Yesterday was a school holiday for both the teenboy and me. This gave me a chance to catch up on a huge chunk of the projects I have due. The teenboy had downtime, so he invited a friend over to the house. She’s very nice. This was an interesting observation in teenage social interactions. They insist they are “just friends”, but for two teenagers who are “just friends” they are constantly flirting with each other.

But that’s just my perspective, I suppose. We all have our perspectives.

At one point yesterday I crossed through to the kitchen to grab a snack (one must eat when working on projects). Teengirl was admiring the décor of our home, but I heard her mutter under her breath, “rich…”.

Puzzled Cat


I suppose that was her perspective…

I said to her, “Excuse me?” She tried pulling the “oh, nothing” on me, but I did confront her on it. I asked her if she just called us “rich”. For some reason that offended me (I’ll go into that in a moment). She ‘fessed up and blushed a bit. I smiled and put her at ease. I told her we are far from “rich”. I’m not working. We’re just lucky my car is paid for and we don’t have much debt. Mr. Magick Man doesn’t like to pay retail for anything, so most of what she sees we get wholesale. If you shop around you get excellent prices. You don’t want to just impulse buy the first thing you find.

She lives in a lower income neighborhood not far from our home. I told her I grew up in a neighborhood just like that. We called it the barrio. “Where you live doesn’t determine who you are.”

Now. Why was I offended because she called me “rich”? That took me by surprise. Was it because I grew up in the barrio? Is it because we’re a single-income family? We’re making ends meet, but a single-income family doesn’t have extra income for luxuries in this economy. I keep going back to the old neighborhood, though… is a part of me proud of being that barrio girl? Does a part of me identify with that?

Comments? Opinions? What’s your perspective?


3 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. I grew up in a home where we seemed to be “well off”. I have been called “rich” before and my parents were always offended at that “title”. My dad had a great full time job at the Ford Motor Company for many, many years. But so did most of my friends parents. But, my mother was and still is a very thrifty person with their money. They stayed out of debt and we didn’t spend much money on extra things. She was frugal with what dad did make. My mother never worked either. Now, my life as an adult has been totally different. I have most always lived in lower income neighborhoods and barely made it paying for just the necessities. To me they look rich lol. But actually dads is retired and they are living off of all of the money they had saved over the years and of course retirement from working all of those years at an automobile plant. You are right. It is all about perception. Two families can make the same amount of money and the difference really is how they spend it and save it 😉

  2. Poor little girl. You probably scared the snot out of her. 😛
    I think that our economic status during our childhood helped us both to appreciate the things we have now. We have an understanding that in order to achieve what you want, you must work for it. And that stems from our knowledge that in order to get what you want, you must work for it. Whether it is material gain or personal growth, our childhood hardships (and seeing our family struggle financially) have made us hard-working people. Therefore, what we have (and own) is not a frivolous afterthought; it means something. Every stick of furniture, every item of clothing, every dish….it means something.

    I won’t speak further for you; this part is my opinion…
    Personally, there is an underlying prejudice toward those people whom I consider to be rich. There is a feeling that they haven’t worked for it and it has all been handed to them. Admittedly, this is not a good perception because most of the “rich” people have probably worked very hard and have been smarter than me. But I think, maybe, I’m jealous of it. I would love to be rich and have a maid, and a chauffeur, and a cook, and a personal masseuse! I don’t have these things and therefore, I’m not rich, and I’m a bit mad about it. So when you call me rich, yea…I’m offended. I’m not rich.

    You most likely have different reasons for your response; I just thought I’d share mine. I too, am offended when someone offhandedly implies that I am rich. Child pallleeeaassee!

  3. I think the key word is “perspective.” In general, we judge others to be “rich” when they have more (or better) possessions than we do, or when they can do more (family vacation every summer).

    I remember one Christmas when I was a kid, my friend/neighbor had me over for a visit and I was floored at how many presents were under their tree. My sisters and I usually only got a few small presents each. Of course, my first reaction is that they MUST be “rich” because only rich people could afford all those presents! Yes, those kinds of judgments are loaded with assumptions, but it’s a natural reaction for a child or a teenager that doesn’t know how to squeeze a dollar out of a penny.

    Now, as an adult. I’ve had money to spend, and I’ve had to collect and cash-in coke cans to have enough money for rice and beans for two weeks. At this point in my life, I figure if we have food on the table, clothes on our back and a roof over our head…. every else is icing on the cake. And yes, I would call this life – with our smart phones, super fast internet, satellite TV, DVR, food, snacks & candy in the pantry, our once a week Friday night date, our cigars & drinks and our occasional trip to the shooting range – a “rich” life.

    I get to indulge a lot of our wants, and I’m not worried about how the hell I’m going to eat till next payday. So, yes, IMHO, I am rich, as are most of the people I know.

    But that’s just me and my $0.02.

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