Monday, December 1, 2008


You see a picture of a bed. The title of the post is lust.

And what do I lust after? That bed. Nothing risque here. Move along, nothing to see!

Not that medical insurance makes any sense, but in the long run, it would save on doctor's visits and medication if people who have arthritis, fibromyalgia and similar ailments were helped with the expense of having an appropriate bed. But, then again, there's the fact that I can get an eye exam, but I have to pay for my glasses. I can understand that insurance companies don't want to pay for Armani frames, but if one can't function without glasses, isn't it a medical neccessity?

I suppose if everyone had a good bed, then the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be selling as much Ambien and whatever else they promote for insomnia and pain.

I don't think it's a conspiracy, but it could be. Maybe we will discover that Big Pharma and Big Mattress are in bed together (no pun intended, but there it is). I bought a supposedly excellent mattress six years ago and after one year it was kaput.

It's awful, but I look at my bed and think "There's my personal hell." One reason I stay up late is so I can put off getting up in the morning. It doesn't make sense, 'cause no matter what time I go to sleep, I have to get up the next day, but these are the kinds of nonsensical things that people do when they're hurting. I'm not the only one. I've heard it all at fibromyalgia support groups. That's why I only went to two meetings.

When I did a google search for wool mattresses, I found an awful lot about "the ultimate luxury" embedded in between the information on why wool mattresses are healthy and comfortable. It occurs to me that the original target audience (pain sufferers) probably weren't supporting these companies well enough to keep them in business. I discovered that some upscale hotels now have rooms with these beds for clients who need them (and I'd bet that a night in one of these rooms costs nearly as much as a mattress).

Well, we all know that rich people can afford to take better care of their health. Before I moved to Maine, I thought dentures were only for elderly people. Not so! My rude awakening was when I was having a conversation with a girl in her twenties who had sparkling white teeth. I complimented her on them; they were so sparkly and nice. She said, "Oh, you can have them, too. All you need to do is have your teeth pulled!" Gulp. Toothless and twenty-something.

I grew up surrounded by wealthy people. My family moved to one of wealthiest communities in America when I was about seven years old. Before that, we lived in a housing project, where I was a fairly happy kid who loved to jump rope, read, draw and explore. After we moved, everything changed. Suddenly, I was in a world I didn't understand. I was teased for wearing the wrong clothes, or the same dress more than once in a week. I was confused by all sorts of things. Nobody came out into the street to play. The women I thought were mothers turned out to be maids. Silly me thought little Jane Doe had a black mommy who wore a funny outfit every day!

Oh, how I came to hate that town and everything I thought it stood for - greed, lording your good fortune over others, treating people badly simply because they're less fortunate than you. . . .this is one subject that I can't write about at all. Not with any coherency, that is.

And this post started with my desire for a mattress. My lust. Or is it covetousness? Whatever. I just want. Really, I should be grateful for the riches I have. A roof over my head, a car, plenty of food, a computer with the world at my fingertips! And my sofa is pretty darned comfortable to sleep on. See, I have a sofa! Some people live in tin shacks and sleep on dirt floors. Lots of people do.

Maybe I am much more of a typical American than I think I am.

Addendum: This is one of those times I'm thinking "should I delete this post?" Am I a sniveling whiner? In my line of sight is a magazine with a picture of Michelle Obama on the cover. Seeing her makes me think of how hard some people work in order to achieve. And their work and achievements aren't for nothing. They're for their children, their communities and, sometimes, for the world.

In the town in which I grew up, I saw many people who had attained wealth but who had little education. They only had the desire to make money and then, once that was achieved (though that work is never finished, it seems), they liked to show it off. People who couldn't pull themselves up by their bootstraps were losers and deserved their lot.

As much as I intellectually disagree with this idea, it is something I can't quite shake off. I do not believe that we are all born equal. Some of us are born into poverty. Some are born into wealth. Many talents are inherent. So are the things we consider deficits. Some kids can never learn to read or write and others will go on to get advanced degrees in physics, write or paint a masterpiece, or rob a grocery store.

