I’d like to believe that even the most hardened cynic took pause at yesterday’s nuptials across the pond. Yes, it might have been unavoidable; the event was EVERYWHERE. But I think also that there was an appealing draw to it all. Perhaps the collective aura that makes us human wants to believe in princesses and fairytales, in true beginnings-in true love.
I know I do.
I also want to believe in the anything’s-possible premise that is embodied when a girl from simple beginnings turns from commoner to royalty before a wanting world.
Kate was one of us. Or one of our children, at least. Off to college –the first in her family- with the hopes of having an even better life than the one her parents were able to provide for her. That she met and saw William as classmate first, that they became friends, only offers us further foundation to believe. Maybe this is real. And maybe fairytales do come true. Even to common folk.
Peppered among the dignitaries and dynasty-born wedding guests were regular people who might well fit with the likes of us anti-aristocracy Americans. Kate invited her friends and family, but also her butcher, her postman. The barkeep at the local pub.
That makes sense to me.
Not just the invite to the bartender. Although I’ve always been of the mind that you’d never neglect the guy pouring the drinks. But also the notion of extending invitations to people who matter in your life, even if they might not quite fit into your new one.
I don’t think you judge someone by the size of his wallet or his house. Or where he might have gone to school. Or who his parents are.
I may be naïve, here.
My husband has a bizarre assortment of acquaintances. He counts among his friends men with big names and big degrees. But also men who can’t read or write. One of his friends is into his seventies and still laboring. Another generally lands in the top 20 list of wealthiest Americans.
He considers them all friends and he talks to them with the same level of deference.
I get that, too.
My own net of friendship isn’t as wide, but I follow a similar conversational route.
In a recent visit with my nephew, we were talking about brushing elbows with famous people. I explained that in the few instances I’ve found myself in the company of some sort of celebrity, I’ve been pretty unfazed. This coming from someone who can’t speak before large groups, no matter how well I know them. But one-on-one, I’m fine. Even if it’s a pretty big ONE.
It works the other way for me, as well.
At the college where I work, the president is frequently onsite. When I see him, I say hey, nod. The same way I do to the man from Physical Plant who I now refer to as Mr. President. He’s always tapping furiously into his blackberry as if he’s awaiting a message from the Pentagon –he must be the president-as he walks the halls and empties my trash.
I know that this egalitarian bent doesn’t always fit to real world politics or life.
Even though the college touts its diversity, it’s not. The haves outnumber the have-nots. And although I don’t know how the kids treat one another in class, I know it’s pretty hard to hang together when not everyone can afford the same hang-outs.
Money is often a separator. To some extent, it always will be. But while it may divide, it need not define.
One of my students doesn’t like when someone assumes he knows her just because of what she has. The you-shouldn’t-care-what-people-think speech I offered fell hollow. But she shouldn’t. Self-worth is a way better measuring stick than one that considers dollars as destiny.
Kate’s measure of monetary worth might not have reached the benchmark of many of her classmates. Reports say that she left one school as a girl because she was bullied. As parent to a daughter who suffered her share of unsisterly salvos, I cringed at that info.
But then I thought –to the bullies –your once-victim will someday be your queen. How’s that for wanna be?