This Saturday, the rich and very rich gathered up in Greenwich, CT. (How unusual!) The occasion was the Ivy Cup, a charity polo match between the teams of Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Princeton. The group met in the main concourse of Grand Central Station: a sea of wide-brimmed hats, well-pressed slacks and day-glo green VIP wristbands. They'd chartered a train up to the CT where the chukkers would be played. Bud Lights and Diet Cokes were stored in large Tupperware tubs. The hours flew by like a cloud on a windless day. The rich don't sweat. Also, we managed to create possibly the largest and most fascinating photogallery in history, courtesy of photographer Laurel Ptak.
Covering these events, or spending time with these people at all if one isn't of that manor born, one is morally discombobulated. It's like looking at a shifting Seurat or a Magic Eye you just don't quite get. Up close, the rich and very rich range from nice to very nice. They've great people skills, look you in the eye, are well-kept, smell nice, and swell conversationalists. What's not to like?
Zoom out a few meters and their pastel getups, chauffeured Crown Vics, UES apartments, Netti-residencies are clearly horrid and deservedly mockable. Fine, but then, there amongst the green pastures and free-flowing champagne, one pauses to note that these plasticine dauphins and dauphines have gathered to raise what must be tens of thousands of dollars for charity. And so you like them again and are willing to forgive their small idiosyncrasies, like referring to their cleaning lady as "my Mexican," or, for that matter, the ghoulish amounts of money spent enlarging their bosoms or the silicon-abetted takeover their lips are performing over their face. But then you realize the whole reason you're in Connecticut, waiting in line at a bank of port-a-potties, full of little chicken salad sandwiches, feeling ill and that the reason, or one of the main reasons, that all these rich folk are around you, jostling to get into the same bank of port-a-potties of you, is that the way wealth works is that the more the haves have, the have nots don't. That is to say, insidiousness of the problem is systemic. Then you feel even more scorn and disgust. But ultimately, you don't really care. You just really need to pee.