I took my parents out to dinner last week, to a dark and dingy small-town burger bar on a regular old Wednesday night, and halfway through the meal a group of 8–10 people entered, wearing ski clothes. They rearranged the tables so they could all sit together, then they ordered their food and drank their beer. They didn't look glamorous or particularly stylish, they weren't snobs to the waitress, and they didn't call attention to themselves apart from the seating kerfuffle. The minute they walked through the door, though, my mother and I both pulled in and up, like something tight and rigid had shot a wire straight up our spines. Instinctively we lowered our voices. My father didn't even turn around, he just glanced at my mother and said, "They're rich, aren't they?"
Of course. We knew without knowing. The air in the room had changed.