“Roddy, are we rich?”
We were on our way to guitar lessons. I was still working the place that had opened up over the weekend. I wanted to know how much Roddy understood of where we fit inside of current economic realities.
“Yes,” he said, immediately.
His lack of hesitation surprised me. My children grow up surrounded by friends who have more, do more, live in homes bigger than ours and ride in nicer cars than we do. I routinely field requests (which I routinely turn down) to buy a bigger TV, get Wii, buy a nicer car, or let my kids have cell phones. I expected Roddy to look at his world through an awareness of what he does not have.
I underestimated him.
Roddy qualified his answer. “Well, it depends on who you are comparing us to. If you’re comparing us to families in Atherton, then obviously no, we are not rich. But on a global scale, yes, of course we are.”
“How about compared to other people in the US?” I pressed.
“Yes.” Again, no hesitation.
“How do you figure?”
“Well just look at where we live and where we go to school. The fact that we live in this area and go to private school here makes us rich. People who are not rich would not consider living here. The cost of housing is too high.”
Never mind that we rent. Never mind that we receive tuition remission, financial aid, and family assistance for my children to go to private school. Roddy knows all these things. Still he gets it; he understands clearly where our family sits in the big scheme of things.
I wanted to kiss him.
“My best friend got an iPhone today. Can I get one?”