Rich and miserable.
Yesterday I went to Dundrum shopping centre to see Sweeney Todd with The Little Goth Kid, and The Spaniard (the film was gory, entertaining, love Helena) After the film, we three poodled about the centre itself pondering what to have for lunch. We went with sushi.
Now while sitting at the counter and in between gobbling noodles, peas and eating raw bits of fish I was hugely entertained by two ladies sitting beside me. I"m going to call them Portia and Constance.
Portia was about fifty, she was thin to the point of brittle, she had choppy blonde highlighted hair, she wore designer jeans tucked into knee high boots, a dazzling white shirt, a Ralph Lauren Blazer and more gold than her body weight should have been able to support. She had the obligatory welder's mask shades shoved high up in her pompadour.
Constance was younger, the beta female of the pair. She was almost a photo fit of Portia, but less put together, her hair was long and ironed straight, she too wore skinny jeans, and glasses, and a shirt and a blazer, but somehow I could tell she didn't have the effortless style of Portia.
First off the way they ate was hilarious. They would pluck bowls off the belt and then ONLY eat the fish, avoiding like the plague the little beds of rice they came on. They drank about four glasses of wine each in less than half an hour. And then there was the conversation.
In between taking miniscule bites of food and deep gulps of wine, they spoke about the struggles and trials they faced daily. The difficulties of getting their clearly vast broods of children into the right classes, the right school, the right teams, the right colleges, the right everything.
These two women bitched CONSTANTLY about every aspect of their lives. I have never heard two more unhappy women. I cannot adequately describe the deep loathing and contempt that crept into their voices when they spoke of their husbands. I know I only heard a brief snap of their conversation but the hatred was so... visceral. They hated their cleaners, and spoke with fury about how they had to 'show them' how to do their job. They bitched about their friends, discussing gleefully how one had 'really let herself go' and how another was 'losing it' with her kids. They both sounded un-naturally happy at the thoughts that the housing market was stagnant, exclaiming cheerfully that far too many people were convinced they were millionaires just because they owned a house.
Both of them were furious about someone called James and how cruel he was- the bastard. I must have missed that one, I have no idea why he was cruel. But I'm sure it was a humdinger.
It went on and on, furious, cold, angry, hurt, raging, bitter. After a while I had to tune them out, difficult as they were so loud even people across the counter glanced their way occasionally.
When they got ready to go, I stole a look at their shopping bags. Harvey, Massimo, Lacoste. The best money can buy. I felt flash of envy.
I glanced to my right. Gothy was in the middle of telling the Spaniard about how Jared Leto's brother was like the drummer of like 30 Seconds to Mars and how like, Leto had like told the crowd at the gig she'd been at that like, they were all one big family and that like she thought that was hilarious, and a bit like culty of him, and I could tell from the Spaniard's expression that she had no idea who or what the hell a Jared Leto was and if Gothy was telling her she had just joined a cult or not.
But she said nothing and nodded along, catching my amused eye at one moment and grinning.
My momentary envy evaporated, here we were, women, 16, 35, 44, not rich, not skinny, not glamorous, no cleaners, not angry. Okay, we had no high end shopping bags either, but as Gothy hoiked up a chunk of rice with her chop sticks and informed us that Jared Leto was not as hot as he thought he was, all seemed right with the world.
When I dropped The Spaniard and Gothy into town and drove home, I was still thinking about the women. Who the hell knows what goes on behind closed doors? Both Portia and Constance looked -on a superficial level- like they had everything. But clearly the were missing something. Surely you cannot be so nakedly furious and unhappy if your life is fulfilled. I'm being genuinely honest here when I tell you, I have NEVER heard anyone speak with such open hostility about their lives before. Never.
I wondered about them for a while longer. When I got home the Paramour-who had spent the morning chasing a ball around with other grown men- called me from the kitchen, where he was reading about grown men who chase after balls but in a professional capacity.
'Hello.' I said, taking off my coat.
'How was the film?'
'Musical and surprisingly gory.'
'Look what I have.'
He opened the over door and there is was, rhubarb crumble.
'You are a prince among men.' I said.
We many not be rich, but I love him and he loves me and we're happy. I'd take that over all the shopping bags in the world.