Little Luxuries, Big Essentials

Fall weather is upon us, for the moment, at least temporarily ameliorating my loathing of the north Texas climate. With temperatures in the mid-sixties to start the day, I can tolerate Dallas weather for the moment. I welcomed yesterday’s on-again, off-again rain and mist, despite the fact that it interfered with my plan to mow and otherwise tidy up the yard. It’s still early, so I don’t know yet whether I’ll be able to do yard word today. It certainly won’t be until the afternoon because today we are visited by our maid, who comes every few weeks; when she is here, we clear out, leaving her to get her work done without us being in the way.

Having a maid is a luxury we cannot afford, especially in light of the fact that I turned off the income faucet when I decided to take a year’s sabbatical, but we continue to deplete our financial resources with abandon, assuming I can turn the faucet back on when I decide I must.  Such a luxury seems even more decadent, now that we’re not working.  It means more now than it did when we spent so much time at the office; then, it felt almost like (though it was not) a necessity.  Now, it is a luxury, pure and simple.  We have cut back on the frequency of her visits, but we decided not to eliminate them all together; I do not want this time of freedom to be suffocated under a blanket of worry about money.

Her visit today will be the first in quite some time that coincides with tolerable outdoor temperatures, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the morning outside if the rain holds off.  If not, I’ll still revel in the absence of artificially conditioned air.

I wonder whether I’d put so much value on days with cool temperatures if they were much more common?  I wonder whether I’d put as much value on periodic visits by the maid if the frequency of the visits were dramatically increased?  I suspect the answer is “not” to both questions, but I like to think I appreciate the little luxuries for what they are, opportunities to savor the experience, regardless of the rarity of the experience.

The vast majority of people on this earth, through circumstances outside their control, have far less than we.  Aside from sharing much of our abundance with them, which we should do, we should recognize that our little luxuries might mean nothing to them.  What would mean more would be to have access to just a fraction of what we consider necessities.  And then we might consider what, really, are the little luxuries; they surround us, envelope us, define us.  We might consider, instead, what we would give up to give everyone else the barest of essentials.



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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