My friends and I were enthralled in the seventies by a dramatic British TV series called Upstairs Downstairs. Taking place in a London townhouse, from 1903 to the 1930s, it focused on the comings and goings of the blue blood family upstairs and its “family” of servants downstairs. Separated by class, not to mention living quarters, the two groups nevertheless had similar emotions and experiences. Upstairs and down, romances flourished, secrets and gossip thrived, heartache and loss wrecked lives.
I most remember Hudson, the head of the downstairs staff, who assumed the uppity manner of his upstairs employers. Were it not for his servant’s uniform, it would have been hard to tell them apart.
I am often reminded of Hudson when I deal with officious people (better known as asses), including:
Arrogant administrative assistants to successful executives
Insufferable maître d’ at fancy restaurants
Cocky concierges at fancy hotels
Off-putting agents and managers of celebrities
Condescending assistants to fancy Park Avenue doctors
Nervy nannies to rich Park Avenue toddlers
Supercilious salespeople at fancy shops (remember when prostitute Vivian, in Pretty Woman, was shunned while she attempted to shop on Rodeo Drive?)
Brash doormen at fancy apartment buildings
I guess some of these people get their attitude from their surroundings and their silly “superiors.” As far as I’m concerned, self-importance is conduct unbecoming, no matter where it was born.