Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do I Want To Be Rich?

Here is another meditation on money when I really should be thinking about the creation of the Venetian ghetto or about the Wars of Roses and the Paston family or figuring out interesting things about Giles Daubeney. But no, I am thinking about money. It does, in a way, have something to do with all of those other topics.

So, you ask (or probably you have stopped reading by now in disgust and don't bother to ask), what do these historical topics have to do with some boring meditation on money? Or is this all about Jewish money lenders, fifteenth-century English lawyers and the patronage system in the court of Henry VII and how you could become rich by having the ear of the king. Well, I guess a resounding no is in order, although you now have some of my research preoccupations at the forefront, although not the main ones.

Anyway, money is for something else altogether. I don't actually want to be rich. Sometimes I think I would like to move to a more clement climate. Usually they are more expensive, so I would want enough money to be able to afford a modest lifestyle and a nice but not over-the-top house. I actually like where I live and my house, I just wish it didn't get so cold or so hot or so windy.

I would like enough money so that if I saw a piece of clothing I liked, I could get it without angst or thinking about it until it went on sale and my size wasn't available. Of course then I say I wasn't meant to have it. The same with accessories--purses, shoes, jewelry, scarves, etc. I would like enough money to hire someone to help me get rid of stuff. I know that these two goals seem to be at odds but I have lots to get rid of. I would like to edit my house, especially the knick knacks and furniture. I would like something comfortable but sleeker. More shelves, a great way to store my yarn, better and more invisible electronics, etc. And definitely I would create a more energy-efficient house if possible. Relandscaping would be a plus. For the rest, I would like enough money to give more generously to the causes I would like to support and I would like more money for travel.

One goal would be the year of traveling abroad as well as the year of living abroad and I don't see those as the same thing. I would want to do research in England and finally free myself of Giles, Baron Daubeney, and also do some work on cultural exchange in Venice. I still want to do something with coffered ceilngs. But I also want to go back to France, visit more of Switzerland, go back to Fez, see Timbuktu, follow the Silk Road, and go to China and Egypt. I don't want to be rich in terms of having millions or billions with huge amounts of conspicuous consumption. I know that in terms of much of the world and even of many Americans I am, although not rich, probably more than comfortable, but like everyone else, I would like a little bit more.

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