“Los Angeles is utterly superficial“, declared Harrington Archibald Gladysfield III; that’s “Harry” to his Andover classmates and “Ol’ Arch” to his Yale peers. We’re eating crumpets while stretched out in the Adirondack chairs atop the exclusive Brookline Country Club golf course. “They’re obsessed with appearance; their botox and their silicon, their nips and tucks“, continued Archibald as he adjusted his Brooks Brothers repp tie and kicked off his S. Perry boat shoes. “Unending freeways and sprawl“, intoned Arch, relaxing after having just driven to Yale for a reunion, then to Weston to pickup family on the way to the Berkshires, and then back to the Brookline CC for golf. “I could never deal with the amount they drive in California, I tell you“, he observes.
His phone beeps with a text. “Mom’s stuck in weekend traffic returning from the Berkshires. Looks like we’ll be delaying the flight to Nantucket.” Arch grimaces as delicate crumpet flakes disturb his expensive, Madras-plaid, Brooks Brothers linen jacket. He gingerly flicks them away and I watch as they float to the ground. “Ah, where was I? Yes, LA. It’s all about money there.” He pauses to read his invitation to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Director’s Holiday Party, a benefit of his $50,000 Director’s Circle membership. “They have no history there, no culture, no class“, he intones as we idly gaze out on the golf greenway, the historic residence of the now extinct Wampanoag tribe. Indeed, the verdant greens gave no indication the Wampanoag once golfed here, if that was the history Arch referred to? Perhaps more recent history then — the anti-desegregation riots of the 70s?
With much effort, Arch flicked the last of the crumpet crumbs off his cummerbund and turned his attention to the scones. “Honestly, LA is just money and cliques. It’s about who you know“, he said through a mouthful. The effort of reaching for the scones made his Yale Alumni Magazine slide off his lap. Our gazes fixed on the magazine. After a moment’s contemplation, Arch said,”It was awfully good of Yale to let me in. Honestly though, seeing my family’s always attended Yale, I can’t imagine it otherwise.”
The clock struck 4. Arch rousted himself. “Well, I need to get moving. There’s dinner tonight to screen new applicants to the Brookline CC, but I have an appointment at J. Press first.” “They’re the only place one finds good clothes you know“, he says half to himself. I watch as his Jaguar XJ comes into view. The chauffeur opens the door and then the car and Archibald drive off.
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