The other day Miss Q and I were hanging out with some of my oldest friends. Not that they’re old. They’re my age. We’re young. I mean that I’ve known them for a long time. Since high school. We’ve been friends for over twenty years.
Friendships that long mean all the barriers are down. Nobody wears makeup, honesty and truth – however they present – are the basis for discussion and that discussion is open to anything – from the sex-education class we had from the crazy art teacher who made us put a condom on a banana, to our daily need for our friend the carbohydrate, why we didn’t get tickets to see Lady Gaga and where to send our kids to school.
One of these friends (the mother of three fabulous humans) has already put her girls down for an exclusive private school that will set her and her partner back a cool $25 000 per year. Per child.
And that doesn’t include uniform, hockey gear, the harp, still-portrait lessons or anything else their girls decide to do.
‘That’s $75 000 we’re going to be paying each year. And that’s after tax,’ she says to me nonchalantly.
Is it? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never earned $75 000 a year.
So the concept of spending more than I’ve ever earned on Miss Q’s education is a little out of my realm of comprehension.
Most people’s salaries are like monopoly money to me. It just doesn’t seem real.
‘Are they seriously getting paid that much money?’ I question our other friend.
‘Nome, you have no concept of how much money there is out there. Some people, merchant bankers for example, may have bonuses of over a million dollars.’
Over a million dollars?
What does that mean? It’s ridiculous. How can you need that much money?
Oh wait, I know.
Because if you have a prayer of owning your own house in Sydney and you want that house to be in a desirable area where nobody sends their kids to a public school because they want them mixing with the Hugo’s and Bella’s of the world, so the public school gets all the riff-raff and you want better for your child, you need that million dollars.
And then some.
What on earth are we going to do with Miss Q?
Then again, she's only eight months old.
Perhaps by the time she's twelve I'll be a bestselling novelist and singing up a storm.
That ought to get me seventy-five-grand a year oughtn't it?
Or...we could improve the state of our public schools so that they are acceptable to all socioeconomic sectors, thereby producing an accurate portrayal of the world our kids are going to mix in once they're out of school anyway.
I know, I know, tell her she's dreaming.