05 Dec The upper class – do they have more fun than others?
I have just been in southern Portugal with my dad for a few days checking out a few potential projects. Besides that it has also been an opportunity for us to spend time together and talk about life. This has given me a few ideas for posts about parent-child-relations, but what I would like to tell you about here is our last lunch in Lisbon.
Throughout my upbringing I got used to meeting successful people, socializing in the “prestigious” circles and get invitations to exclusive happenings. Even though my parents are getting older and working less, this is still the case from time to time. Before I took a lot for granted, but since I have begun to hang out with people from different backgrounds and also have got a new view on my life, I look at this “upper-class-environment” with somewhat new eyes. I feel both at home and as a stranger at the same time.
My parents are close friends with the current ambassador in Lisbon. They have known her all my life and one of her daughters is a close friend of mine. My dad and I arrive at the residence at noon a sunny Thursday and are welcomed by the personnel helping us to our rooms. It is a beautiful house with four floors and before the lunch we have a drink and take a photo together at the sunny terrace overlooking the little garden. This is also a way of living. 🙂
The “adults” seem to be in a good mood and they are talking about my mothers 60-years birthday party last weekend. It was a fun event with clothing-theme from the 50s in an old venue in Stockholm. Today we are going to have lunch at some exclusive club of which the ambassador recently became a member. This club demand dress code jacket and tie. I did not bring such clothes so I get to borrow a far too big jacket, but my father likes it and calls me “deludingly alike a gentleman”. He has a few of those comments that sticks over the years, I am starting to like it more and more.
A chauffeur is driving us to the club and on the way the ambassador tells us she was invited as member by some hot-shot in the government. Normally only Portuguese are invited, but they had made an exception. It can be seen as a particular honour and I understand this is the reason why we have lunch at this fashionable place, instead of an ordinary restaurant. The ambassador is probably a bit proud but not bragging in any way, rather she is excusing herself with humour on the behalf of the Portuguese for them being so picky with the dress code. She is warm hearted, I like her.
In my family, we are not normally very fond of the poshest places, it can be quite stiff there. On the other hand, it could be interesting to see where Lisbon’s high society is eating their meals, so both dad and I are feeling positive. We arrive and a gentleman in his 70s opens the door for us with a friendly smile, he looks like he has worked there all his life. He thus takes care of the front door and does it with the greatest dignity in his well-ironed suit. Sometimes I get an uneasy feeling to be served and called ‘sir’ by older men who are dressed much nicer than I am, but when they smile genuinely, it is easy for me to smile warmly back.
We are led through well decorated rooms to a private room where we are served a three-course lunch. On the way I observe members of this eminent club, I would guess that the average age of them is 65-70. Today I look at people in a different way compared to before. I am mainly interested in how open they are. Do they look stressed, worried, tired or happy? How is it to meet their gaze? A cheerful and open person like the gentleman opening the door gives me something that can be described as an energy boost in the heart, irrespective of his social status. In a place like this, just as in the same circles in other countries, there are some people who walk around with a face expression like they owned the whole world. It does not really make sense to me and above all it looks dull. “I’m important, this is an important place and I’m probably the most important person here.” It’s like the wrinkles in the face over the years congealed together into this snotty countenance. Quite comical actually, but what a shit boring life!
The majority of the members did, however, seem to have a good time and there was a calm atmosphere. It was a bunch of ladies in the room next to ours and they seemed to have a lot to talk about. They enlivened the atmosphere and gave a charming impression. The staff were all at least 20 years older than me, and the dignity with which they served us was perhaps the most lasting impression on me. They seemed proud of their job in a way that touched me.
High end ladies lunching together
Among the upper class there are people who look down on others. There is also a lot of interesting characters who live interesting lives. Some are charismatic, friendly and open, while others look acidic and seem to not enjoy the material luxuries they have around them. In the end I guess they are all just human beings. What is remarkable is that so many seem to strive hard to be able to get to these high-status contexts. There does not seem to be more hearty laughters in these environments compared to in a regular restaurant, but not less laughters either. For my part, I have landed in the conclusion that the most important aspects for my happiness is to know myself, to do something meaningful and to hang out with friends who spread good energy.
The spiritual journey has made me see how similar us humans still are, beyond all the labels. If we are open we feel the communion and if we are closed we feel separation. An open human gives so much to his or her environment regardless of power, money and status. Personally, I want to be in environments with as open people as possible and I hope that what I do in life will contribute to this opening in the people I meet and for those who read my writings. So far I’m only a beginner. A Babyface ex-brat that explores the human psyche, but who knows – maybe I can make a difference in the end.