Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Not keeping up with the Nguyens

Yesterday, which was Labor Day in the US, I attended a barbecue given by my boyfriend's coworker, whom I had not yet met. I have never been terribly fond of being the only ones I know at a party, but we ended up finding people in the crowd with similar interests to talk to. What struck me most was how similar, and yet how different, their gathering was from what one of ours would have been.

Our host spent the entire afternoon barbecuing continuously. I have never seen so much meat all in one place, and I'm not sure I know what all of it was. He had a huge sack of oysters (I don't even buy potatoes or onions in bags that large) and grilled them almost nonstop throughout the afternoon.

It was also something of a housewarming party for them. They bought that house very recently, certainly within the past month, and have only just moved in and started fixing it up. We had a late summer housewarming party, too, but we moved in in March. The difference was that we did the work (at that stage, mostly heavy cleaning and painting) entirely by ourselves. They are throwing money at it, despite having just bought a huge house in Silicon Valley. The part that really gets my goat is that they are planning to rip out a fairly new, attractive granite countertop in order to replace the admittedly dated cabinets underneath. It seems to me that I would find some way to refinish or reface those cabinets, instead, but they assure me it cannot be done.

On top of that, he, unbeknownst to his wife, plans to buy her a fairly pricey new car for their first anniversary, which is approaching rapidly. Our new cars, by contrast, came three years later, after some recovery from the house purchase, and with both of us participating. We purchased each of them because the one new car we had shared no longer served its purpose.

I thought they must have fewer belongings than we had. They obviously had a back bedroom still in progress, but the furniture, while sparse, made sense in its space. Ours still doesn't, even when the house is as tidy as we can make it. I learned afterwards that they have stuff in storage.

We do have some things in common. Both households have impressive home theater systems, mostly at the behest of their respect


Post a Comment

<< Home