Friendships changing

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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Re: Friendships changing

Post by Clarice » Fri May 11, 2018 8:43 pm

Sclass wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 4:24 pm
It actually sounds kind of ridiculous if you haven’t had a sip of the Bay Area (“bestest place on earth!” ) koolaid.

I enjoy a lot your observations about "the bestest place on earth" in general and Los Altos in particular. They are very funny and very much consistent with the way I view this theater of absurd (while living here). Overall, people treat their money the way Hollywood stars treat their silicon: they have suffered for it, they gonna make sure you see it. Humble brag is very popular in the form of calling any house that is less than 3000 square feet "small" or emphasizing with humility that one lives in Los Altos and not Los Altos Hills. I budget for maintaining friendships - the girls' night out, for example. They don't do potluck parties over here - too exhausted for that. The recent outing set me back $79. The stuff that I actually ordered with the tip was about $30. On the way to our cars one of my girlfriends cataloged in great details all her aches and pains (headaches, neck pain, back pain, knee pain). I was nodding my head sympathetically while thinking, "Why did you order dessert? Do you know that sugar promotes inflammation? Why did you eat so much? It's not healthy." I didn't think she wanted my honest opinion. This friend lives 1/4 of a mile from me - a distance she often covers in her Mercedes SUV. Out of all my friends, my husband and I live in the most humble house, drive the most humble cars, and spend the least on eating out, but I am still a part of this madness and have a $79 restaurant receipt to prove it. :shock: Hang in there with your mom! I feel your pain - going through exactly the same. :(

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Re: Friendships changing

Post by Sclass » Sat May 12, 2018 9:11 am

Thanks Clarice. I was so inspired by this thread I picked up the phone a few times this week and called my pseudo family on the peninsula. You know what, they were really happy to hear from me. It is so easy to tap my phone and get them instantly it seemed kind of ridiculous drifting away and then torturing myself about it. It was good catching up. Even if the only time we had to talk was during their 237 commute. I had to time it right so we could chat about non essential stuff.

Los Altos was a weird place. It is just concentrates this certain class. So much is driven by fear and envy there. Freakish. I rented my grad school apartment a block from the country club on arriving to the valley. I ended up staying in the area half of my life.

That was awkward with friends and family. I recall my first boss squared asking where I lived and I said near the CC. He said, “nice, I live near the country club. Where?” I could feel the tension building. I said, “near the back nine on the creek.” He was silent. I dumbly pursued, “sir, where do you live?” He stammered out, “on Fremont near 85.”

Big faux pas for young Sclass. Boss squared stopped chewing his food. I basically called out that he was not a Los Altos Hills resident but a lowly Los Altos resident. Worse, he lived on the Cupertino border God forbid. And he’d be mouthing off how he lived near the country club. My boss jumped in to smooth thing out, “Sclass rents a room in a home up there.” Boss squared smiled and exhaled. He was back in a good place knowing he’d sold his soul to HP for good cause. No little kid could snatch that which he’d paid dutifully for.

That’s how twisted those people get. It happened half a dozen other times with co workers. Guys screaming, “What!? How do YOU afford to live there?!” Seriously rude talk from people I’d just met. I guess I was supposed to answer I lived in Sunnyvale which was more appropriate for an engineer at that time. Oddly relatives also made mental notes that I stayed in town after moving to a home near downtown. “Do you even own that place?” One would rudely ask. Another would answer, “no he rents it and it’s a tear down.”

“But why?” Another cousin would say, “how are you going to save money renting? You just rent there to look rich? One day you’re going to have to come back down to earth and buy a place like the rest of us in Milpitas or you’re gonna destroy your financial future.”

So fast forward to today. To all these SV folk I guess I was “posing” living in a rented multimillion dollar pile of straw in downtown Los Altos. I finally was going to get what I deserved for not living at my station for 25 years. Heck, I was supposed to live at Escondido Village with the rest of the destitute Stanford students, then buy my first home in Santa Clara, and make payments on it by kissing ass and politicking at Intel or HP till I got all obsolete. But no. I refused to take their life/financial wizdumb and presto, I jump out of the hat and I’m retired!

