Last month I was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot when I had that moment. You know the one. The momentary midlife crisis that you're too young for but still recognize with every crows' foot. Maybe it's foreshadowing. But whatever it is at its evil root, it presented on that particular day in the form of a Honda Civic, gold package, cutting me off as I turned right into my lane.
She drove over the curb, people. She flashed me the special finger known in my house as "Tall Man" from the Thumbkin family. Also gracing that hand was a visible CZ from 35 miles per hour.
Her other hand was busy holding a bejeweled cell phone to her ear. I'm not sure but maybe she was steering with her knee? My shocked self took in her license plate frame as she zoomed away: "Spoiled Rotten Princess."
I drive a Suburban: Red, nine-passenger, flex-fuel-but-still-not-sexy, tows the horse trailer and hauls the feed and keeps my kids safe. My wedding ring took my husband saving an entire summer job's earnings between his sophomore and junior years at a public university. (That worked out okay for him, though, since I worked as a reporter to help pay tuition for the next three years.)
So spoiled rotten princesses may cut me off in traffic. They may assume my loaded Suburban defines me. (And in my neck of the granola, owning an SUV is enough to have you run out of greentown.)
Stereotyping goes both ways, I guess. She may have been a very late-for-court spoiled rotten princess. She may have been hurrying to deliver Costco goods to a relief plane for all I know. I shouldn't judge her by the self-spinning chrome hubcaps on her wheels any more than she should have judged me too slow to follow and too old to fight back in an alley.
I shouldn't judge.
But I'm at the Sylvia Beach Hotel for a four-day, three-night getaway because my family truly does spoil me... rotten.
I've spent the past couple of days writing, reading and drinking tea while the fog alternates with driving rain. Just perfect weather for a bookworm in the West Coast's best Luddite hotel: no phones, no television, no internet, no problem.
Yesterday I read Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve. Beautiful but a little disturbing; just the way I like Shreve. The day before, Northanger Abbey by of course Jane Austen. There's nothing like a little Jane on a rainy day. Today I'm sitting by the fire in the Newport Public Library, where they don't mind if you steal their wifi. Really. I asked. Because I'm not so spoiled as to fail to ask permission.