The day after the family party...whew, that was fun. Not.
I don't think certain members of my family mean to be unhelpful or patronizing or anything else they sometimes seem to be. I think it's a class thing. There are quite a few of my family members on my mom's side of the family (I really have no contact with my father's side of the family and haven't since my father died in 1975) who are wealthy. Or at least well enough to do to where they can comfortably live on the Westside. There aren't any left who are struggling enough to where they have to live on the Valley side of the Santa Monica Mountains. My aunt Karen was the last to move from a Valley address, albeit one South of Ventura Blvd., to a Westside address. I'm the only one left on the Valley side. And I live in a...well...let's call it a "working class" neighborhood and leave it at that.
It's like there's this huge disconnect between my world and theirs. The hardest thing they have to deal with is the tight real estate market and how the stocks they are holding have been tanking since Dubya came into office. The hardest thing I have to deal with is survival and paying bills and making sure I get good grades in College. If someone's BMW or Prius or Mercedes or Lexus has a little case of indigestion it's no sweat to get it fixed, and the place they take it to will have a loaner or limo service until the car is ready. If our station wagon has trouble, we are fucked.
Some understand that we are the "poor relations." In a way, that's even worse. "Oh no, you didn't have to get gifts for the girls..." one cousin said. Aside from the gifts for the gift exchange, I had only brought gifts for these two little cousins of mine. They were inexpensive and it did my heart good to give 'em. "They have so much..." she finished, trailing off with a frown. She didn't say "you probably couldn't afford it in your state of affairs" but that was the unsaid context. Man, she didn't know how bad that comment was, and how much she made me feel like shit when she said it.
I always come away from these events with an inferiority complex. I'm the loser of the family. I'm the poor relation. I don't fucking play tennis at a country club or hold down a six-figure salary. I don't think they mean to make me feel like shit. But they do.
The holidays suck when you are broke.