Pete Campbell reminds me of a boy I knew in high school. He was the richest kid in our class. He lived in a large white house on a hill and it was rumoured that the house had two tanning beds and an indoor pool. I was always suspect of these claims because sometimes, on weekends, I would see the boy mowing the expansive front lawn. “They can afford an indoor pool but not a gardener?” I scoffed, before speeding by and returning home to watch horror videos with my Mom. I could never understand why the boy was popular. He was cruel, unattractive, and not especially smart. I liked being relatively unpopular and obscure. Observing my beautiful blessed classmates was exciting, and I resented his face getting in the way of all the pretty girls who looked like Seventeen models and attractive boys who were so endowed with good looks and smarts that they left us perimeter kids alone.
Pete is like that boy, but because we’re not in high school anymore, we’re allowed to dig inside Pete and discover his motivations. Why is Pete the way he is? Why is he so awkward, so sharp tongued, so eager to please and equally eager to upset?
The easiest answer to these questions is that Pete made choices he felt he was supposed to make, instead of those he wanted. Pete found a pretty girl, put a baby inside her, worked his way up at a well-paying prestigious job in Manhattan, bought some land and a home in Connecticut; he’s barely 30 and he has it all. This is what Pete is supposed to want, this is what Pete sometimes thinks he wants, yet he still longs for the busy noisy landscape of Manhattan. The sound of a quietly dripping drain in his country home is deafening. Pete is supposed to be happy though, so he puffs out his chest and pretends.
Such a beautiful description of the complexity that is Pete. Lovely.