Privilege, in its out of the nest spasmodic role in my life, is very confounding. Despite being raised amongst relative fiscal comfort and at the very least, a semblance of prestige (coming more from decor than demeanor), a large section of my growing bubble of self doubt is my increasing awareness that I will more likely than not, be unable to thrust myself into the stratosphere of that upper tax bracket. My confusion stems from the inequality of the shear amount of time I pour into my vocation and my fiscal rewards. In short, I feel stupid around rich people. I can’t work any harder or for any more hours (unless they find that 25th one locked away in father time’s Off the Wall shoebox under his spare couch in the rec room downstairs) but still, they make more and I make less. I am missing something. This lack of understanding makes my intermittent interactions with the more prosperous either awkward, frustrating or just incredibly confusing. And, of all places where I interact with the wealthy, the most baffling by far is the gold seats at the Air Canada Center during a craptors game.
The privilege to attend games featuring those very men that I fantasize about (not in the dreaming way of course, I’m referring to the much less erotic but more time consuming and inexplicable to many, fake sports way) has been bestowed upon me by a family friend that I refer to as Uncle Phil. At unpredictable moments between November and April, I am called upon to jump on the TTC and fill the void beside him. The price I pay is measured more in recent NBA chatter than monetary compensation. Knowing the status of Fred Jones’ contract situation with the Clippers is clearly worth the price of admission, right?
Through my many years of swilling beers, swearing under and over my breath and too infrequently jumping out of my seat and clapping, I have failed to discern what exactly sitting in this pricey section demands from its patrons. I have taken in games amongst young children, drunk teenagers that can’t keep their hands of each other, hardcore hecklers and soccer moms who’d rather be spending their Sunday catching up on organizing their photo collection of their ugly child’s every waking moment. The exorbitant price for the ticket seems not to filter out society to the point that one would expect. I remain unsure of how and why most people have come to sit in section 119. My confusion was as never as prevalent as this past Sunday while taking in the visiting Sacramento Kings.
As I am included in this category myself, I have no problem with jumping like a poorly acted Darth Vader to reach the perplexing conclusion that the Torontonians around me didn’t conform to my accepted vision of those that can toss away hundreds of dollars on a sunday afternoon to watch the funk that is Kevin Martin‘s jump shot. Do I expect exclusive Biddel designed skinny jeans and panda bear fur cardigans? No. This isn’t courtside. Still, disposable income for craps tickets should equal disposable income for bettering one’s image.
To illustrate my point, I offer the following snap-shot of section 119.
To the front and the right of me were seated a lovely young couple straight out of my favourite video parody of 2007, Chongalicious. The gold hoops that pulled on her ear lobes could have doubled as rims on the court and clinked against her mobile which barely left her ear. I could picture her acrylic nails running through his cornrows that were pulled back by a cheap red sweatband and flowed down his leather jacket, barely concealing the top of a blazing red Ferrari logo. Is proudly wearing the hood ornament of a car company that you’ll never be able to afford worse than relying on a Sharpie lip liner? Your guess is as good as my conviction that neither of them held a high school diploma.
To their left and directly in front of me sat a family of five sitting in four seats. My confusion as to their ability to afford seats in the golds but not a baby sitter bothered me fiercely until confounded by a new line of questioning. Was she ten years older than him? Is he in High School? Is this illusion based solely on the observation that she clearly hadn’t seen a stylist, hair dryer or mirror since the birth of their latest? Is this mess what I have to look forward to? I am now cursed to never procreate? Is Mikki Moore scarier than this woman? Life……. so many, many questions.
On the other side of Uncle Phil was not Aunt Viv but a very ginger, very awkward and incredibly Jewish father / daughter couple. Their faith was at first only mildly obvious due to the properly perched yarmulke on the father but quickly after settling down, it became clear that the only brew the father would be enjoying was the Hebrew in the book he persisted to read for the entire duration of the game. I didn’t hear the daughter speak until the fourth quarter when she responded that yes, John Salmons can certainly finish in traffic with certainty.
My brush needs to paint one last stroke across section 119. I was intrigued by the audio commentary from the female voices coming from behind me during the second half. I discerned that they were two relatively close friends. One of the two was clueless as to the ins and outs of the NBA while her friend, the more informed, worldly and obviously the overall better person, knew that Joey Graham not only had a twin brother but also that said brother currently plays for the Pacers. I doubt that Joey even knows this. I was curious. During sections of uninspiring ball featuring Bobby Jackson chucking airballs where the hungover ACC crowd was particularly quiet, I was able to drop a few more eaves. This girl really knew her ball. As my carefully timed peer was about to reveal though, she was in no way the perfect mate I had only began to imagine lying in bed with, debating the historical importance of the 2004 draft class in our matching Charles Oakley Car Wash T-shirts. She was maybe 14. I immediately felt like I needed a shower and a new job.
The rich. I’m clearly too normal / observant.