Snarky and Judgmental, That's Me

Let me be honest.  I'm going to be a snarky, judgmental bitch today.  Are you surprised?  

I'm going to share with you a true story even though I know you will initially think it's far-fetched.  I promise you, it's true.

One year when I was in college, I went into a "blind" roommate situation.  I was living in a rented apartment adjacent to my college.  There were multiple people moving in and I only knew the girl I was sharing my room with.  My roommate, and friend, was Jo who remains my friend to this day.  She is actually a reader of Twenty Four At Heart.  You may have read some of her comments in the past. 

Jo and I were friends, the others were strangers. 

As it turns out, one of my house mates was a girl named Tia.  On our first day living together Tia hung a beautiful photo on her bedroom wall of a huge hotel perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  It was spectacularly beautiful.  I complimented her on it.  She informed me that the beautiful hotel was actually her home.  It was a house not a hotel.  Tia is a member of one of wealthiest families in California.

There is a major city here in California named after Tia's family.

The year I spent living with Tia was very educational.  Her family's wealth was beyond most people's comprehension.  As a parent, I have told numerous Tia stories to my kids over the years.  Tia has been invaluable to me as an example for so many things.

Tia was the only house mate who had her own, private, room.  Tia had strikingly beautiful facial features, but was probably at least one hundred pounds overweight even as a 19 year old.  Tia was the most miserably unhappy person I think I've ever met.

Tia did not know how to make her own bed.  She had never done it herself because her family had an entire staff on hand to do things like that for her.  She did not know how to turn on the stove or oven.  Tia left her dishes on the sink counter.  She maybe thought her maid would come for a visit and wash them?  She had to be shown how to wash her own dishes.  Tia did not know how to survive or function without her "staff."    

Tia would sit in front of the TV watching soap operas and eating entire family sized rolls of refrigerated pre-made cookie dough in one sitting.  (Gag!)  She did this on a frequent basis. 

Tia had no friends.  She could not relate socially to anyone.  She had been surrounded by adults and staff members her entire life and had no concept of how to make friends or socialize with her peers.  One day Tia told me she had fallen in love.  It turns out it was a boy she saw walk by and had never spoken to.  And she never did.  He never even knew she existed.  She obsessed over him for months.

Once over a holiday break I needed to reach Tia.  She was at home with her family.  I called and talked to several staff members before she finally took the call.  It turns out the President of the United States was arriving that evening for dinner and things were a bit chaotic at her house that afternoon.  The fact that he was arriving was not a big deal to Tia.  She took things like that for granted.

Another time Tia went into childish temper tantrums.  She had been invited to learn to scuba dive by Jacque Cousteau's son at some remote, tropical locale.  The event conflicted with college finals.  Most of her professors allowed her to take her finals early, but one professor refused.  He had a "no exception" policy.  Tia flipped out.  She called her parents.  They called the university.  She ranted "does he know who my family is?" a lot.  The professor stuck by his policy.  To this day I have great admiration for him.  I can't even imagine the amount of pressure he got from her family and the university administration.

Tia personally owned several vineyards as a 19 year old teenager.  She went to visit her vineyards once in awhile.  I have a hard time picturing that still.  What happens when a 19 year old multi-millionaire owner shows up to visit her vineyards in Napa?  And she is not legally old enough to drink in California?  I imagine the staff jumps through hoops for her.

Recently I was at the Money Town Starbucks with a friend.  (I think I need to start a whole series about things that happen at the Money Town Starbucks.)  My friend is a nice Money Town resident.  She doesn't care that I make fun of her town and, in fact, she says it makes her laugh.  Anyway, it turns out she knows Tia.  I haven't seen Tia since my college days, but my friend has met her as an adult.

I have always wondered what happened to Tia.  She would be easy enough to find based on the stature of her family, but to be honest I've never wanted to.  I pictured some man taking advantage of Tia and marrying her for her money somewhere along the way. 

