A Cast (e) of One

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

(dark & ugly essay warning; these feelings are just my feelings at this moment, not judgmental commentary on any reader here or elsewhere)

The idea of Unity is a sham that will never happen. We are all divided by invisible, unbreachable barriers of social standing.

We were having an amazing discussion last night, when I asked my husband how many people we could have the level of discourse we were having there were in our real world. The answer came up fairly thin. Sure, there were some, many of which have ended up living far enough away that we only see them once a year at Mini-Woodstock, most of which are people we met and befriended years and years ago. I am wondering if moving to this area was not a HUGE mistake. It seems chock full of bubbas or McMansion wannabees.

Most of our immediate circle these days are… how to say it? Sweet, adorable, fun, lovable people who think in totally alien ways to our thinking. Its not only their lack of education, their very interests and ability to make the leaps are different. Its hard to say what really binds us to them, other than convenience, other than the commonality of our social standing as members of the midwest rust belt working class.

Here on the Tubes, it is somewhat easier to find kindreds out of the thousands, at least per subject matter. You can find allies and equals to carry on nearly any level of discourse you choose. Of course, those relationships would never carry over to the real world, unless your social position is similar.

The truth of the matter is I fit nowhere. People like me don’t.  

Of course, I can mix in any company and have in the business world. Ice sculpture soirees, with champagne fountains, been there, done that. Like the topical internet, you are all there for the business interests and commonality of discussion under that umbrella.

Its not like I cannot mix in a factory rat bar rife with ringing country music either. Been there, done that too.

But neither of those situations create any interest for maintaining a relationship, either.

Some of you reading me are researchers, college professors, and international business traders. But truly, I could never run in your circle of friends, even though we agree politically. One doesn’t talk politics all the time. Lets face it, I have never summered in the Hamptons, I don’t go boutique-ing, I don’t belong to any Golf or Country Clubs, and I don’t have a yacht. I have not seen the latest indie film, nor gone to that play, nor seen that wondrous cellist. You would have to provide the proper clothing for me even to be seen in your circles. I don’t lounge in swirlie skirts with designer shell tops. I find socks with sandals to be a reprehensible fashion crime. I don’t gym at the spa, I work. I have no context for the things you do to entertain yourself. I would be at a loss for even the lightest of conversation. My nasal midwestern tones, and the ease with which I slip into common use of expletives alone would brand me “rube.”

Hell, I have found most of you don’t fit with eachother, either in the higher levels of that social set. Most discussions center on possessions, purchases and vacations. Whether there by the grace of a scholarship provided ivy league education, her Daddy’s trust fund or as a trophy wife, unless you are born to money you are always suspect, always a bit amusing and spoken down to like a treasured pet. Wayyyy to much time is spent dragging eachother down to raise one’s invite status. And Lord knows, you must be seen, must make the right appearances to keep your calender the right type of calender. The sense of entitlement that they carry, “I work so hard, I deserve this,” totally blinds them to the fact that they are pigs of overconsumerism: This years new car!!! You should see the bells and whistles! Check out my new motorcycle, earrings, jet ski!!! Look at images of any gathering from the uppercrust, and the whiteness will blind you. No, limousine liberals aren’t racist, they are classists, and lets face it, whites have all the dough for the most part. How many black auto repairmen or Hispanic welders do you run into at the Opera anyway?


Yet, on the other hand, many of you are working class grunts like me. Still, at loss there too. I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars,” “Idol” or fucking “Glee.” I don’t know a single country singer’s new work. I am not a sports freak. I don’t bowl or play poker. I don’t go to bars, so don’t know the newest line dance of which you speak. I don’t hunt, know how to can or go antiquing. I have little in common with my peer class, either, socially… and my propensity for using “big” words brands me “snob” as easily as the profanity frightens the other set. I find tearing the sleeves off a t-shirt to be a reprehensible fashion crime, too. I despise racist jokes and have no context for rap music.(the rap may be an age thing) I don’t do NASCAR. We have the commonality of the struggle the upper echelons can never truly understand: actual HARD mandatory physical labor, the struggles to feed our families and rob Peter to pay Paul, things they would never understand. For most of my peers, that’s about the only connection.

Then it gets regional too. I have no context for subways and taxis and the crowded streets of New York. They have no context for yard work and gardening. I have no context for the surf culture or the obsession with Hollywood and Film Industry. They have no context for the seasons and winter. One of my Michigan friends just moved to Tennessee and finds the people there lazy. I’m sure the Tennesseans find them work-obsessed and hyper. Our food is different, our music is different, the very tempo of our lives are different. Our very voices are different.

I was born with the curse of a genius (yes, tested, not bragging) mind trapped in the Caste of a working class world. I was unable to break out with subsidies or grants; the very labor of taking care of the working class parents while they died sucked what little chance I had left. I am unable to enjoy many of the mindless pleasures of my social group, yet in the social group I am intellectually stimulated by, I have not the graces to carry myself. I have a razor sharp grasp of any subject matter presented, yet get a big red FAIL when the name-dropping and book-mentioning and other “collegiate” cred is produced. I stand bland eyed.

Sure, many of us would get on fine one on one, in our own homes. At least in small doses, heh. But we would be as alien to one another as, uh, aliens trying to run together socially.

