In Wrong Neighbourhoods

Some people exist outside of the usual societal flow of life. One can expect a person who is driven to achieve wealth and high office to live in an appropriate neighbourhood.  One who acquires wealth is likely to live where acquisitive people of achievement own the surrounding homes. However, some people acquire wealth without first earning professional credentials. That might cause them not to blend comfortably into the neighbourhood of ‘old money’ inheritors and young dot com billionaires.

One can imagine a young couple from humble backgrounds, acquiring great wealth from their success as builders of custom motorcycles. Within five years, their small, store-front shop outgrew the facilities and moved into a large suburban industrial building. They are innately good marketers and hire the best people in design and fabrication. Their ambition, as with most working class people in that city, was to live in the exclusive neighbourhood where other rich families had homes.

The Davidsons saw the sign removed from the lawn of the grand house next door. Obviously, they were curious and hopeful that they would have quiet, interesting neighbours. They soon learned that their neighbours were extremely interesting, not always in a way that the street enjoyed. The first clue was the contents of the moving van.

They watched covertly as the movers carried into the splendid home, a table made from a huge cable spool, a huge bladder for a waterbed, a pair of garish, orange and blue recliner chairs, and a set of moose antlers. They were able to afford the best home, but lacked the grace that surrounded them. While the moving people continued to empty the truck onto the street, the new owners arrived on loud Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The young couple was Doug and Angelica Watford. Doug’s Harley was a showy chopper, with a large, chrome skull on each side of the teardrop shaped fuel tank. Airbrushed flames swirled around the sculls and up over the tank. The chromed front forks extended out and carried a small, spoked wheel while the rear tire was massive.

Angelica’s motorcycle was a stock Harley Sportster, except it was painted bright pink. The most worrisome feature, however, was the sound. While enjoyable to motorcycle enthusiasts, the hollow mufflers and modified engines made for a window rattling cacophony… especially when the two took off in the early mornings to go to their shop.

There are people of wealth and standing that do not enjoy the company of most people of their status. They prefer a simpler way of life, perhaps in a rural area. They arrive at the picturesque village house they purchased within commuting distance to their offices. They bought it with the contents included. They had the massive old dining table, the wood stove, the ornate light fixtures, oak doors and so on. Neighbours, sitting on their front porches, saw a grand piano go into the house, along with many bookcases and boxes of books.

Friendly neighbours soon dropped by to welcome the Winstons to the village. Some of them brought fresh garden vegetables or baked good. The Winstons accepted everything graciously, and established arms-length friendships with neighbours on the street. Often, when the Winstons sat on their porch reading, a neighbour might drop by to sit on the porch steps and chat.

That’s where the Winstons realized they were in the wrong neighbourhood. The friendly neighbour was chatting about the need for more snow next winter, or his cousin Morton who had lost a foot to the harvester, and so on like that. The Winstons loved the village pace, the friendly surroundings and closeness to nature. They had to pay for this way of life. They absorbed the neighbours’ small talk, and avoided saying things that would challenge the friends’ limitations.

The country people had wisdom about all there was in their rural environment, and superficial knowledge of the rest of society. The Winstons came to understand the local society, and flourished in the wrong neighbourhood. Some people just don’t fit anywhere.

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