“No, I don’t care if you have the right-of way. I make more money than you and have a nicer car. You need to wait until I’m ready to go and I don’t care if I am blocking you. It’s my right.”
Not exactly a conversation I had but pretty close if we had exchanged words and not sneers and me honking at him. I honked because I had the right-of-way on a left turn green light. But ya know, he was in a hurry and didn’t feel like stopping at his red light, so he just pulled out in front of me. I almost crashed into him. I honked. He heard me but decided not to stop. He could have. He had plenty of time and warning, but instead he sneered at me and took his sweet time. I hit the brakes and HE SLOWED DOWN TO MAKE HIS POINT!
I’m used to these assholes. I grew up with them. My childhood was spent in an affluent neighborhood with lots of rich kids. We spent our afternoons and summer at “The Club.” That’s what we called the country club we belonged to. Full access to tennis, swimming, and golf. We just walked in and did what we wanted. If I wanted a nice lunch, I walked into the clubhouse and ordered whatever I wanted. If I wanted a snack at the snack bar, I got what I wanted and it was put on my parent’s tab. They got a bill at the end of the month and life continued on.
I took golf and tennis lessons. I was on the swim team. My brother was mistaken for a black man because we were all so tanned and he had an afro. We were never hungry and we appreciated what we had because our parents made us earn everything.
I had to keep my grades up, get my homework done, get all my chores done (including babysitting my younger siblings) and be given permission to go out and play. I had to pay back what I had charged if it exceeded my allowance.
We were taught manners and good grammar 24/7. I don’t know how many times my mother said “Don’t talk with your mouth full” or “Get your elbows off the table” before it stuck, but it did.
It was drilled into us that we weren’t better than anyone else, to say “Please” and “Thank you” and to smile and shake someone’s hand, to stand up when they came into a room and to make them feel welcome and important and to always open the door for someone else.
We were shown this. My parents walked the walk.
So it’s amusing to me – when I’m not so pissed off that I can’t see straight – to watch the “new wealthy” around these parts. We’re very used to lots of money being made out here and lots of money being lost. I know my way around snobs and bigots and I remember how hard my parents fought to force “The Club” to enroll the first Jew and the first black family. It took too long, so they cancelled their membership. They took their business elsewhere and joined another club that was not prestigious or well-known, but they got to play golf and there was a variety of all different types of people, not just white.
So when someone tries to play off the privileged card around me and they are within earshot, I ask something very simple and direct:
“May I see your green card?”
This pisses them off to no end and it makes me chuckle for unless you’re a Native American, you’re not from around these parts and should be grateful for what you do have.
You’re not entitled.
None of us are.