Sunday, September 27, 2009

OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW


When a friend becomes more successful I am happy for them. I congratulate them and even I brag about them. I love to see people flourish from their hard work.


Seeing someone acquire new things is wonderful and it's fascinating to watch where the money goes, like seeing a lottery winner as they pick their dreams out from the bounty of material in this world. You see the adrenaline rush going through them, they glow and may even smell a bit different. However, If they aren't careful, they can very quickly become quite gross. Watching the new rich right when they have been given birth to in the very fresh moments of their getting money can be a grotesque and embarrassing sight. It's like someone on drugs.


I won't say she is gross, becuase I love her and she made it her point not to be showy, but it reminds me of a woman who acted much as my godmother growing up. She was striking and looked like Nico but beyond that with a platinum bob, nordic features and white blue almost intrusively penetrating eyes. She was my best friend's mother in first grade and as he and I grew apart after 6th grade I stayed close friends with her and am still. She new I was Gay from day one and has been a great source of childhood information for me as an adult as she was always mortified at my father's handling of me - but those are all very different stories.


She had married a well to do man and they lived in the 50's between Park and Lexington, not West of park however. I'm sure her son being in the school I was in was a part of their upward success, but they were doing quite well by anyone's standards and lived a great life with a house historical landmark country house, so this story of upward mobility comes out of a very exaggerated sense of social ambition on their part. When the husband was promoted to vice president of a gigantic major electronics company the moved to a very large apartment on 5th. Her son eventually went to an Ivy League and she actually got a small island due to a dead uncle.


I have to digress for a moment to say I feel uneasy telling this story as it feels like both a breach of privacy and a demonizing of someone very special and dear, but I am illustrating a point and will continue to do so as this story will never actually expose anyone... As the years passed I saw her yearly for lunch, went to the weekend place with her once as an adult and drank a lot of wine with her. She never dressed in clothes that you could tell were expensive or labels which I always admired (and she was so striking that it was a good idea), but she went on about her associations with dukes and princes and so on and so forth. She did have delusions of grandeur, but I'm sure she also had some realities of it as well. What this story culminates in is one word, one that she used a lot in conversation in recent years and that is 'proletarian'. She was always saying that this and that was so proletarian to no end. She was always totally wonderfully nuts, but now she was imperious as well. She also started only eating gravlax which really concerned me.


That's not to say there wasn't a great deal of warmth to her personality, as well as a shocking intelligence. She did, however, distance herself from things and people that reminded her of her less than illustrious life. When the husband was no longer as filthy rich, they moved to a much smaller 5th Avenue home which she she appeared markedly ashamed to show me. She made fun of herself and all the home accessories she added, as she had always been a minimalist and thought such things were bourgeois (which they are). I don't want to say how things are presently because it's very private and I love her, but needless to say success changes a person and it must be a tough battle for the person moving through the ebb and flow of success and slightly less success. Money will always change you whether you gain or loose it. But I must say that every time I watch someone go through this skyrocketing, if I am lucky or I should say unlucky enough to stick around for it, I always feel myself becoming this phantom like presence to them, a ghost of a personality in the relationships of their life. Things take over. People recede to the background. The great wheel of having and commanding takes over and out of guilt, inklings of compassion or perhaps breaks in narcissism, friendships still stay afloat.


My dear 'godmother' was a jewel nothing like these women above, but today's world abounds with them. All I can say is that when your friends all of a sudden start to make money, be a friend, but stand the fuck back. If you have jealousy, really stand back because it will be bad for everyone and you will actually be more awful a person than you think they are. But if that's not the issue, quietly ignore the social spasm that marches towards you more brash and cluelessly vacuous each time you see them. They are not evil or gross, you are just the same. We are all constantly being beautified as well as disfigured by this machine we are living through.



4 comments:

buffyrules73 said...

This is my favorite Cyndi song. Even though she didn't write or originally sing it. She made it her's. Plus I have a special memory to this song when I saw her live.

Reavis Eitel said...

I loved the garbage can flying over the audience when I was a kid.

drlila said...

oh really? lol. interesting. so you spend your old money in a different way Reavis?

Reavis Eitel said...

I don't really have access to it yet. If I did I might.