Saturday, August 23, 2008

Musings on being "Middle Class"

Bay Meadows Race Track closed, for good, last week. And that's left me with an inexplicable sense of melancholy. No particular reason - it's not like it was a "regular hang-out" or anything - but the handful of times that I *did* go to Bay Meadows had instilled fond memories...

For starters, I grew up in Foster City, CA - up on the Peninsula - and I was a TOTAL and COMPLETE Horse-Freak when I was a girl. We're talking TOTALLY obsessed, right? (636.1 is the Dewey Decimal System for finding "horse-care books" in Libraries!). And Bay Meadows was *just* outside of the main entrance to Foster City, on Hillsdale Blvd. (which, at the time, was mostly WASPY upper-middle-class white folks - remember, this was back in the 60's-70's). The temptation to go and "hang-out" at the race-track was almost too much to bear for a Horse-Crazy Girl!

I'm not sure exactly how my parents managed to "steer me away" from hanging out there, to be honest! I *really* wanted to get a job there when I was in my early- to mid-teens (but I never did - probably under threat of death!). My dad, however, *did* take me there, one time when I was quite young (probably 8-9 yrs old), to pet the horses. First we stopped and picked up a bag of carrots, then he pulled up to the back gate and schmoozed the guard to let us in...

We hung out around the barns for a couple of hours while dad talked-up the trainers and I petted the horses - after securing permission, of course (I was a *very* polite child)! And, in fact, I recall the trainers telling me "No, don't pet that one, he bites! - Pet *this* horse instead!"

My dad was soooooo cool! I'm sure he caught a MAJOR ration of sh*t from mom for taking me to the Race Track! (You know, 'cuz "low-lifes" hang out there!).

Dad was the one who ultimately bought me my first horse, actually (and *didn't* secure permission from the maternal-unit first - another instance where I'm sure he ended up w/a fresh, new orifice ripped into him!). That's a story for another time, however...

Anyway, back to Bay Meadows... No, I never got a job there. In my early years, I had fantasies of becoming a jockey (I shot-up to 5'6" in fifth grade - so that quickly squelched *that* fantasy!) (I'm 5'8" tall now, if anyone cares!). I never really "hung-out" there a lot, either. Although back when I worked for Bank of America, they sponsored annual "outings" to Bay Meadows' Turf Club. I attended those a couple-three times with Dale, a former SO (and fellow BofA-er). Again, I've got lots of fond memories of those events. One year, in particular, we'd hooked up with another colleague who's fiance was *big* into gambling and gave us a "tip" for a long-shot who actually paid off (of course, I'd only put, like $2.00 on the horse - but still!).

So yeah, what few memories of have of Bay Meadows are quite pleasant...

So this weekend, they're auctioning EVERYTHING off. Turnstyles, horse-stalls, pictures and assorted memorabilia, furniture (mostly circa late-70's/early-80's), and I logged onto the live auction site just to watch it all...

...Almost like slowing down to look at a particularly horrendous traffic accident, actually!

But it *did* get me to thinking: Back to my mom being all aghast at the prospect of her daughter working at a [gasp!] race-track, and all the scum-bags and whatnot. Admittedly, it probably wouldn't have been the most "wholesome" environment for me... But, OTOH, I was never really "into" the hoity-toity "Upper-Middle-Class" set. I mean, for the couple-three years I was exiled to Utah w/my dad (yet another separate "story" that piggy-backs onto the "Dad bought me a horse" story!), I found that the coolest ppl I hung out with were - for lack of a better term - "Trailer Trash!"

Yeah, some of my best friends actually lived in a Single-Wide trailer about a mile up the road from us!

To this day, given my druthers, I'd prefer to "hang" with real, down-to-earth, hard-working ppl than my white-collar "peers!" Gimme an old peanut-shell-strewn Biker Bar w/spider-webs in the windowsills (if they even HAVE windows, that is!!!), over some fancy-schmantzy fern-bar ANY day!!!

Actually, in addition to lamenting the demise of Bay Meadows (earlier this summer, I'd suggested to Rog that "We should go - before they close!" Didn't happen. Oh, well!), I am sorely missing the two bona-fide Biker Bars we had "in our backyard." Quail Canyon Inn burned down a couple of years ago (Rog took me there on our First Date! There's *another* story for another time!), and Almaden Feed & Fuel (A victim of Suburban Sprawl... Multi-million $ homes built "around" a Biker Bar, followed by New Residents complaining about "All those damned Harleys!" Hello?!! You MOVED IN to a house built next to a Biker Bar!!! Duuhhhhh!!!)

Of the three, I think I miss the Quail the most (that was a COOL place!).

Anyway, I just think it's funny how this "class" thing works. And the fact that it's still in place is kinda mind-boggling. Yeah, Socio-Economically, we're prob'ly "Upper-Middle Class" - but our "roots" are firmly entrenched in a more, well, "Blue-Collar" world...

Not sure what "point" I'm making here. Hell, who says I even have to make a point, right?!

I mean, am I a hypocrite? (Okay, here comes the "philosophical part!"). I mean, we do have nice "stuff" and way-cool toys, right? But, attitude-wise, we aren't all "Look at WHAT WE'VE GOT" (I've met ppl like that, and I find them... "Tiresome" isn't the right word - ummm - "Nauseating" is probably more apropo). And yes, we're somewhat cultured (both classically-trained musicians), and we DO go to symphonies and chamber-music concerts. So, we do "Clean-up Good!" But still, given a choice, listening to a [marginal] Garage-Band playing at a biker-bar sounds FAR more appealing!

Okay, well, that's enough "musing" for one afternoon/early-evening... No real "point" here, but it's just food for thought.........

(If I were a Good Blogger, I'd have something in mind before I got started!!!)

(So just lump me in with the "dreck and drivel!" No apologies offered!!!)



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