My society tells me that I'm a failure at life. If I can't afford that bed in the picture, I should work harder. I've lead an odd life, I'd say, with ups and downs financially. Mostly downs.

I'm embarassed when confronted (in my own mind) with the success of my relatives and people I've known since I was young. I have more than a few talents. Why haven't I flourished?

I think back to a summer when I had a booth at the Full Circle Fair in Blue Hill, Maine (not your ordinary fair). I wove tartans at the time, beautiful heathered tartans made of Maine wool. Not only were my blankets beautiful and well-woven, but I had tags, brochures and all sorts of materials that were painstakingly designed and, yes, lovely. I can say with no false modesty that I had a great product and a great presentation. I sold nothing. Zero.

Down the aisle from me was another weaver, who was selling plain white blankets with a thin stripe of color in them. They were perfectly fine blankets. They had a brochure that was perfectly fine, too. But, here's the thing: they were taking orders for these $300 lap blankets like you wouldn't believe. I kept going over there and eavesdropping. The wait time they were projecting to buyers kept going up and up as the weekend went by. I got more depressed as I listened.

There was no sense in this. Objectively, I had a nicer product. I was nice and friendly (though I may been glum by Sunday late afternoon). In all likelihood, the other weaver's success started with a piece of luck: a single buyer who brought friends, a group of maybe-buyers who all arrived at once or the fact that it was a particularly hot weekend and the plain white blankets looked refreshing in the sun.

Now, I did become quite depressed afterwards. I was sure that the reason I lost money was that there is something inherently wrong with me. My childhood told me that I was a loser and life has given me plenty of proof that this is indeed true.

I fight against this idea every single day. It's a hard fight, that's for sure.

Phew. Long addendum!


Anonymous said...

That bed does look pretty good...Julie, you HAVE TO buy a good mattress, even if it means cutting your budget on other things...Please... Aren't you worsening the pain problem by sleeping in an uncomfortable bed?
Just reading that makes my back hurt!

Julie H. Rose said...

Nika, you are always right. As I'm unemployed, I can only hope that there will be money to set aside when I finally DO get a job. Meanwhile, the couch is pretty comfy.

Maybe I should have deleted this post?!

But, I did start the blog with the intent of being brutally honest. . .

Anonymous said...

Sorry to sound so emphatic, that story reminded me of me ***ing up my eyesight because I felt I couldn't afford the eye exam and pay for the right glasses. In retrospect that was a stupid thing to do, there are some things that you can't afford to economize on.
You know, now they have all kinds of deals that if you make a large purchase on store credit, you don't even have to start paying it off untill a year or so from the date of purchase. I'm sure you'll get a job eventually and pay it off.

Anonymous said...

I just read your addendum - what can I say, I make my living selling my stuff at art shows, so I'm familiar with the situation. Out of 25 or so shows I do a year, about as much as one in four could be a complete dud. I have the same presentation and types of jewelry at each show, so I know it's not that. Sometimes I don't make any money at all, and sometimes I do well. There are so many things that figure into it and it's so much out of my control besides the part that I'm responsible for, it's almost useless to spend time pondering it.
One thing I noticed definitely has influence is my attitude - any time I'm grumpy I don't do well. So I try to be happy no matter what goes on around me.
Yes, people are born into different conditions, but there's a reason for that. I'm sure being a buddist, you know all about karma and how things are arranged so we can learn a certain lesson. We all have ways to grow, no matter what circumstances we're born nto. It's just some of us have more work to do...

Julie H. Rose said...

The reason I followed up with that story was to give an example of how luck plays a part in one's life. I tried to find a "good reason" why my stuff didn't sell and I couldn't. There was no good reason.

But, you're right about one thing: People don't want to buy things from grumps. I've noticed this in myself, at fairs and in small stores. If the person selling can't be bothered to talk to me or answer questions, I'll leave.

I wanted to write "people don't want to buy from grumps unless they're dead." Yes, depressed and crazy dead people's work does sell better posthumously.

You've got to have a good attitude and lots of resiliency to work fairs and shows, Nika. My hat is off to you!