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Monday, June 08, 2009

What is a life of luxury?

This weekend we stayed at the Green Bay Holiday Inn. The next morning, Sunday, we went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. As we were seated, I noticed a table of elderly people next to us. The man and his two female companions were enjoying a leisurely breakfast. On their table sat the remnants of a basket of muffins, a carafe of coffee, and one of juice. When the man spoke it was in a German accent. The women appeared to be Green Bay locals/Packer fans, but I could tell that the people were regulars--they conversed with the staff and chatted with other passing folk. When they left they strolled out and their table was quickly bussed and reset for the next group.

What struck me most was what for us was a random morning, unlike any other before or in the future, the people at that table had likely lived that same breakfast experience every day for years. To me, their morning seemed...luxurious in a way. The restaurant was in no way fancy. It had a nautical theme with wooden steering wheels and pictures of ships all around. But, to me, this typical experience, when I imagined it played out over and over again, became a simple luxury. And it got me thinking that maybe luxury didn't mean what I thought it did.

So I googled it. "Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort" was the first definition given. That's not what I had imagined it would say.

Tonight when I came back from seeing my father, I found Sandy laying back on the couch checking her email. Behind her say a small box of Seroogy's chocolates. I told her I wanted some and then I realized that Sandy had bought me a box of dark chocolate angel food the other day in De Pere, just a few hours after our breakfast. I went in to the kitchen to get the box and in the Seroogy's bad the thing my hand felt something else--a bag of chocolate dessert coffee. I thought of luxury again.

A few years ago it occurred to me that I have reached the point in my life when I could afford just about anything I wanted. And I don't mean crazy things. I mean things like, if I wanted to always have a box of my favorite Christmas candy on my desk at work, I could do that. If I wanted to always have a package of Wrigley's spearmint gum, my favorite, in my pocket, I could do that. Call me insipid but I think that sort of thing is wonderful.

As a young boy I liked so many things. I still do. When I go into a candy shop I could just as well grab a bag of licorice as a pouch of Big League Chew. I could just as well throw on a pair of jeans as a pair of khakis. However, as I get older, I think that perhaps my life would be easier if I made some more concrete decisions about how I live my life. Lately I have been wearing the same kind of thing to work--a pair of dress pants, a white T-shirt, a white shirt with french cuffs slightly rolled up, black socks, and black dress shoes. It it much easier than coming up with something new every day.

So tonight when I touched that bag of coffee, I thought, if I like this coffee, and if Sandy likes it, I should buy it regularly. I can order it online from my favorite chocolate shop in De Pere and have it shipped a few hundred miles away to my split-level in Rochester. To some, that might seem to be a luxury, but to me, if I kept at it, it would simply become a part of my daily routine. A little something which, though inessential, would be conducive to my leisure and comfort.


ellen 6/09/2009 08:51:00 AM  

Such warm thoughts...Seroogy's will no doubt be a lifelong comfort, just like the trio you mentioned who were enjoying their regular breakfast date. I think it was so appropriate that we had Seroogy's chocolate baskets at your wedding..a good way to introduce Sandy to a taste of goodness.