Monday, July 02, 2007

Living Beyond Ones Means

There was a great article in Toronto Life about a year ago entitled "Faking It". Faking It described the scads of RosedAliens and Faux Hillary's whom had big homes, big salaries and great big scads of debt. The accompanying article interviewed desparate housewives crying about having to cut down on fresh flower delivery, moving into "smaller" centre hall houses in their attempting to downsize, running up enormous tabs at Pusateri's, while cutting out a family trip to their favourite five star resort in Jamaica. Cue violins.

Now the residents of the Village aren't exaclty scraping by like the lovely woman who makes latte's in the morning at Starbucks (I've heard her complain about her poor wages during smoke breaks, so I'm not making a snap judgement about how people who work at Starbucks may be financially marginalized - this is a fact, reserve your judgements for when I'm actually being a hypocritical judgemental asshole, k?), but in the minds of the article subjects - they were indeed just scraping by. And really, Faking It, may as well be the license plate inscription, were the Faux to become its own province or state.

The Village of Forest Hill
Motto: Living Life in Luon
Creed: Faking It!

Faking it, is in many ways a class disease. My boss at work, who grew up in a nice suburban housing tract of North York and her husband (from somewhere OOT (outside of Toronto) both probably make as much as my parents do, difference being - she's a WalMart shopper, Sima as you may or may not have guessed has never been to WalMart. Boss's motto - why pay more if you can get it for cheap at Wal Mart? Same distinction found Sima spending the GDP of Lesotho on a hand made leather sofa from a store on King East, when Boss found something similar at Ikea. Now Sima may never have been to Wal Mart, but she has, of course, been to a Target. In fact she loves Target. They do have cashmere at Target if that's a barometer of anything. And really... that's what the Faux is all about. The supposedly 'finer' things in life. I bought really nice beef ribs for my ex at Pusateri's for a BBQ, prompting my boss to ask, "who buys meat at pusateri's?" I do... and so do my neighbours? In Toronto it seems that your postal code determines your shopping habbits.

Family friends the Silverstein's (not their real name) have a huge house a couple of blocks away. They drive two late model Mercedes Benz's, she has a Cartier watch encrusted with diamonds... yet their house, according to one contractor, is "one snowstorm short of falling apart." It's completely empty inside, devoid of furniture - see as long as the flower planter is the biggest on the street no one realizes you can't afford to furnish the place. And certainly - the Silverstein's aren't poor, nor are they close to filing for bankruptcy - in fact should they sell the house, move into a smaller place they'd be laughing all the way to the proverbial bank. But - remember people, life in the Village is all about showing and not telling.

But faking it is not just about class, it's also genetic. Luckily enough though my peers have learned such valuable lessons of show and tell from our rents.

Take Pat who decided to move out of the family house near Summerhill. Fair enough right? Eventually every Alien must leave the nest of roses, but must every Alien run up a monthly tab at Summerhill Market? Claiming poor to their father at the end of the month? No spouse not.

And on to myself... like father, like son indeed. I've recently found myself an apartment to live in (yes I know... I'm moving, another post my friends, another post). The apartment, an overpriced shoe box, happens to reside on a pretty tree-lined street in the city's faux hippie enclave of the Annex. Renovated turn of the century houses, stained glass windows and crown mouldings... where else would a son of the Village find himself? Cityplace? The Bloor West Village? Cabbagetown. Please. Why would I find a cheaper apartment a little bit further away from downtown? Why would my parents buy a house a little bit further north, cutting down on their mortgage? Because that is who, for better or worse, we all are.

Point being? My carpets may be threadbare and I may only be buying myself tulips once every month but my apartment will be located on the right street in the right neighbourhood and I will be overpaying beyond my means for that right, and that my friends, is how its done in the Village (or in the Annex), bitch.

3 comments:

Lawrence said...

And you are close enough to come by every once in a while for tea.

FauxHillary said...

lawrence, you are the best friend i've never had.

Silvester said...

God I miss Pusie's; I can only drewl when I think about those jumbo buffala mozarella balls...mmmh