Saturday, September 18, 2010

Envy and the Diamond Ring

As I sit here typing it's a lazy Saturday afternoon. There's this gorgeous handsome man napping on the couch beside me. We were gonna go up to the lake, but fate played a hand yesterday and instead of fighting fate, I went with the flow. And to see what we missed up at the lake, go back my blog entries for last year, and see pics of our lake place.
I've become very contemplative at age 50. The rush of youth is over and I crave the slow steady flow of life. Rushing about from place to place is a hassle I do everything to avoid. But on my left hand is a diamond and gold ring. It has 5 stones, maybe 2 cts total weight. For many years I admired it on the hand of my former best friend Martha. I used to see that ring and think what a great life she had. In fact, I aways envied her and her life. From the time we were in 9th grade. She was always the pretty one, she had that "look." Clothes looked better on her than me. She had a flair, a sense of style and attitude. And she married a guy who could keep her in a stylish lifestyle. While I moved around place to place like a biker gypsy, she was living in an expansive home in a peaceful suburb. She always drove new, upscale cars. They took luxurious vacations, from skiing in Vail and Utah, to tropical paradise locations like the Bahamas and Aruba. She never wanted for anything, she would drop $300-400 a week at the grocery store and not think twice. While I was counting every penny keeping my grocery bill below $80 a week.
A few times a year I would go visit her, taking a break from my white trash world to visit Planet Posh. A place where everyone paid their bills on time and no expense was ever spared.
We would play cards and her sparkling ring would catch my eye, memorizing me. I would sit there and silently wish it were mine.
Then she decided to get divorced and suddenly she had to deal with money issues. With over $20,000 in credit card she needed cash, so she offered the ring to me for $1000. "You have been staring at this thing for 20 years, so you may as well have it," she said.
Suddenly the symbol of what I had always envied was mine. Her life changed dramatically after the divorce. She got the almost paid for house, the latest luxury car, the furniture, enough cash to pay off her credit cards, and a nice chunk of change every month of child support.
Then her parents died and she got even more money, almost $200,000.
But it wasn't enough. 5 years after the divorce and 2 years after the inheritance, she is $40,000 in credit card debt. She pretty much lives alone in that house, that house that used to be safe haven from the trouble of my nightmare existence. A house that has become a nightmare to live in at all. She spends every waking moment reliving painful moments in her past. Drudging up all those bad memories and going over them over and over and over. She has a hard time functioning, every surface of her once luxurious home is cluttered with items she can't stop buying.
As if buying more things will somehow bring her happiness. She rants and raves hysterically, goes into irrational crying jags about things that happened years ago. She takes out her anger on anyone still in her life, her children and her ex.
She recently demanded that her ex take her back and remarry her. She has complained for years about the abuse he heaped on her, and now she wants him back?
She no even resembles the Martha I knew. When she quiets down she still has the old charm, the physical beauty is still there, but its all very twisted.

And for the first time since 1975, I am no longer envious of what she has. I luxuriate in my own life, however humble it is.

As for the ring, it is where it belongs, on my finger. She never appreciated it. I don't she ever appreciated much of what she had. I don't she ever will. And that is something I could never envy. Life is a mysterious gift, in whatever capacity you know it to be.

And now I'll go out into the shop and work. I'll enjoy my little shop in the woods, my beautiful man, my humble little life.

1 comment:

Lady Ridesalot said...

Very well said and as far as "living my humble little life"... I couldn't agree with you more. I feel sorry for your friend. Even though she has material possessions...she's lost so much.

Because of the history that comes with your new ring... it will serve as a reminder to enjoy the good things in life, but stay grounded while doing so.

Glad you had a quiet Saturday... we need those every now and then. Take care friend.