Posted by: Daisy | July 22, 2008

Where the mullets aren’t

Sometimes you get startled into remembering that you live a certain lifestyle.  And your friends are a certain ‘kind’.  Many people assume that most other people are like them – or they are more like them than different.  It seems we tend to look for similarities (or differences) in others and sometimes we need a shock to the system to remind us just who we are, and what labels are used to describe us.

I feel a bit like a smuck for forgetting that I would be considered priviledged to some degree.  Don’t get me wrong, I got nothing handed down to me.  In fact, when my family immigrated to Canada, we came with absolutely nothing and used social assistance including living in Ontario Housing.  If you’ve never visited or lived in Ontario Housing, it’s the pits.  And dare I say it, the families I grew up with were not exactly the best influence.  Luckily for me, even at that tender age, I knew better than to get into those other troubles and I’m extremely grateful for the assistance we got from the system.  It gave us the opportunity that was needed in order to get to where we are today.  We survived living on minimum wage and crawled out of this space.  I worked well paying (read: boring) jobs during the summers to ensure I had money to get a University education.  It was not without sacrifices, and I am well aware that many of my peers today would have no idea what that lifestyle was like to live in.

Today, I would now label us as middle-income with a house in the suburbs that the bank owns through our mega-mortgage just like our neighbours.  We have post secondary school diplomas and certificates and would be considered professionals in middle-management.  According to Census Canada, our family income would be well past average, and at a rate that surprises even me.  Are there that many people in this country who make that little?!!  I don’t think our income is that high – certainly not compared to our friends, yet, here it is in black and white showing where we compare vs the rest of Canada.  It befuddles me.

Looking at possessions, I see that we don’t own any more (remember I have a 27 inch TV from the mid 1990’s) than they do and yet, the stat is the stat.  Ahhh, but friends and neighbours are not the masses and general population, now are they?  If you guessed that all my friends have post secondary educations with mega-mortgages, and professionals in middle-management living in the Toronto area, then I’d say – yeah, that describes the majority of them.  And to describe the rest, just add the words “or want to have a mega-mortgage eventually”.  Amongst that group, I’m average.  The only difference is the group is above average.

I ventured outside my group recently when I went to court over a speeding ticket (more about that another time).  As I stood in line dressed in business casual, I realized I looked much more like one of the lawyers or police officers, then I did, all the other average Joe’s.  It was clear, I was no longer in Kansas anymore as the saying goes.  To some extent, it scared the bejeesus out of me seeing mullets on grown men in ripped, dirty jeans arguing with a clerk while police officers walked in and out through locked doors.  I watched the security cameras and appreciated the constant wanderings of the officers and other law enforcement employees walking through.  I figured if anything bad were to happen, there’d be a swarming of officers in no time flat and us bystanders would be taken care of easily and quickly.  Oh yes.  I thought that people in this room JUST might be crazy enough to do something stupid on camera and with cops everywhere.

Venturing out this far from my usual was scary for me, and I’m sure there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of.  However, I know that emotions like fear, are just emotions, and you can not argue with them.  My saving grace?  Those mullets probably would be scared to death to come out to suburbia for fear of the crazy things people like me would do.

– Daisy

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Responses

  1. Hey Daisy,
    It is funny to find yourself in a ‘class distinction’ situation. Especially if you don’t think of yourself in those terms. I too had a not so rich upbringing and never thought I was above average at all. But then, as you say, you venture out of your comfort zone and take a look around and wonder, ‘when did all this happen? or didn’t happen?’ It’s an odd feeling to see that you are different from others at least in outward appearances. A kind of out of body experience, yes?
    Annie

    Annie – yes, definately seemed a little out of body – either that, or time-warp. Do you know what else is disconcerting? I thought ‘speeding’ was a pretty universal thing done by all classes (though only for those with vehicles and/or licenses, so it would exclude a pretty large group of people too). So, where were the other people like me? Is it that they just pay their tickets and so would never go to court, or they pay someone else to go to court, or what? Just why were there so many people with ripped, dirty jeans and mullets getting speeding tickets? – Daisy

  2. hmmm … i think i relate to this far more than i would have thought and i find that interesting … i kind of see myself as average but yeah i have the degrees and middle class suburbia income in a nice old established neighbourhood close to the downtown core and its weird to find myself here because this is not where i came from. every morning i bike through the inner city core to get to work and when i first started, my heart would pound with fear even though i know from experience that these are not people to be afraid of … its all change in perspective and we adjust all to easy to new situations surrounding by those who are similar.

    its nice to meet you … i look forward to looking through more of your words … found you through annie : )

    Thanks for the visit Darlene! You’re absolutely right – we can adapt quickly to new situations and I know rationally, there’s nothing to fear. The truth though? I’d rather not visit the courts again anytime soon! 🙂 The mulletted guys are more than welcome to come visit me in my neighbourhood I could show them suburban stuff that’ll likely scare them as well! Ha ha ha.
    – Daisy

  3. […] originally posted about my trip to the courts a few months back and how I got startled into a place where I found myself really out of place.  I […]

  4. […] you’ll recall, I got a speeding ticket last summer referenced in these two posts entitled Where the Mullets aren’t, and Guilty and Happy.  Today – I can add yet another to my collection.  (Sidenote, before last […]


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