Neither of the women sounds particularly insightful as they chat about the hazards – at their age – of diving off the Great Barrier Reef. (The one woman having “done it now” three times in the last 15 years.) All that swimming is hard on the joints.
“Oh, I’ve just the best physiotherapist, did you know,” patting the other’s arm affectionately, “he’s the best in the city.”
And they talk of the ‘seasickness’ they got from riding camels in the desert.
And their dogs? Both purebreds, of course.
A quick glance up from my book and I see that they are of the people who crave the middle class lifestyle of Official Approval. They wear this year’s fashions. They have this year’s hair. And nails.
The type who will take this year’s Oprah’s Pick to the cottage, but will prefer to peruse a lifestyle magazine instead.
Last year they drank Malibu Red, this year its Mongolian vodka.
Most of these women prefer yoga and jogging to sex, but I suspect that says as much about the men they marry than anything about bending over backwards and sticking your head up your butt.
They are of the gentrified class that has come to my old neighbourhood. That crowd who, ten years ago, were all over the first Starbucks that moved into the neighbourhood, but who now mock those who still drink that chain-store swill Starbucks calls coffee. Now it’s all about the indie-café and their locally produced almond croissants.
This café on the hill is the current place of choice. With its cream colored drywall, HomeSense furniture, and its central air, it contains the holy trinity of interior design for this crowd.
Humans are social animals. We identify with others, for they both support and protect us. But the Gentrifiers are truly a herd apart. They are materialists to the core. They purchase only those items considered the best. The street out front is littered with BMW’s, Benz’s, or Audi’s. (The cars are only ever black, silver, or grey. Unless you are a husband going through a mid-life crisis. Then it can be red. Or navy-blue.)
Their drugs of choice are prescription. They like to wear $300 jeans on the weekend. They support farmer’s market boutique cheese, master carpenter home renovators, blonde yoga instructors, dog walkers, Filipino nannies, and the latest restaurants.
They love to jog through the park across the street, but they never just take a book and sit in the grass and read.
As I sit and wait for my out-of-town friend to arrive I see coffee-table sized picture books of Paris cafes. Preferring, as we do, to go there for culture, history, and beauty, rather than building our own right here.