Class Act

Class Act

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,12 January 2016

By and large it seems that given the opportunity, a lot of people will be terrible to their fellow human beings. ‘Murica may be the land of the free and all that, but dear sweet baby Jesus do we just love lording it over people whenever we get the chance! Maybe that’s why we’re still so enamored with the British royalty 240 years after declaring our independence. Secretly we all want to be the king and order people around.

At least that’s what it can feel like working in a service industry. For example, let’s take a look at the multi-gazillion dollar wedding industry. Helping a friend with her floral business I find that while some clients and their families are kind, plenty look right through you as if you’re not even there, and some are so rude that you practically have to bite through your tongue not to stand up for yourself when they’re treating you like garbage. I’ve had people let the door slam on me as I’m struggling with an arm full of flowers and seen people point and bark orders into my friend’s face. It’s super fun!

I wonder how these people behave in their daily lives. When they’re in the office, do they shriek at their subordinates? When they get home, do their families quake in subservient fear? It seems more likely that they have no real power in their lives so that whenever they get the chance to exercise authority over another human, it goes straight to their brains (or straight to their phenomenally teeny micro-penises as the case may be).

Although many in this country are about as comfortable talking about race as I would be walking around a gun show, we’re even less comfortable talking about differences in class. We’re a democracy goddammit! And we don’t take kindly to no royalty telling us they’re better than we are…unless there’s a slight chance we could be that royalty. If there’s a chance we could be the top 1% of the 1% then we’re full-on ready to see how far we can go, and what we can actually get people to do for us for money. We believe in equality…or do we? We talk a lot about equality but the word doesn’t seem to mean the same for everyone.

Think you’re different? How do you treat those in service around you? Do you look them in the eye or walk by them as if they’re invisible? Are your manners the same for the sanitation worker as they are for your boss? When you’re dreaming up what you’re going to do with those Powerball winnings, do you imagine never having to do a thing for yourself again? Do you think about how you’ll have your whole family living on easy street? What sort of a boss or overlord do you think you’ll be?

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Image Credit: Orin Zebest on Flickr

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