I heard it said the other day, "kids don't understand class systems." I think, unfortunately, that this is very outdated thinking. They may not understand all the principles of socio-economics, but they get the basics. And they definitely know what they are and where they fit in. Or at least where they want to and don't. Or vice-versa. And sadly, they realize it now more than ever.
Even when I was a kid, we had them and us. Generations before had it, generations to come will have it. For me as a kid in KY, it was BMX vs. 10 speed. We all rode bikes everywhere, and you were one or the other. Most of us NCO kids, with stay at home Moms, had BMX style, single speed bikes. Some Officers kids who would come to our housing area, or kids whose Mom's worked, got the upgraded 10 speed deal. Them, us. We told ourselves, that although ours were PX specials, basic bikes, they were cooler, because we could do tricks and such. Also, they could be dumped into feilds pretty easily while the 10 speed kids were looking for hard enough ground to set their kick stands.
In Germany it became athletes vs non-athletes for me. I was, others weren't. Their wasn't a whole lot of crossover. It had nothing as such to do with economics, but if you were, you became popular, if you weren't, you were background. It wasn't right, and I recall having non-athletic friends, but, truth be told, they were mostly teammates.
Then came TX. I never knew until we moved off base, to TX, that we were "poor." Or so I was told. Granted, I had a stay at home mom and an NCO father who made less serving his country than the ambulance chasers who walked into his ERs scrounging, but I always had what I needed. And wanted for that matter. I honestly can't recall wanting something as a kid and being told no. I know I was though. So whatever it was, my parents were right, it wasn't all that important. And I think, on average, that I "wanted" less than most kids. Some G.I. Joes, some Transformers, baseball cards, and sports equipment. All supplied, done. But in TX, we were in the real world, not on post. So there was a greater diversity in household income levels. And I was, all of a sudden, "poor." Didn't stop me from having a good time. I was still an athlete. Still had lots of friends, friends I maintain to this day. I wouldn't say I was the most popular by far, but I got by. Still made good grades--which I managed to make a moot point by stupid collegiate behavior--and still got scholarship offers.
Along came college ,and I was just a number. No one outside my circle cared enough to make fun of me, pick on me, or anything else. It was a very segregated lifestyle. As someone who grew up interacting with all races on the playing fields and courts, it became extremly apparent to me that college was divided. I was no longer an athlete. As mentioned above, I was stupid enough to waste my intelligence at the start of school. I was a fraternity guy, I was a GDI (blank, blank, Independant.) That was more because I couldn't afford it than anything else. Yet again, I made friends. Had Megan and Leasea not come along, Tim and I may still be sitting on the couch playing NCAA and Tiger Woods, drinking beer. (Dang you ladies!) My friends spanned all sorts of backgrounds, and lifestyles. And shockingly, it broadened my horizons. Go figure.
I think not being one thing really helped me be a lot more. By no longer fitting into a box, I created a circle. A circle of friends and loved ones that I can rely on and go to. Lean on and cry to. Hang out with and fight and make up. While I may not keep up as well as I should sometimes, I can pick right up where I left off with most of them, and I know I have plenty I could go to if I really needed something. And still, they range all different types, lifestyles, backgrounds, income levels, etc. I don't really have a point I guess. Just musings. Ramblings on a line mentioned on a radio show.
I write this as a fortunate one. Someone who is blessed with a wonderful family and friends, a wife with a great job that provides for us and so much more. Someone who has been more places and seen more things than I ever thought I would get to. Who gets to take vacations. Who owns a home, has insurance. Whose daughter has survived serious trauma. Food in my belly. Who is able to contribute to causes. Go to church where, when, and if I want to. Yep. I am a lucky one.