Well, it turns out that Tia had an affair with a biker (?) and got pregnant.  I got the impression it was a one night stand or something along those lines and (shudder) I don't care to hear the details.  In any case, Tia is not married but she does have one child who is a boy.  Tia chased after the biker and even followed him to another state, but apparently he got away. 

The Biker Who Got Away.  It sounds like a made for TV movie, doesn't it?

My friend tells me Tia's son is an incorrigible delinquent.  I think she might have called him a demon-spawn.  Are we surprised?  She also said Tia is grossly obese, extremely disliked in her community, and a total shrew.  Tia has no friends.  Still.  My friend prattled on telling me all about the adult Tia she knows.  Tia sounds like the exact same person she was back in our college days. 

I find the Tia story terribly sad.  Her parents gave her everything, except whatever it is she really needed.  She has, in turn, apparently done the same with her own child. 

I was reminded of Tia when I read today's newspaper.  This week the son of one of The Real Housewives of Orange County pleaded guilty to nine drug charges.  He was sentenced to eight months in jail.  No, he is not Tia's son, but there are so many similarities.  It made me start thinking about the children who grow up in "highly privileged" homes.  It made me wonder why these parents can't see their kids need something from them which is far more valuable than material possessions.     

Comments will remain open on yesterday's Torturer Interview post through Sunday evening.  Your questions for him so far have been absolutely hilarious.

20 Responses to “Snarky and Judgmental, That's Me”

  1. goodfather

    ‘The Biker Who Got Away,’ LOL! Lucky guy with a fast bike, heheh. Tia seems like a living example of that old Icelandic expression: money isn’t love.

  2. Gina

    i really enjoyed this post, it is so true. some people just don’t understand that love is significantly more important than money

  3. jo

    Well, I was a little surprised that she couldn’t buy some happiness (like lap-band surgery). Although, plenty of people continue to over-eat and gain weight back anyway. I like the biker story…like she was trying to break away from all that wealth and just be “average” and just be loved, by anyone willing to love her. So, so sad. Not at all surprising that the kid turned out to be “in the system”, a delinquent. I could rant all day about this…no boundaries, no consequences, no love. Just yesterday, I had a woman come in to the office (where I work as an NP) and she was going on about the stressors in her life. Her sixteen year old wouldn’t go to school because he had a few sniffles, and this happens frequently….so, she lets hims stay home! And we think we are helping our kids by doing this??? Why are parents afraid to parent? Do they know what that means? I shared a story with this woman in return,how my wimpy daughter, throughout her school career, was forever trying to stay home from school and would often go to the school nurse for minor discomforts, wanting to go home. Even on the last week of her senior year in high school, she had the nerve to go to the nurse because “my head is congested”. I’m surprised they didn’t call Children’s Services on me for all the times I said, “have her lie down for a few minutes, give her two Tylenol, have her drink a full glass of water and send her back to class” (each of these things served a specific purpose, by the way). My response would be met with a heavy sigh of disgust (just come pick her up because it’s easier for me..that kind of sigh) from the “nurse” on the other end. I would sympathize with her position and say, “trust me, I know my daughter”.
    It’s work and our kids aren’t always (rarely) going to like us. Oh I have to stop now…how did this get from pathetic, wealthy, cookie-dough eating college roommate to parent rant? I guess it’s sad that she didn’t have less stuff and more parenting. Hmmmmm.

  4. EricaB

    I have an “unhappy rich” kid for a client. He is so far into drugs, failing out of college and his parents can’t seem to see it. It breaks my heart.
    I honestly believe that children should be GIVEN very little aside from necessities. I would happily HELP my child pay for a car but I would never GIVE them one. They need to learn that hard work is the only way we get anything in life…
    Just my opinion.

