Friday, September 18, 2009

Reverse Snobbery

Over Labor Day weekend, we ate at a restaurant which had pretty decent food, a lovely view, overall rather nice except one thing.

Or rather, two.

First, it had the strictest no substitutions, no modifications policy I've ever seen. Even Burger King lets you change the order to suit your likes. My mother in law wanted fries instead of potato salad. Nope, not happening. She loves to have her soup hot- so hot that I would incur third degree burns on my lips, tongue, and throat just attempting to eat it. When she asked that he make sure it's hot, the waiter told her "it comes as it comes" and given that she had twice attempted to request something other than strait from the menu and that my turn was next, I was on the receiving end of a tirade about how the restaurant did not tolerate modifications, substitutions of any kind, alterations or anything of the sort, that it had an assembly line production and things came as they came and unlike in Manhattan there was no changing things.

And that brings me to the second thing and the subject line of this post.

The waiter automatically assumed we were Manhattanites. Only two of the four of us were, and let me say that E and I rarely make any requests for changes to what we're ordering. The waiter was frankly rude in his behavior, repeatedly drawing attention to how much trouble it was for him to ask for light dressing on my father in law's salad, and talking to us like we were somehow beneath him, or perhaps the tone was more like we were spoiled children asking for the biggest piece of cake.

*me rolling my eyes*

The part of the beach we were visiting that morning was Montauk. It's much lower key than the other areas nearby, aka "The Hamptons" and I understand there is a love hate relationship with the locals and those who come only in the summer. They love the summer folks' money, which support that economy year round in a way the fishing industry doesn't. But they hate the attitude that *some* summer folks bring with them.

The hate end of the love hate relationship often comes out as reverse snobbery. It's when someone is snooty with you because they assume you are a snob, which usually comes with the implication that you are a rich snob.

Look, I'm the first to say that people with money can be obnoxious. Sometimes they're just annoying, but multiply that by thousands and it's more than annoying.

So I get it, I do. At least to a point.

E and I live in a nice building. Our rent is high, but the services available to us, from a nice little gym, to porters who bring up big things for us (like that Amazon box too heavy for me to carry in my current state of pregnancy), security folks who escort delivery men to our door, a dry cleaning place where we can drop off our dry cleaning without leaving the building, a good sized shared play room with all the big toys you'd want to have but can't fit in your apartment- all these services are well worth the price.

And even among those who live in the area, we've experienced some reverse snobbery over this. The kind of, Oh, you live THERE spoken in a condescending tone of voice. The how can you afford to live THERE? questions as though we're not both professionals, one of whom has been practicing law for eight years. People tend to make assumptions about who you are and what you're like so quickly.

When you live in NYC, people assume certain things about you. My younger brother was talking to a friend and told him where we live and his friend dismissively called us latte sipping limousine liberals. Because obviously we must have a limo to get around (we do get other people to transport us, it's called the subway or a yellow cab), because sipping lattes makes one a snob (mmmm....Chai latte, how I love thee), and because "liberal" is used as an insult interchangable with snobbery and some other political implications I'll never understand because I am not defined by any political label thankyouverymuch. My brother replied that we were nothing like that and offered to "take it outside" (he's a Marine, that's how they settle things).

I have found myself emphasizing our thriftiness when I talk about what we have. We got a new computer with a big screen, but it was a special deal. We got a used Wii. We buy things in bulk. We use Zipcar instead of owning a car. We switched cell phone carriers to save money, even though we got nice phones but we didn't get iPhones on AT&T because that was way more expensive. We have our groceries delivered, but doing so saves us from impulse buys and also from buying things we already have (because we're usually at home when we make the order).

Ok, rant over. now back to your regularly scheduled day. Which for me will include a limo (aka Long Island Rail road) ride out to Great Neck where I will surely have Fillet Minon, caviar, and quail over hand picked wild rice (aka a roast chicken, latkes, broccoli, and for desert, something chocolatly I'm sure), accompanied by live entertainment (aka traditional Jewish prayers and extensive talks about law and or politics and possibly my brother in law's upcoming wedding), and topped off by multi-staged transportation (Long Island Rail Road followed by a yellow cab) back to our Manhattan penthouse (aka 950 sq feet of home).

Shalom, Y'all!

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