I had a new client come over this week. She was, on first appearances quite a pleasant, chatty lady but she left me standing there at the end with my jaw almost on the floor feeling like I'd been insulted.
She'd come to have elastic sewn on the bottom of her daughter's running tights. Apparently her daughter is quite the athlete. She'd been offered a position at Brisbane State High - a state-run high school that you can only get into if you are gifted academically, culturally (music or drama) or in the sporting field. Well, all my three sons went to Brisbane State High so when the client mentioned this I quickly told her that my sons went there - thinking this would establish a rapport. But even quicker (I don't think she paused to draw breath or to listen to what I said) she told me that she'd told her daughter that if she wanted a GOOD education she'd go to the local Catholic girl's school.
So in that sentence she'd managed to let me know that my choice of school for my children was inferior.
Then she went on to let me know what a great seamstress she was. She had been told that she had a gift for it when she'd done 16 weeks of it back in Grade 8 and then she used the phrase that I hate most in the world - "no offense". The sentence she used it in was - "No offense, but I chose an academic route instead of continuing with sewing"
Talk about sweeping generalizations. Obviously because I was just someone who sewed in a room under the house I was obviously academically inferior. AND I sent my kids to a school where they'd get an inferior education. It was nice of her to let me know how many wrong choices I'd made in my life.
Thing is - she couldn't have been more wrong. I chose an academic path through high school too and got a degree in the field of my choosing. I also finished in the top 5% of students in the state in high school. The school my kids went to had much better results academically than her daughter's school last year and my sons all finished with marks that got them into the uni course of their choosing. The fact that I didn't stay with vet science as a career was because I wanted to be a stay at home mum and I was lucky enough to create a business which I love and can do from home.
From the moment she walked into my workroom she was judging me. And finding me inadequate. And yet I see myself as successful. But success to me isn't having a big house, expensive cars, sending your kids to private school and dressing in designer gear. Success is having enough money to pay the bills. Having no debt. Having a job I love and customers that I adore (obviously I wouldn't count her in that category). Having time to do the things I love - like running. Having time to be there for my kids - even though they're pretty grown up now. Having wonderful, caring friends. Being content with my life.
I count myself as rich, fulfilled and very blessed. And I saw her attempts to make herself seem impressive quite sad.
I got to have a little Facebook rant about it and told all my friends. Generally got it off my chest. Then yesterday she came back to pick up the tights and asked me if my ears had been burning on Wednesday night because she'd been talking about me. Couldn't help but wonder if her hair had caught on fire from her burning ears on Tuesday.