Here in North America, we’ve just emerged from a brief flurry of national insignia-waving. (Hey there, Canada!) Which made me think, what are the signs of our micro-cultures?
Forthwith, the High WASP Cultural Directory, Northern California Regional Variant
- Color: Navy blue. As I told you, early on. Accents in pale pink, spring green or a sophisticated mustard. Your choice. The pursuit of happiness and all that.
- Fabric: Cashmere, cotton poplin, and, judging from my mother’s closet and the wardrobes of my Eastern cousins, dupioni silk.
- Shoes: Usually expensive. Often elegant. But they had dang sure better be comfortable.
- Scents: Lavender, bay laurel. Astringency is us.
- Food: Here geography defeats heritage. In Northern California High WASPs eat salad, just like all our neighbors. We will most likely have bought the lettuce at Whole Foods, whatever the provenance, we prefer it organic.
- Music: Eclectic. From Handel’s Messiah to Tom Waits’s Closing Time to well, you name it. But don’t ask us to sing anything except Happy Birthday.
- Travel Destinations: Anywhere they let the upholstery fade, alternatively, where the furnishings are made of wood and other vegetal materials.
- Favorite Childhood Book: Swallows and Amazons. Alternatively, Five Children And It. Or your father’s copies of the John R. Tunis books that he read as a child, from which you learn a lot about athletics in the American zeitgeist.
- Adult Books Which Tell Our Story: Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, And The Last Days Of Wasp Splendor
- Favorite Childhood Memory: Our mother, on a chaise longue, wrapped in a rose-printed peignoir, holding our new baby sister.
- Greatest Talent: Use of the subjunctive tense, and the word “One,” to mean “I.”
I could go on. But one shouldn’t.
How about you? How would your list look? Feel free to post the entire thing, or not. Pursuit of happiness and all that.
Were you to click on a link, you might then generate a commission, as it were, for the author of this blog. Image up top via the website of the Arthur Ransome Society.