  5. Lori

    This really is a very sad story. Growing up, my 3 cousins from California, would be sent every summmer to stay with us on our farm in Minnesota and be put to work. You see, they were pretty well off, although not to the extent of your college roommate, and my aunt and uncle gave them everything but parenting. So, they would be so out of hand with getting into trouble that every summer they were made to come stay with us for 3 months. At first they would act like little jerks…thought everything should be done for them like back at home(they had home staff too)which wasn’t the case because they had to work their asses off. By the end of the summer, they acted like normal people. My aunt and uncle just couldn’t understand how they could come back at the end of the summer behaving themselves and turn back into problem children by thanksgiving. Good lord, these were 2 highly educated people but they had no flippin clue that their kids needed parenting. All 3 of my cousins grew up to be adults with lots of problems but the thing is they still come back to our family for visits and claim that the summers they came to stay and work were the best times of their lives. Now as someone that had to work my ass off every day on that farm until the day I moved away after graduation, I was always thinking, “are you flippin kidding me?” But, now with having kids of my own and seeing things as a mature adult(most of the time anyways)I can understand why they feel that way.
    Great post!

  6. Jan

    I don’t think you’re either snarky or judgmental. I think you’re expressing a very honest observation.
    Money can’t buy happiness. Imagine that.
    I think I’m going to send the link to this post to my daughter, who needs to see that giving her everything she wants instead of making her responsible for herself isn’t what a “good” parent does. Because I’m just a mean old bitch, don’t you know.

  7. Lo

    phew. this was a doozy. it’s so easy for me to be snarky (i lurve this word you’ve no IDEA) and say, well ,she had the money, she could have i dunno sold a vineyard or two and moved far away from her family and branched out on her own and gotten.. a LIFE. or traveled the world for charity. or hell become paris hilton. ANYTHING is better then wallowing in self pity and wishing, waiting, to be loved. bc love doesn’t work that way. you gotta love FIRST for love to find you. and not her ‘biker love’, bc that was purely a grasping at straws attempt to be accepted and wanted.
    then another part of me says, wow, this poor girl. bc frankly? me? i’ve grown up next to these kinds of people. not the wealth at her extent but let me tell you Fallbrook has it’s fair share of snobs too. and ‘wait staff’ (ugh i hate that term) and money and designer labels and kids who refuse to do anything. i went to school with kids who never did their own homework bc their ‘tutors’ did it for them. where the high school teachers would actually allow them to miraculously find the tests before the actual test date. i mean i could go on and on. and for the most part? these kids were bitchy, cruel, angry little monsters who were so sad inside, it broke my heart. bc i was friends with a few who actually opened up to ‘working class’ me and showed me just how empty and alone that lifestyle is.
    and me? i’m an only child, a military brat, daughter of a mother who cleaned hotel rooms when i was a kid just so i could go to ballet and soccer practice. but you know what? i am the most loved kid out there. (wow. i’m tearin’ up over here!)
    so i guess the whole point i’m desperately trying to get at bc i ramble excessively, is, money can’t buy happiness.
    but ya know what? a couple mill’ could make me really, really comfortable. but i can’t take it with me when i die- i can take love with me, tho.

  8. Midlife Mama

    I agree; you’re not being snarky at all. Being snarky would be if she was thin and beautiful and nice and then you were jealous of her being rich and beautiful. Tia, however, is just pathetic, and you can actually see the compassion and pity you have for her in your story.
    And it’s too bad she is so sad and pathetic. It truly goes to show that money can’t buy happiness. Or love. At least not for more than an hour or so. *snicker*
    However, I’d like to try it, and see . . . at least enough to get my bills paid off. LOL

  9. Heather

    What a pathetic life. It certainly makes me feel grateful for my average life.
    Also I just reread the post and comments from yesterday. It’s so funny. Can’t wait for the interview.

