There is something wrong with me. I can’t get over class rage towards individuals. About twenty years ago my friend Nicola – a working class English girl – told me that seething all the time only hurts me; it doesn’t affect anyone of privilege.
I have kept a series of little TVs in the corner of the counter in my tiny kitchen. When one TV dies, I usually find another for free as they’re the old-fashioned tube TVs and no one wants them. The picture on my present TV, given to me by someone who wanted it out of their basement, has started to shiver.
Someone we’ll call XY advertised a 14” set on Craigslist. He lives just a few miles from me. XY was asking $30 and when he admitted that the TV was from 2001 - i.e. a couple years past its bar mitzvah, I asked if he was flexible about the price. He gave an emphatic no. I went to see it today. He and his wife – we’ll call her XX – live in a disconcertingly fancy gigantic apartment with vaulted ceilings about four stories high. The flat is one of a number constructed inside an old stone church as part of the gentrification of the area. XX told me their bedroom was upstairs along with several other rooms – “two or three,” she said, “I’m not sure. We don’t really use them.”
XY was transferred here to Boston by his company – one of the biggest corporations in the world.
I just could not bring myself to give him $30, even though I need the TV. I should have said that. Instead I said I didn’t realize it had such a huge rear-end (the truth) and I didn’t think it would fit my tiny kitchen counter (not the truth). I should have said, “You are disgusting for charging for something that only a person without many resources would need.”
His wife tried to be helpful. “Why don’t you just buy an iPad and use that? If you don’t have much counter-space you could set it up on a little table.”
If I could afford an iPad for my kitchen, would I be scrambling around Craigslist, asshole? I didn’t say. Instead I said, “There’s no room for a table in my kitchen.”
All that happened to these wealthy people was that they wasted 15 minutes. I’m sitting with a stomach full of acid and a heart full of resentment, and I know that Nicola was right.