Excerpt: 'The Manny'

"You're not doing it for the money. Obviously. Phillip's such a heavy-hitter lawyer these days." She was whispering (she thought), but everyone around us could hear her."I mean, you can't possibly be contributing much financially on a scale that matters."

I rolled my eyes at Kathryn. "I actually make a pretty good salary, Barbara. But, no, I'm not really working for the money. It's just something I like to do. Call it a competitive streak. And right now I need to concentrate on Dylan's game because he can be competitive too, and I'm sure he'd like me to watch him play."

"You do that."

Kathryn pinched my arm too hard because she hated Barbara more than I did. I jumped at the pain and smacked her on the shoulder. She whispered into my ear,"Amazing Barbara didn't find a way to bring up the new plane. In case you missed the billboard, Aaron's Falcon 2000 jet finally got delivered this weekend."

"I'm sure I'll hear about it soon," I answered, staring out at the court. Dylan was now attempting to block a shot, but the player ran right around him toward the basket and scored. The whistle blew.

Warm-up over.All the kids retreated to their sides in a huddle.

"You know what's so obnoxious?" Kathryn whispered to me.

"So many things."

"They can't just say,'We're leaving at three for the weekend,' which would actually mean they are leaving at three in the afternoon by car or train or some commercial flight or whatever." She leaned in closer to me."No, they want you to know one thing: they're flying private.

So suddenly they start talking like their pilots–'Oh,we're leaving for the weekend, and it's wheels-up at three p.m.'" She shook her head and grinned."Like I give a shit what they're doing in the first place."

When I first married into this crowd, coming from middle-class, Middle American roots, these Manhattan Upper East Side families naturally intimidated me. My parents, always donning sensible Mephistos on their feet and fanny packs around their waists, reminded me all too often that I should keep a distance from the people in this newfound neighborhood–that back home in Minneapolis, it was easier to be haaaapy. Though I've tried to adjust for the sake of my husband, I'll never get used to people throwing out their pilot's name in conversation as if he were the cleaning lady."I thought we'd take a jaunt to the Cape for a dinner, so I asked Richard to please be ready at three."

Dylan was on the bench with about ten other teammates as Coach Robertson threw the ball in the air for the jump ball. Thankfully, Dylan was excited by the game.He was talking to the kid next to him and pointing to the court. I relaxed a bit and let out a breath.

Two minutes later, a sippy cup ricocheted off my shoulder and landed in Kathryn's lap.We both looked behind us."So sorry!" said a heavily accented Philippina nurse. The McAllister centipede was trying to maneuver into a row of bleachers behind me.Two of the younger children were braying like donkeys. This was the kind of thing that really got Kathryn going. She was no stranger to poor behavior from her own children, but she couldn't stomach the lack of respect the bratty Park Avenue kids spewed at their nannies.

She looked at them and turned to me."Those poor women.What they must put up with. I'm going to do it. Right now. I'm going to ask them if there is a set schedule for matching uniforms and see what they say.You know, like Sponge Bob on Mondays, Dora on Tuesdays."

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