rambling tales about G. Gordon Liddy, reminded us several times that he oversees four mental health clinics and has 80 employees, tried to engage us in group therapy, told Red that each of us were people she would stay in touch with forever, and shared a green, leafy substance that turned my compatriots into zombies.
Anyway, I haven't changed much about the place (well, I got rid of that bathroom wallpaper). Of course, some of my neighbors have.
The other thing is that I live in a city that I couldn't afford to live in otherwise. I have to drive twenty minutes into another town to get to a grocery store that isn't Whole Foods. I like their sesame-crusted salmon and garlic green beans as much as the next person, but who can shop exclusively at a store that doesn't sell Diet Pepsi or Goldfish crackers? The first time Party Jen raided my cabinets for post-drinking snacks and found unsalted organic peanut butter ("and why is there LIQUID on top?") I knew I had gone too far and had to spend more time shopping at places that take coupons.
It's a tired, largely untrue stereotype that rich people are snobs... everywhere, that is, except for where I live. Of course, your paycheck-to-paycheck friend here can't count herself among their ranks, but I swear, it's a stereotype that most of these folks wear with pride. Or should I say a furrowed brow and a sigh over the fact that they have to push back their mani-pedi because the nanny is running late. I once watched a woman who probably lives in a three million dollar home berate a cashier at CVS because she couldn't give the woman the Globe at a discounted price despite the fact that it was missing some piddly style section that hadn't yet come out that day. Even the mall near me is kind of snooty and filled with 26-year-old stay-at-home moms lethargically pushing double strollers. The mall! Malls are supposed to be Gaps and Orange Juliuses! And I've told you about how out-of-control my gym is.
I'm not sure what it is. Maybe the proximity to Boston breeds young, new money families who aren't ready to forfeit their chicness and move to the suburbs, or commit to cranking it up a notch and take off for Manhattan. Instead of it keeping them young, there's something kind of sad about it... faded glory and whatnot. And as the least hip person on the planet, saying that I don't see eye to eye with many of those with whom I share a zip code is an understatement.
I'm not planning to move any time soon. I mentioned the free rent, right? But I will not ever, never, ever live here if I decide to raise children. And in case you're considering moving to the area and are interested in knowing where NOT to live, that'd be where I am, on the epicenter of aging, self-conscious hipsterdom. Excuse me while my four children and I push to the front of the line at Oishi (with a take-out container of edamame only). Hel-lo, we're running late for our 2:00 family hot stone massage.