I've discovered a new species of mum at Isabel's roller skating class. The sound of clinking jewellery and stink of privilege in the changing room is almost overpowering. It's only one postcode away from our (very respectable) neighbourhood, but another planet where the mums spend their days organizing exotic holidays and ordering an army of underpaid foreign staff to peel organic kumquats for their delightful (a-hem) and inevitably tousle-haired offspring.
They emanate a sense of belonging and manicured self-entitlement that I probably only managed to pull off once in my life: the Market Square in Alton, circa 1996, AKA my teenage prime. Everything's been a bit shaky and uncertain since then to be honest. Never since have I felt such an unshakeable feeling of belonging and righteousness. Thank goodness.
Being a masochist and uncontrollable chatterbox, I can't help myself but start up conversations with these women - which is not easy because when they are near me, I seem to develop the magical superpower of complete invisibility. They chat amongst themselves of course, but that's because they recognize their own species at 100 paces. I think it might be something to do with the Lovely Hair and Rather Special Shoes. They even have their own dialect, which for the purposes of this post, we might call 'Lake Speak', ie:
'Are you off to the Lake house this weekend, darling?'
'Yes, even though I don't know how we're going to manage since they stopped stocking Beluga caviar and Kopi Luwak coffee at the local deli. And the poor children are going to have to make do with just the two tennis courts as we're having the other one turned into an infinity pool.'
Still, I chat away, despite the gulf (jet) between us. There's not much common ground - they don't even get wet in the rain apparently. I was telling one about my journey to the class that week, with Jack on the back of my bike and Isabel riding hers, all of us in rain capes, waterproof trousers, snorkels etc, and she simply looked at me, eyes wide and said, 'What a frightful life, darling'.
I know. I sound jealous and spiteful (I am, both). I'm sure they have their own very real problems simmering beneath that glossy/matte surface. Actually though, I'm not jealous at all of a lifestyle that allows for NO EXCEPTIONS: in this tribe there's only one way of behaving, talking, eating, holidaying and probably even pooping. It's a trap that's got them caught as tight as the clasp on a brand new Louis Vuitton clutch (which, in any case, is definitely too small to fit a pair of roller skates - which might explain why they have to bring the nanny to class: to lug the €200 skates).
The daftest thing of all though is that while I'm busy bitching about them, they sit around bitching about the mums from San Carlo (Milan's most expensive private school).
But that definitely means that there are people somewhere bitching about me...
Opps. Forget everything I just said.