Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Others

I am constantly looking around and comparing myself to others. Yes, sometimes because I’m insecure and jealous. But other times I use this exercise to keep myself grounded. I’ll look at a family standing in the grocery, trying to decide whether they can afford a box of crackers on special and I’ll think, “Lordy, is my life easy.” Of course, I’m not a saint. I’ll also look at another family and think, “Oh good heavens. Thank God my house doesn’t reek of curry.” I’m not really all that nice.
Anyway, if I’m ever feeling bad or out of touch, one thing I can do is visit H’s office. I’ll take the assistants out for drinks and let them regale me with tales of the Other Fancy Corporate Wives. Because, believe me, if I ever think I’m not grounded, these women are hot air balloons.
If I feel guilty about asking H’s assistant to rebook a car that is meant to take the four of us somewhere, I just think about the wife who called asking for someone to find the shoe store where she shopped last summer in Paris and get her the phone number. (It’s on the credit card receipt, darling!)
When I feel a little embarrassed about asking for a personal engagement to be put on his work calendar (just in case a business dinner can be scheduled with flexibility), I remind myself of the wife who called her husband’s secretary with a list of demands to pass along to the party planner. For the two-year old’s birthday. Because apparently her time is too valuable to speak to a party clown.
When I feel bad about asking the girls to put some healthy snacks in the kitchen (next to the entire produce drawer of candy bars! Seriously?) for H, so that maybe we can eke a few more days out of his surely shortened existence, I love to think of one of the assistant’s face when she told the tale of the wife who asked her to bake a birthday cake for their kid’s party. Shaped like a frog.
And when I look around guiltily as I steal a Dr. Pepper Zero for myself (where do they get this? Ocado doesn’t have it!) and a banana for the girls from the office kitchen, I remember that some of the wives ask for the weekly lunch schedule and then “drop by” around noon on Mediterranean day. Like you can’t afford to buy yourself a sandwich? And don’t tell me it’s so you can spend time with your husband. These guys don’t have time to sit and eat. You cheap mooch.
So, no matter where you are in life, it helps to look around and see where you sit in relation to your peers. I’m just so glad that I know so many women who make me look so stinking good. It’s not hard to be everyone’s favorite Fancy Wife in a big office: just be the lady with less attitude and more free martinis!

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