  10. Missy

    Great story and an important life lesson for us all. We must raise our children to be respectful of everyone, from our friends and family to those who serve us in restaurants and bag our groceries. Those acts of kindness are far reaching……

  11. phhhst

    Shoots. I wrote a comment and did something wrong so it did not post.
    Short version. An important story, not snarky and great lessons in there.
    Can’t wait for the interview tomorrow.
    ps I left you a gift at my blog…

  12. Tricia

    So very sad and neither she or her son understand how to help themselves. i juts feel terribly sorry for them.

  13. thistle

    This is a quote i found in a magazine i picked up today…it’s by America Ferrera on some current popular television shows…
    “Close, genuine female relationships are not what generally gets depicted in movies and TV shows. Like, if you’re watching The Hills or 90210, all the backstabbing shapes the way we act – you go to school, and you think your job is to find a sworn enemy and be jealous of each other.”
    Sometimes when i see or read about the lifestyles of the rich and famous…i wonder if it is life imitating art or vice versa…last summer i met some very rich and famous people (in california) who turned about to be absolutely lovely people…so lovely i didn’t even realize they were rich and famous cos they were so normal…i think that media has portrayed a distorted an image of this crowd, and many of them have started to buy into their own infamy…pathetically superficial and self-absorbed has been normalized…and they live down to their reputations…and that is pathetic

  14. Joanne

    I understand your feelings. These people kind of make you want to shake them (kindly, with love) to their senses. To show them how simple it can be to just BEGIN to take control of your life. And sometimes we REALLY would lke to help them get a foothold. But we all know, all too well, that our best efforts would be rejected and we would be kicked to the curb for not being a “friend” to them ,(like their parents were) in other words for trying to empower them rather than enable them. We all know that our best effort would end in us thinking something like “no wonder nobody likes her” and that is sad

  15. Midlife Slices

    It’s interesting how some people handle wealth and some don’t. I interact with some extremely wealthy people on a daily basis and they still live in modest homes, work hard and teach their children to work hard, and you’d never know they’ve made multi millions on oil royalties. It’s sad when people think they are doing their children favors by not teaching them responsibility.

  16. mama llama

    I have a good friend who was fired from a Major US University by the department for being asked to “Reconsider” a grade “given” (Earned by?) a trustee’s daughter. It was reevaluated…to the same initial conclusion. Not good enough–and out the door with him. What a shame.
    Must be rough to think that Money gives you a right to just buy off anything you want. I, too, have no patience for that. The happiest people I have ever met lived in a slum in Guayaquil, Ecuador. No running water, no electricity, earning less than $30 month. They invited me into their home to share the nothing they had with me…well, I was sure deceived. I thought they had nothing. They had a hearty soup. They had a sofa that had one good cushion that they invited me to sit on so that they could tell me stories…and oh, the stories they could tell, like how Father lost his leg by being hit by a bus downtown when trying to find work.
    They didn’t need anything to be happy. They had Life and love. What else is there?
    Great post. Be well.

  17. vodkamom

    That was a very important story, and one that everyone who has kids should read. We teach them many, many things – by what we say, what we do, and what we DON’T do.

  18. ssg

    Man this is very sad, it’s almost child abuse… I worked in child services for a while and you see the parents say ‘but I gave them everything; they had everything’ but they didn’t give the children their time. They didn’t play with them, talk to them, read with them. They didn’t spend their time enjoying their children, they bought them loads of gifts and clothes and let someone else look after them, or ignored them and let them play by themselves. it’s sad, isn’t it? why have children if you don’t want to be with them?

  19. Kathy

    Having lived with someone for over 2 years that was the male version of Tia, I “get” it. He has no social skills to speak of and lives behind a computer screen. I’ve never seen him stand up for himself – he has others fight his battles for him. Some in the family are great, some not so much – but I think that he was the worst. It was nice to see how the other half lives, but I’m much happier being with the po’ folk and knowing that my friends like me for me, and not for who I live with’s money.

  20. Kristan Hoffman

    Sometimes I feel bad for them (almost exactly like Tricia said) and sometimes I don’t, because some of them are really jerks about their wealth and status. It’s a gray area for me…


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