Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Little Luxuries

A long, trying day today, traveling from exuberance to despair and some points in between. This morning I slipped away from work and took an easy train to see my sister and her partner off on their adventure to India, in high spirits. The day sputtered forward. This evening I skipped the ski waxing class I'd been planning on for weeks because a pleasant, helpful and simultaneously crushing conversation, after a draining day, left me too downhearted to show my face in public.

I have learned, as most of us will though none of us really has to, that money cannot buy or even rent happiness. It can, however, prove to be a tremendous source of significant comfort. Today I found yet another box of goods on my doorstep, more stuff to fill up the space, a few more things to afford. I've been making a fair amount of "impulse" purchases lately, just to fill out the profile of the single going-on-forty pseudo-professional foreign-car-driving white female urban homeowner. Some of these have actually been pretty good, if not great, ideas. One of them came in the mail today.

As cozy as my little home is, I've been spending the nights with my down sleeping bag wrapped around me, under my wool comforter, to keep off the chill. (I guess you know you've entered a new stage of life when the bag you bought two summers ago for fast-and-light backpacking in the wilderness has only ever been put to use in your own bed...) A sleeping bag is a curious thing: once you've spent a few nights out in places dark and frigid, it becomes something akin to a second skin, that winter coat of fur we always wanted (along with the tail, and the pointy teeth...) but never got to try on. It's a comfort as well as a reminder of a different way to pass the night, always a pleasure to crawl into. Even so, something just doesn't work about sleeping that way in one's own bed, night after night, and on top of that a bag rated to 15 degrees F is just way too much insulation for indoor temperatures. So the other night I got sucked in by the Sale Of The Decade and bought myself a brand spanking new blanket. I know, crazy, right?

But this blanket, you see, it's not some microfleece number from a big box store. It's not a
fairly traded environmentally responsible organic cotton waffle-weave. It's not even an indispensably-tried-and-true-only-blanket-you'll-ever-need woolen beauty from the local mill. And no, okay, it's not made from snow leopard hides, or unicorn farts... it's just one hundred percent gorgeous, decadent, delicate, dry-clean friggin' only, who-do-I-think-I'm-kidding-this-time silk. When I brought the box inside I was thinking I shouldn't even bother opening it, but instead just slap a label on it and send it back, because even at that price this has to be a stupid idea. Sure, silk's an ancient Chinese secret (or possibly Indian, come to think of it) and a great insulator and super strong and wildly, naturally wonderful, but is this really practical and moreover, is this even allowed? What's wrong with sleeping with a sleeping bag? Isn't that what they're for? So what if this divine article is the color of perfect clear jade or if it's fuzzier than a baby tiger's belly button or if its slinky charmeuse edge has me on the verge of revisiting that whole thumb-sucking phase?

You can probably tell where I'm headed with this.

To bed, is where I'm headed.

To tell the truth, after a day like today, I might have preferred the luxury of having someone to talk to when I got home, or a hug, or the sound of someone else's footsteps on the basement stairs. Then again, this really is one damn fine blanket.

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