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1.19.2008

I had entertained the thought that twenty-five (almost) years and a masters degree would finally make me exempt from that most inevitable of female roles: babysitting. But such is not the case. (Please accept apology if you are a babysitting male or unbabysitting female. I admire you both.) Here I am after having just put to bed my recent charges, stealing someone's feeble wireless connection while curled up on a couch clearly chosen by an interior designer sometime before the house was occupied by real humans. If you have never had the pleasure of spending quality time in a Country Club home, let me enlighten you.

Country Club dwellers purchase their homes predecorated. There are many reasons for this. First, it always looks good when company comes. There is no object out of place, because every object was chosen by a professional. But that's the trick, you see. You are not allowed to change anything after you move in. Nevermind that you've bought the thing, that the decorations are now your personal belongings and that you can rearrange or dispose of them as you will. They were, as I said before, selected by a professional. So don't touch them. This way, there's never an object displayed sentimentally but garishly, foolishly and tackily... it's all just right.

In order to maintain this lifestyle, you have to leave all personal belongings - besides food, clothes, and toiletries - somewhere else. In a 'first' home, perhaps. Or in one of the dozens of storage units scattered around the Desert (these particular country clubs are in the desert where I live. I can speak with authority of no others). It is my secret opinion - now no longer secret, of course - that this has a lot to do with the age of the average Country Club dweller. Most of them are older, retired folks. And at this point, personal belongings serve mostly to remind them not of the good times past, but of the number of good times and the distance between those times and this present time. That is, they are reminders of age. This sterile, tidy, predecorated environment ensures both class and forgetfulness. It is like living in a very posh vacation. Not like. It is. I suppose that's what retirement means for the wealthy. Very posh vacation for life.

What is weird is when you introduce children to this environment. Not that the kids really care that the coffee table was selected by a stranger and not their grandmother, but the babysitter notices that the colourful paper airplanes look a bit garish on its sleek mahogany surface. Especially in the shadow of the crisp paper flowers in their matching vase. Those flowers which are dustless, and which have not been moved in the five years the house has been lived in.

It is good to remember that these houses are not lived in during the summers. It would be depressing to thing of this being a year-long home. Because it is not a home. It is a dwelling.

One final observation about these Country Club houses: there is never any real food in the kitchen. Some posh crisps or crackers, granola bars, yogurt cups, and lots of fancy wine, sparkling water and ginger ale. But no chicken breasts, potatoes in brown paper bags, bottles of canola oil... nothing to suggest cookery. One wonders what these people eat. And then one remembers the clubhouse. An institution that deserves its very own blog entry. Perhaps another day... but don't hold your breath.

3 comments:

  1. Uh...wow.

    No thank you.

    Is everything in neutral colors? Are all the carpets white? Is the art generic an completely ignorable? Are the dishes real china? Does every bathroom set complete and uninspired?

    Kill me now please.

    I think I need to cry now.

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  2. Out here the carpets and walls and decorations and candles and couches and and and are all that beige sandy colour. It is so in for those rich folk. All of those country club houses look generally the same, and have the same cold scent of canned cat food for their strangely named cats "Muffin" or "Gidget". However, they do pay well for us unsuspecting, well-educated females to watch their little grandchildren or over-indulged cats.

    Molly, I love cat ladies.

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  3. I know you do. Is it odd that I didn't see the cat all of last night or this morning? Perhaps no...

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