Hello! You might remember me from one year ago, when I was but a young entrant into that elusive tax bracket we call middle class. What an exciting time it was.
This position elicits great respect. And with great respect comes great responsibility. As per all honourable titles, I am now up for my annual middle-class review, and it’s nothing but good news from the M-C trenches.
First of all, let me apologize for the late delivery of this report. You see, after my last tax appointment, I was distracted by the new episode of Riverdale. I felt I must complement the renewal of my middle-class status with a dose of TV designed for the masses; who else would be watching it if not me? And then, quite honestly, I went to Hidden Figures and was accordingly emotionally manipulated, feeling contempt for my fellow white man, sympathy, great regret at our troubled history, etc., on cue. I capped that weekend off with an episode of Nashville, wherein I truly felt something during the choir-girls-in-the-hospital-room bit, and followed that up with appropriate anger whenever someone finished off a two-minute conversation that had relatively little time to escalate with angry outburst and out-of-room stalking.
Phew. My job was done! It was all in preparation for the next day’s water-cooler chat: I was ready to offer my summaries and opinions on the important cultural events of our moment, with a good dose of levity and slight ashamedness at consuming such trite pieces of garbage. One bit that’s confusing about middle-class cultural consumption is how I’m actually supposed to feel. Bloated? Hungry for more? I’m unsure. See, if I don’t watch these things, I may be cast out of my social strata, unable to make over-the-boiling-kettle small talk in the office kitchen. However, if I am too eager about Rayna’s car accident, or the stilettos Veronica and Cheryl Blossom wore at their sleepover, I might not feel so hip should I bring it up with a couple of bearded dudes judging Ryerson’s Battle of the Bands with me.
At the same time, I am awfully entertaining at book clubs and dinner parties, offering a critical recap of my “guilty pleasures” to raucous laughter, because you see, everyone knows I’m being sarcastic. I don’t actually like these shows. Or do I? Or is the uncertainty just so postmodern and hilarious? Nobody can know who I actually am or what I actually like. Identity is malleable. Subject to external influence.
Oops, I’ve gotten off-track here. You’re curious as to whether I was buying things last year? because my primary duty as a middle-class person is to consume things and keep the economy running. My patriotism reflected in brandishment of brand-name handbags and shiny new versions of kindles on which I read a combination of the latest bestsellers and other literary Mount Everests. I pretend it’s David Foster Wallace, but it’s really Danielle Steel. Etc. I post my progress on Goodreads. I am cultured.
I don’t think I bought as much as I was supposed to. Is there like an average amount to spend, or number of things to acquire each week? I confess to being obsessed with saving money on groceries (old habits die so hard), so I’ve been buying multiple packages of toilet paper and cheese when they’re on sale, and there’s no room in my fridge for artisanal bread crumbs or hand-crafted olives because the cheese takes up like the whole bottom shelf. Note to self: this is an area for improvement in 2017.
And then I realized I should have an inordinate preoccupation with various underclasses and marginalized peoples, since I am now a privileged person and have a) much power and b) time and c) a voice that is quite important. As such, I’m supposed to be taking up a lot of airtime and bandwidth, etc., espousing my opinions on issues like Black Lives Matter and for working-class women who don’t actually get time to write feminist blogs because they’re working six part-time jobs. But one problem with this is, I went to my massage therapist and she said that a lot of my back problems are from carrying too much change in my purse, so I started throwing all my extra coinage into a jar at home, and carry nothing more than toonies, but now what am I supposed to do about the people asking for change? Again, I am confused.
Am I failing this review?
I must have a hobby! I decided, to calm my agitated hands and alleviate wealth guilt. I have this pedal steel guitar (voice of the Southern American working class! Yeehaw!), and the vibrato I can generate from my deep levels of anxiety being worked out with the bar is quite something. I have also taken to bird watching, a new obsession of the white 30-somethiing female crowd who apparently find some solace and grief management techniques in staring at beaks and feathers through binoculars.
Most importantly, I am to sustain an unmanageable level of debt, one which should wake me up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night. Bam. Covered. I still have nearly half of my student debt remaining. Oh, except I guess I wasn’t supposed to take on extra work and cut all frivolous spending in an effort to kill it in less than two years. Another area for improvement.
1. Buy more things. The more clutter they create, the better. By 2019, I should have a storage space with rent equal to my apartment’s to hold said things.
2. Express more concern for pressing topics of the day, mostly through angsty Facebook posts, not any tangible action.
3. Find more distracting TV, and if possible, do less reading.
4. Make sure all reading that is accomplished is of high literary value, so as to be conversant with the upper class to which I aspire.
5. Vote for whichever party says they are going to cut taxes.
I hope my review has been sufficient in demonstrating my promise as a member of the middle class. Should you require additional information, or wish to review anything herein, please do not contact me.