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Talk of stuffism made me think about the characters who are wealthy in the books and those are not. (In the material sense, of course.)

Something I wanted to do in these books was talk about friendships that cross economic lines. It's a big topic, for me, and I'll talk more about it down the road, but let's talk a bit about Fair and stuffism today.

Fair Finley hails from a well-off family -- the Finleys own nine hotels -- but I wouldn't describe her as the stereotypical spoiled young woman, in any sense.

I've mentioned before she's not that aware of brands; she dresses in vintage costumes, as part of her job, and clogs and skirts when she's casual. The Wilfair Hotel is historic, so she's isn't naturally into whatever is shiny and new.

Her room is described as having a bed, a chair, a dresser, a jewelry box; her home life is pretty unextravagant. When Monty Overbove asks her if maids do her laundry, she protests and says they most definitely do not.

She doesn't own a car. It's true, she doesn't need one, given that the hotel employs chauffeurs, and Fair is pretty tied to The Wilfair.

I think a lot of Fair's lack of stuffism comes from the fact that a) she helps people and serves hotel guests, so she's generally a giver, not a taker and b) she has seen a whole bunch in her nearly twenty years.

By that I mean she lives in the center of Los Angeles, which is one of the fast-forward-iest cities on the planet. And the world is inside her home every day, people from all over, and Fair sees that fashions change from person to person and place to place. Thus she's never been a trend follower, since she witnesses a cacophony of styles and trends, from all over the globe, daily, in her lobby.

In short, she understands that chasing any one trend is kind of futile, or at least frustrating, when there's a whole world of ideas and looks and fashions out there, constantly evolving. So she sticks with what she likes and admires changing trends from a distance. (Admires or occasionally cocks an eyebrow.)

She knows she has it good, though, and her family is comfortable. I don't think she takes that for granted, and she understands her less comfortable neighbors and friend work incredibly hard. There's some guilt there. And there's guilt that she has a lot and has to take one of the only things her neighbors have: their home and business.

So I sit here thinking of Fair's extravagances and I'm not sure I'm coming up with any; I think the trip to the mountains with the cousins and Sutton was the biggest gift of her sheltered life, and nothing material could even come close to equaling it in her bellows heart.

There are some big gifts inside that one, too, like the picture drawn for her in Boughery Bar at The Redwoodian. 

That's something I love: gifts that evolve into different gifts. That's kind of hard to do with a finite physical object but extremely easy with a bigger experience that can beget smaller, sweeter moments.

Those are about all Gomery can give right now -- smaller, sweeter moments -- unless he decides to give Fair 24,500 gallons of chlorinated water.

If ever an idea could make Fair's bellows heart pull hard and puff air, it's that one. I hope they resolve it soon.

1 comments:

Chiara said...

That's something I love: gifts that evolve into different gifts. That's kind of hard to do with a finite physical object but extremely easy with a bigger experience that can beget smaller, sweeter moments.

Yes to this! Love those smaller and sweeter moments :)

 
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