maybe you should — or maybe you shouldn’t
Since she’s been working from home, and we have our sessions on Zoom, I’ve seen various backgrounds around my therapist’s house while she experimented and adjusted to teletherapy. For a while she was zooming from an outside deck, but too often a lawnmower would show up. Then she tried her bedroom, leaning against a pillow in front of a tall mahogany king-sized headboard. That was definitely weird. Once we met in another bedroom filled with stuffed animals. “You’ll like this,” she said, as if I were a child. Finally she settled on an unfeminine room lined with ornate and heavy office furniture, which I presume belongs to her husband. During a session she whipped her head to the side with a shocked look, and appeared to meet someone’s eyes, someone who had dared to open the door.
I’d googled before, so I knew her husband was a retired attorney. I knew she had two kids, a therapist daughter and a lawyer son. I’d seen pictures of the kids, but I had never seen a photo of her husband. After so many intimations of his presence during our therapy sessions, I went hunting again the other day.
What I found threw me into a panic. No photo, but several op-ed pieces in the local paper in support of Bill Barr, and one in support of a statistic quoted by Donald Trump. I also found out the address of their new house. I knew she had moved recently, and when I had asked if she was downsizing (she’s over 65), she said that unlike many people at her age she’d bought a bigger house. I thought maybe that meant more bedrooms for grandchildren or something like that, since I’d seen the stuffed animal room. But no, she and her husband bought a 5000+ square foot McMansion filled with what Kate Wagner calls “wealth-signifiers.” Photos of all the rooms and the floorplans were readily available on real estate websites.
Foyers, and their associated elements such as columns and tall ceilings, are borrowed from buildings like banks and courthouses, invoking a language of wealth, power, and prestige.
McMansion, USA — Jacobin, 11.09.2017