We aren’t rich. Barring a hit on the PowerBall we’ll never be rich. Our investments taken together aren’t very interesting. In fact the only interest bearing accounts we have are our televisions on account of we’re interested in old TV shows and cable has them. We like little extravagances like motoring in the countryside in He of We’s little convertible but it’s 15 years old and was bought used 12 years ago. We have some spectacular accessories in our houses because we were able to buy them in remainder shops, on sale, or on sale in remainder shops. Our most recent extravagances are the little fountains we bought for our respective decks. On sale. Our wealth is in each other, our families, and our friends. And we’re happy with that.
But boy we’d love to be rich some day. For whatever reason we have taken to Sunday afternoon drives in said little convertible through the said countryside which is really the wooded borders between affluence and more affluence. We like to look at the big houses and the way they aren’t as well landscaped as ours which we do ourselves. It was on one of these drives that we sort of got lost. We almost always have a good sense of where we are. Whether it’s in a subdivision or an unincorporated township between hither and yon, we know how to read legislative route signs, can tell east from west, and have lived where we live for the better part of our adult lives. The best part of our adult lives has been since we met each other but that’s a different post.
On this trip we were lost. We knew from the signs that we were closer to more affluence rather than your garden variety affluence and when we drove past the horse farm we finally had most of our bearings back where they belonged. In fact, it was just past the horse farm that He of We turned left onto a road we had never even heard of yet alone been on. To the right of the car was a garden variety Mini-Mansion (not to be confused with a McMansion which isn’t one at all and yet again a different post). And that’s when He or We mumbled, “Oh. My. God.”
“It nice, isn’t it? A little plain though,” She of We responded.
“No, not there,” He of We literally stammered. “Up ahead.”
And up ahead was just the peak of a roofline that screamed castle. As we climbed the little knoll, more of the roof, or of the roofs came into view, then the stone, and the windows with their beveled glass and cross-shaped mullions, and the second floor windows, and the first floor cap, and the doors and fence and the biggest house, by far the biggest house we had ever seen. There was a fountain in front that wouldn’t be out of place in front of a Las Vegas casino. As we drove past we saw appendages angle from the back corners and out buildings larger than most of the Mini-Mansions that shared this short street. We were in the land of million dollar houses and this made them seem small, very small.
We really needed to find out more about this building that was larger than most country club club houses in the area. And find out we did. Later, when we got home, the county assessment site obliging told us that we had been parked outside a 34 room, 30,000 square foot home with 12 bedrooms, 21 full or half baths, sitting on 6+ acres and valued at $9.5 million.
But back on that road, as we rounded our way around the cul-de-sac, another car approached. A dark car. A black car. With dark windows. Black windows. The kind of car that would make you think Guard Patrol. He of We did think it and thought it out loud just as She of We was saying “Slow down, I want to take pictures.”
“But it’s a patrol car,” He of We said.
”No it isn’t. And if it is, what can they do. Stop here, I have a good shot.” And we stopped.
The black car circled behind us, stopped, then slowly pulled alongside us. Slower still they passed us, pulled in front of us and stopped. The heavily tinted window slid down. And then the passenger leaned out the window and snapped some pictures of her own. Just another sightseer in the land of more affluence. Right there, in front of us.
And in front of that structure, among the million dollar houses, in our little car, we looked at each other and said, “Nice fountain.”
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?