When I was just out of graduate school, I taught middle school kids for two years in a program where another tutor rubbed me wrong. She was forty and supremely confident; she and her husband had made what was likely a ton of money on Wall Street and now lived in Vermont. She laughed that they had spent $100K renovating a bathroom — more than I later paid for a house and 100 acres.
At the Memorial Day Parade, I met her family, with their two little boys. I was childless then, and longing for a baby. She had a dog on a leash. One son had contracted E. coli. The deal was, she said, I told him we would get a dog if he didn’t die. So, we got a dog.
Part of me wishes I could ruefully look back at my younger, snarlier self (who cares how much someone spends on a bathroom, anyway?) with humor and lightness. But really, the crotchety side of me is immediately recognizable — if anything, ground deeper, more articulate, wiser for the wear.