They were women no one felt sorry for. They lived in beautiful homes in sterile neighborhoods and drove Escalades or Navigators that matched their husbands. Maybe one was white and one was black and one at least had the little family of stick people in the window, except for the woman whose children were grown. She drove a two seat convertible and rode a Harley Davidson. Her husband had a jeep with a bikini top and a horribly uncomfortable backseat. She’d tell them that’s what you do when your kids are grown. The women would gather on her front porch to drink wine that wasn’t expensive but wasn’t cheap either. Washing away the day in true suburban style.
Mostly the older woman thought of herself as an observer. She was shocked to hear herself saying she didn’t like Hawaii because the natives treat you like shit. That Hawaii is just “a big reservation on an ocean”. How Belize was so much better. Belize was the perfect combination of poor (read quaint) without real poverty. The children are fed and healthy for the most part. She tried to sound noble saying she didn’t want to cruise up to an island on a floating mansion with enough food to feed a third world country knowing there were children outside the gates who hadn’t eaten in three days. Who were living in ditches or caves and were hungry. Saying “it feels like a Dickens novel”. Oh she was observing all right. Observing herself becoming someone she barely knew and didn’t like.
Her good friend’s words echoing in her heart: “The things people with money talk about… The trips they take (eyes rolling), the wine they drink. Sooo boring.” Her good friend who still has an important job and no husband to pay her bills. The woman felt bored and boring and guilty. Other people make the world go round while she’s just filling hours in the day. She watches the X-ray technician and feels more admiration than she probably should. She wants to apologize to the barista for driving a BMW and not having to get up at 4am to “open the stand”. She wants to apologize for having health insurance. So she tips a lot more than she probably should. The tipping makes her think for a moment “maybe I have a purpose”.
She’s a woman no one feels sorry for. She knows that. Back in the day, when she was an expert, when she contributed, how many times had she scoffed at women like her? Women with big homes in gated communities driving nice cars with nowhere to go. Feeling superior and jealous at the same time. “What do they DO with all that time?” She and her friends/co-workers would wonder. They talked about how they would live if they didn’t have to work. The trips they’d take, the house they’d own, the charities they’d support. They talked about how “in shape” they’d be if they didn’t have to work. They thought they’d be good at having money.