R disappointed me the other night. He did something that I've never heard him do before, and never expected him to do, despite his latent pretentiousness.

I drove into town for dinner with him. Found out that morning that it wouldn't be just him, it would be him and his girl. (That's a whole other gripe, even including the fact that I like her.) After some light-hearted conversation, we started on our way to the restaurant. We were leaving from her parents' house, where they are house-sitting, and I recognized the part of town that we were in. R had worked in that area while we were dating a couple of years ago. I asked about it, and we started talking about the people he'd worked with. There was the greasy guy, who was likely a cokehead, and the couple that owned the company. The couple were really nice people who were kind of being screwed by the greasy guy.

R starts describing these people. This is where he disappointed me. "Really nice people. Working class, of course, but just good people."

Did you catch that? He described people by their class. As in social class, not culturing.

I was apalled. I've never heard him do that, ever. Sure, in conversation about specific things (politics, social reform, whatever), we've discussed classes. It's appropriate then. I thought maybe I'd misheard him, but as I ran the conversation through my head over the weekend (and it happened 5 days ago), I realized that he'd actually done it. I couldn't beleive it.

It bothers me only partly that he said it at all. The bigger bother to me is that I identify with the working class. My family is working class, always has been. Yes, we've a family ranch, a large one, but we were never the "landed gentry" in this state. Yes, there have been college grads before this generation, but frankly, it's only in my generation that some of us are going to finally get past/rise above working class and join the (or have joined) the professional class.

R knows this, he's met my family. I have to wonder, now that I know he does in fact classify and think of people according to their classes, what he thinks of me and my family.

Maybe I'm giving too much credence to this, but I've learned, the painful way, that he rarely "accidently" says anything that he doesn't mean. He mis-speaks (often), but, in my mind, a "slip" like this is not something easily misconstrued.

It saddens me.
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2 Response to "Disappointed"

  1. Ribalding says:
    Mar 7, 2005, 2:11:00 PM

    Maybe, just maybe, his use of the concise class distinction wasn't meant as disparaging - rather a quick way to identify larger, more numerous characteristics. After all, cliches and generalizations are made up of many partial truths. And truth, no matter its motivations, is still truth.

  2. jayne says:
    Mar 7, 2005, 7:59:00 PM

    Ah, let me also point out, that I've been cautioned by R to not talk of people in that sense either, because it really isn't giving them credit for being unique individuals.

    What's good for the goose...

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