The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Luxury is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps

There's a commercial running now that catches my attention. It's a Cadillac commercial. It opens with an apparently rich couple sitting at the opposite ends of a longish dining table. They look somewhere between bored and indifferent. You might get the idea that they don't like each other much. The image is one of a life without excitement, without passion, maybe even without any interest at all. Jaded.

It's all about luxury. Cadillac, desiring to be (or maybe "reclaim") the symbol of luxury. And that Cadillac's luxury is exciting. This, of course, got me to musing about luxury and wealth. These are, after all, inextricably linked, aren't they? Luxury is not cheap. Those of us who are not wealthy (and that would be the vast majority of us) get only glimpses of luxury, little tastes of it.

I like those little tastes. I have been fortunate enough to have stayed the occasional time in a fine hotel suite, ridden in true luxury cars, felt the incomparable texture and give of fine leather as well as the feel of silk against my skin. I enjoyed these things. But I think I could also become jaded quite easily.

I own a Buick Lucerne with just about all the "goodies." I especially like the remote start and rain sensor windshield wiper system. The interior is "leather appointed" and quite comfortable. It's a far cry from the 10 year-old (at the time) Studebaker Champion with the torn and ratty interior that was my first car or any of the ones I have owned over the years (with one exception: I owned a 10 year-old Seville for a year in 2005-2006) I think about buying a new car but, when I do, I realize I would have to give up the comfort and convenience I have become accustomed to. I cannot bring myself to do it. I don't think of the car as a luxury, it's just nice transportation. But I don't want to go back to cramped little cars with vinyl seats that transmit every bump in the road (and we have a lot of bumps in our roads here). I won't give up what little luxury I have.

Faye sees luxury and wants it. I see luxury and see mostly expense. There are times I dream of the rough life I lived at one time. I slept on beaches, wrapped in a ratty blanket now and then, was either in the Navy or working for minimum wage, and rented cheap apartments. I lived paycheck to minimum wage paycheck. My only transportation was a motorcycle (bought used, of course). I didn't mind. I partied with friends. Had lots of laughs, didn't feel deprived.

In the back of my mind is that journey across country and back on a motorcycle with a small tent, a sleeping bag, and the minimum in clothes that I haven't taken. It's the only thing on my "bucket list." It certainly wouldn't be luxury but it would be interesting. I just don't know if I wouldn't quit halfway.

I don't want a butler and a maid, it would mean a lack of privacy. I don't want a chauffeur, I like driving myself (it's a control thing). I don't want a big soft featherbed or deep pile carpet.

Luxury to me would be someone else doing the mundane chores like shopping, mowing the lawn, and such. I don't need, or want, all the trappings of wealth. I don't think I'd be happy in a huge house.

Faye sees luxury differently. Regular visits to the day spa, a huge bathtub with jacuzzi jets. Filet mignon at one's beck and call. A mansion. A live-in cook and maid. But not a cute French one, I'm sure. A Bentley or Rolls in the garage, maintained and kept immaculate by the Chauffeur. He'd probably be the cute French one. Private jets to take her to Las Vegas on a whim.

I suppose men and women have different perspectives on luxury. Just as we do on most everything.

What is luxury to you?

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