Down under here we’ve just had Australia Day. Its Australia’s version of the 4th of July when we gained our independence from the Brits, only we didn’t have to shoot at any of them to do it. Every year there’s a huge skyworks show down on the river here in Perth put on by the local Government, TV channel and radio station, and assorted sponsors. About 300 000 people out of the city population of 1.8 million might turn up to watch. Getting in and out of the city center can be...difficult.

Anyway, about 10 years ago now my wife and I were invited by a friend of my wife to go and watch the skyworks on this big 40 foot cruiser. This was pretty good! Not only would we have a central viewing position from the river to watch the show, but since the marina was well outside of the city center, getting home would be simple!

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So we turned up at the appointed time. I’m driving my 6 month old Mazda 6 which I was quite proud of, we had what we thought was some nice wine and some stuff to eat. We’d been told it was pretty much BYO so we had enough for the two of us and that was about it. All up it looked to be pleasant evening out on the water.

That’s when things started to go downhill.

Pulling into the marina carpark it’s full of Mercedes, Jags, a Rolls Royce or two and other cars like that. It made my nice Mazda 6 look like an ox cart. So, parking as unobtrusively as possible in a corner, we grab our cooler etc and head off down to the yacht.

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Onboard we set off and are introduced to the others on board. There’s the guy who holds the fruit and vegetable distribution contract for the Woolworths chain for the entire of Western Australia. Another guy owns a major furniture chain here in the city. Others are financiers and upmarket real estate developers. These people, simply put, are richer than us... by a lot.

And they let us know it.

Not obviously, not overtly. But conversations ran along the lines of “I’m thinking of selling that Jag I bought 6 months ago and getting the new BMW because I don’t like the glove compartment” or “How about I give you $50 000 to invest on the stocks. If you lose it then that’s OK but otherwise you and I can make some money selling short” I’m asked what I do for a living to which I reply “Teacher” and am then asked “Oh? Which private school?” (I work at a government school - a nice one in a good area, but still just a Government school)

So yeah, they rubbed our faces in it, all freaking night. On my wife’s side with the women it wasn’t much better. Later we find the Woolworths contract guy had drunk all his booze, and then nicked one of our wine bottles and started in on that. So much for BYO...

So we got the message. We were mixing “Above our station in life”. The rest of the night had a sour note of course, but we watched the skyshow and then when the yacht got back the marina, we basically couldn’t get off fast enough.

But the boat’s owner (turned out to be furniture chain guy) wasn’t finished with us yet. As we said our goodbye’s and ‘thanks for the pleasant evening’ (through gritted teeth and fixed smile) he says “The night will be $220 per head to help with the fuel - yuk yuk yuk”. I replied with an equally wide shit eating smile “Sure! I’ll send you the check in the mail”... and got the hell off his boat. He’s not getting a cent from me btw...

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So, has anyone else had a similar experience? Where you’ve found yourself mixing with others who feel they are ‘better than you’? By all means tell me your story in the comments.

cheers

Sean