Some of you are probably wondering what the hell I'm still doing in Toronto. This year off was about travelling, wasn't it?
Well, I alluded to some of what I've been up to in a earlier post (knocking off every single thing that has been lingering on my to-do list for years). But I've been having fun as well as being practical, too. This is a great city when you have time to enjoy it!
I got a glimpse one day of what my life might be like if I suddenly became independently wealthy and didn't ever have to work for a living. Because I was Toronto Symphony Orchestra subscriber last year, they invited me to their launch at Roy Thomson Hall of the 2010-11 season. On a whim, I opted to go; as well as the scoop on next season, we were also invited to stay for a rehearsal, which I was curious to see.
I wasn't exactly the norm for attendees at this event; there was a guy sitting next to me who summed it up succinctly when he stage-whispered to me "You know, between us we bring down the average age in the room by about 30 years." Makes sense, I suppose, since most people my age or younger would generally have to be at work at this time of day; if you're older and retired you have the time to go to these things, and if you're wealthy and not required to work at all, even better.
So I was quite a bit less glossy than most of the women there. I have moments from time to time when I go all out with hair and make-up and coordinated outfits (including, of course, fabulous shoes), but mostly I live in jeans and boots when I don't have to go in to the office. Most of the other women there, however, were done up to the nines: perfect sleek bobs (expensively cut and styled), understatedly elegant suits, conservative but expensive shoes, and make-up so expertly applied that they scarcely looked made up. A few looked me up and down in what might have registered as horror if they weren't so terribly gracious and soignee.
I realized as I talked to some of them that these were all women who were wealthy and professionally-social: the ladies who lunch. I'd never actually encountered the breed before, and they're interesting to observe in a pack. I almost wished I'd dressed up as well so I could attempt to infiltrate and learn first-hand what it was like to be one of them.
I have always worked for a living. Everyone I know works for a living. Most of us come from comfortable backgrounds with parents in professional occupations, but we didn't grow up rich. Some of us now have reasonably well-remunerated careers and can afford to indulge ourselves (gourmet restaurants for the foodies, Jimmy Choo stilettos for those with a shoe fetish). But we still have to work for it -- it doesn't get handed to us on a platter, silver or otherwise.
These women had a completely different attitude. The sheer sense of entitlement that radiated from them was almost palpable; I'm sure it never crossed the minds of most of them that they would ever have to worry about a paycheck. I can't quite imagine what it would be like to have a life made up of charity lunches, spa days and regular salon appointments, couture-buying trips to New York and patron-of-the-arts events like the TSO launch.
It definitely isn't me. I'm not sure I want to go back to schlepping into an office every day, but I do know myself well enough to know that I have to have a challenging job of some kind. That doesn't necessarily mean climbing the corporate ladder or making tons of money; it means something that I find stimulating and stretches my abilities.
But it was kind of fun having a glimpse into that other world.
My version of being a "lady who lunches" was to take myself to Hank's afterwards for a scrumptious sandwich and some of Jamie Kennedy's imcomparable fries. That's as glossy as I need to get.