Saturday, April 26, 2008

the unembarrassed materialist

Dinner tonight was supposed to be at some Chinese restaurant in Eastwood. I had to say ‘no’ to free food because my Mercedes Benz – the gas guzzling beautiful machine – is acting up. I thought about commuting, but after 20 minutes or so, I gave up. Public transport has been alien to me for two years now. I don't even know how much the train/bus/jeepney fare is these days. That's how bourgeois I've become.

Bourgeois. Bourgeois. Bourgeois.

Unlike some people, I’m not ashamed to say that. I am bourgeois, and I would like to experience the finer things in life. I'm not a social climber, and I certainly am not trying to fit into any kind of group. I am just me – I work hard, I save regularly, and I occasionally allow myself to buy nice (sometimes expensive) things.

Why some people are afraid to even mention the word 'money' is totally incomprehensible to me. It's just money – you make it, you manage it, you spend it. It does not define you. I certainly don't let it define me. I don't feel any different now than I did before I had some savings to fall back on, before I could afford P35,000 shoes, before I had access to a fancier car. Did my self-confidence grow? Not really, because I have always been a snotty little asshole even when I was still poor. Have I become a big spender? Not really – I just buy one quality thing now, when before I bought a lot of pointless little cheap things that never last. My closet has never been so spacious.

If anything, having the ability to access finer things has made me even more discerning. I look for good value, not for status. I love my white Hermes canvas bag even though to most people, it looks very ordinary. There's pleasure in knowing that I carry a well-made tote, lovingly assembled, made to last a lifetime. It does not even have a logo, and the only clue that it's Hermes is the inside zipper pull and discreet buttons. That's what I love about it – how unassuming it is.

I like flying in comfort. I appreciate the wide seats, the breathing room, the good food in the business class. I am aware that some people pay for those seats because of prestige, but I sincerely I don't. I just want to enjoy some space, to be oblivious to other people's conversations, to be liberated from having to stare at some guy's bald spot.

I enjoy the luxury of time. Time to jog around the university on a cool day. Time to get a facial. Time to sit quietly by myself, reading a book while eating fresh strawberries. Time to blog. Time to finish a whole season of a series on DVD. Time to think, shout, laugh. Time to fart without hesitation.

The good life to me now is about quality. It's not about being chauffeured in a limo. It's not a P20,000 haircut (that's vanity, not quality). It's certainly not the P2,000,000 bomber jacket I saw in the magazine (that's imbecility, not luxury).

I look for shoes that fit my narrow feet – whether they cost P35,000 or P300, it does not matter.

I look for silk tops – whether they say 'Balenciaga' or 'Made in China,' it does not matter.

I enjoy good biscuits and tea – whether they were whipped up at the Peninsula Kowloon or store-bought from aisle 11 of Cherry Foodarama, it does not matter.

I am pursuing the good life, not the high life.

And there's no shame in that.


Blogger mussolini said...

I will still fly coach, of course – I am scheduled to fly to Kuala Lumpur with friends in July. We will be 'sardined' in the rear of the plane. I never thought I would look forward to that, but I actually do. The quality of the company is what I'm after. Besides, it would be fun laughing at the stewardesses.

7:54 PM  
Blogger {illyria} said...

we were heady with the MSG. you should have been there. and i slept over at bismuth's too. i was intimate with her, given that i was wearing her clothes to sleep. :)

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're the most admirable, least annoying materialist i know in this world. all else are pure blah.

7:41 PM  
Blogger mussolini said...

barry> those "others" are into buying nice things for "status," and NOT for the "sheer delight of living well." we encounter so many of those others everyday, don't we?

7:42 PM  

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