Those with Time to Wait
Money’s somehow ever a factor in Rhode Island. Perhaps the tourist-attracting conspicuity of Newport mansions emphasizes the distinction between those with and those without (and the various gradations between). Perhaps the geography and historical, unplanned New England layout of the roads uniquely places working-class neighborhoods so near to the vistas that draw wealth. Perhaps the long life of the local architecture has led wealthy families to break up their land or subdivide their houses for apartments in proximity to others able to keep their estates whole.
Or it could be the discrepancy between those who can afford to tolerate the mess of the state’s operations. After all, crumbling infrastructure has a sort of quaintness, and poorly run and business-unfriendly government only imposes a sort of premium, from the perspective of residents with the wealth to absorb the cost. Only those striving to improve their circumstances need suffer from the absence of opportunity.
It must be said, however, that money shapes the community in ways that can’t help but be accessible to all. Unique (sometimes overwrought) architecture and the maintenance of the open spaces of bought-up land help to define an area. The specialty shops with crafts and arts that only the wealthy can buy may still be treated as free-entry museums. And then there’s the interesting eccentricity that seems more refined among the rich. I think, here, of a statue that the distracted driver might spot on Rhode Island Ave., in Newport, while on the way to work.
Even if life leaves too little time or cash for more overt pastimes, only a slight turn of the head or turn of the wheel will lead to tastes of repose and feasts for the imagination — albeit with the pangs of longing for the time to linger and the observation that she’s waiting for someone to come from within, not to pass by, without.