“What, how?!? That guy the Los Altos renter?! He must be penniless. He doesn’t own a handful of Santa Clara County soil. He never saved a penny posing up there! He couldn’t be...uhh at best he’s far behind us because we followed the SV recipe, we married, bought a home, went to work at the majors, traded up a home. How? I know he’s pretending to be retired. He’s like a frog that dove under water to escape, pretty soon he’ll come up for air just watch. Sclass you go back to work yet?”

No. And they are all still slaving away in the Silicon mine at 50+. A scary place in tech.

“I...I didn’t know you could do that Sclass.” (Translate I thought you were poor). “How does it work?”

And now for the lit lighter tossed into the pool of gas. Get ready for it. “Well, it takes a long time to explain but let me break it down into the thirty second version, you save up some money, invest it and when the interest it throws off is equal to your paycheck you resign.”

“B-b-but that like being retired. That’s what retired people do.”

Right. I nod. I shrug. I stare. I smile.

This is not conducive to friendships. How do you face that? I really cannot expect my old friends to voluntarily show up and have this rubbed in their faces. It’s hard enough when a friend gets rich. All of us have wanted to see somebody we love least once. It’s really hard to accept all the religion they’d preached and lived was wrong and delivered them to their present hell. House rich, cash poor. Insecure employment.

Awww. Painful, time to go to the spa on Main Street for one of those hot stone and cucumber eye treatments. Or maybe time to head over to East West Books and find some “meaning”. Gotta forget the freak Sclass. Get him outta my sight I can’t look! He violates the unified theory of SV.

How’s that for Peninsula culture?

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Re: Friendships changing

Post by ffj » Sat May 12, 2018 10:13 am


That's interesting on how much shit you catch out there. So what makes it worth your while to stay and not move to a more open place? I would assume family but it seems they treat you pretty badly.

One of the benefits of where I live is that few people play that game of I've got more money than you, and blending in is easily achieved by just dressing normally and living in a modest home. There are many people here living paycheck to paycheck that on the surface appear to be much more wealthy than me and that's fine and quite desirable because I never draw negative attention. Have you thought about moving someplace that doesn't care about the size of your house?

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Re: Friendships changing

Post by Jason » Sat May 12, 2018 12:09 pm

Due to a specific family relation, I am sometimes forced to be with people who are not my friends interact with their friends. I just think "Oh, mutual admiration society." Advice/guidance is the equivalent of asking a waiter what's best on the menu tonight. Conversation is merely passing the pipe around. They pretend not to be ridiculously competitive. We are rich, forever young and beautiful and we will love forever. It's cultic.

I like to learn. I'd rather read a book by a person who has dedicated their life to a topic I am interested in. Or I'll watch a documentary. When I want to be entertained, I'll watch a TV show. And after reading this thread, it just leads me to the same question as why people maintain such relationships. It's so expensive, and I do not mean just financially. The cost of maintaining identities could be much better spent elsewhere IMHO. I recently wrote about a "friend" I had not seen in 25 years having been dead for 25 years. It never occurred to me that if he was interested, he would have called. Plus we were mutual bad influences on the other. We would have just kept ourselves stuck in time.

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Re: Friendships changing

Post by Sclass » Sat May 12, 2018 4:12 pm


I think I catch a lot of shit for a number of reasons. The Bay Area attracts a lot of high achievers. Part of the game is ranking themselves relative to those surrounding them. I mean isn’t that how these guys have been conditioned since they took the SAT? And the filtering continued from college to workplace to zip code and boom, you’re surrounded by concentrated shit. It gets everywhere. Pretty soon it gets hard to find good quality people to befriend.

Also, I may look like easy prey because I live modestly. Perhaps these reachers think I’ll be equivalently matched to be interesting but not so outlandishly superior to humiliate them. I look a lot poorer than I actually am.

Actual wealthy people let me be...and perhaps avoid me. The wannabes are the problem.

I guess I’m like one of those people who seem to get bitten by random dogs all the time. Maybe it’s he way I walk. :lol:

I left the Bay Area three years ago. I live in Orange County. Everything is cheaper and easier here. It isn’t a pressure cooker like Silicon Valley.

I have family obligations in SoCal. Mom. Family business. SO’s parents and family business.

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