The internet world is an equalizer of sorts. Most people are anonymous, and those who are affluent usually take great pains to hide it, especially in the Liberal Blogoshpere where mentioning one’s wealth blithely while espousing being a Populist may just water down the effectiveness of the message. The broke are usually pretty up front about it.

Its not that I’m lonely, I could have a very busy social schedule should I wish to fill my time in a less picky way. I just don’t like what most people like. Heck, I just don’t like most people, really, in real life. I have little stomach for the shallow and hollow and wish for meaningful things. I have no stomach for the lies people tell, no patience for the airs they put on, absolutely no tolerance for wasting my time breaking some barrier to find the real people inside most people’s shells. I detest deceit.

People surround themselves with likes.

I just fit nowhere.

I’m sure some of you feel the same way, for different reasons.

But UNITY? Phhh, we cannot stand the way one another acts, lives like nor eachother’s social constructs for the most part. There is a caste system of wealth in this nation, beyond the uber-elites who run the show and us. There is a caste system in everything we do, everyone we socialize with, every part of our lives down to how we entertain ourselves and the amount of free time we have in which to do that.

In reality, there is no getting past the caste system of cash.

It is as hard a fact in the US citizenry as India’s forehead mark. Only here in fantasy land do we breach it, and mostly by sins of omission.

Even those of us who agree on most things Political still brawl about minutia on the net.

Its funny, I love humanity, I can find something to love in just about everyone… but really, people are just so alien to me for the most part.

My play remains a cast(e) of one.

And unity was a fine dream I have forsaken for reality.



Skip to comment form

    • Diane G on November 3, 2009 at 23:41

    Although I have written something with enough in it, its bound to piss off just about everyone. Heh.

  1. are beautiful.

    Having a mutant day, are we? Me too. lol


  2. you seem inward at the moment…..

    blessings on your journey……

    I like your writing…….

    thank you……..

  3. I read that and saw reflections of myself…how did you get in my head?…amazing!…you are not alone.

    • TMC on November 4, 2009 at 00:39

    I like your writing, your philosophy, your ideas, your energy to fight for what you believe…I like you..

     I understand not “fitting in”. People don’t always like me, either. I had very few friends in school, none in college (I was nearly 3 years younger than anyone else). My neighbors are a boring, mindless lot that I can’t hold a conversation with, and truthfully, I don’t want to talk them about anything.

     As for “unity”, wouldn’t that be boring?

    • Edger on November 4, 2009 at 00:53

    with a blank “fitting in” expression so you look like you “belong” in the matrix, then go home and be you when they’re not looking. They’ll never know it was you who crashed their system.  

  4. in every newspaper and mainstream blog in the country. It speaks for the great silent majority. Even the Country Club wives. There is so much pretense in society. Just look at any of those Merchant Ivory films.

    We adopt roles, as you elude, in some kind of Method Acting process and refuse ‘contact’ based on caste – even though we yearn for human intimacy, even if only in moments. And a caste can be so many things. We are divided in so many ways. But to deny wealth is the BIGGEST caste is to channel Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane.


  5. “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a sort of alienated majesty.” – Ralp Waldo Emerson

  6. a larger background. Or another way to put it, this essay comes close to art. Now I like this a lot. Our culture lacks a quality of art which, if it had, would provide perhaps a bridge to authentic interaction. In this short comment, I am using the term “art” rather loosely, but I mean an honest expression of emotion which, I suggest, provides the “best” common ground for an authentic intellectual exchange. You succeed marvelously here with your words. I relate.

    Thanks for the creativity. We need more of this.

    Now we need “politics” to have some “soul”——

    But unfortunately our earliest example of blending the two ended in failure: Athens flowered for a time, but the patriarchy was just too suffocating. And today?

    • Robyn on November 4, 2009 at 18:00

    …for decades.  One thing that was clear to me is that you have do conception of what my existence is like.

    I still live one check away from being on the streets, just like I did 40 years ago.  And as a transwoman in a cisgendered world, I have next to no social life outside of my time with my partner.

    • icosa on November 4, 2009 at 19:14

    I have been having these same thoughts lately.  I longed for years to find ‘my people’.  A few years ago I discovered the blogs and there they were.  I have tried to explain this to a few people, (friends/relatives) and they have no idea about what I am talking about.  I live in a different reality than most everyone I know.  The internet has been a gift for me. To read my thoughts in your words confirms again that I am not alone.  Excellent essay Diane.

    • Inky99 on November 4, 2009 at 19:35

    I’m only sorta kidding.

    The reason I live in Los Angeles is not because I love it, I don’t — I don’t think you can love Los Angeles unless you’re insane — but because it’s the only place where there are other people who are similar to me.

    Elsewhere I am a freak.  And everybody in these other places seems to me like a freak.  They seem like nice innocent freaks for the most part, and considerably happier than the people here.  I’m always amazed how fucking HAPPY people are outside of Los Angeles (at least in other cities FAR away from LA).

    I wish I could live somewhere else.   Maybe some day I’ll try it again.  

    But once you’ve lived here for a while, you sorta can’t go back.   You just don’t fit in anywhere else.

    No matter who or what you are, you’ll find many others like you here.  

  7. while I was in the car… embed disabled, oh well.

    Simon & Garfunkel, Fakin It.

  8. fashion advice.


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