I was trying to write today’s post when I realized that the first object I was describing carried so much ambivalence and confusion for me that I could not write a coherent post. My second attempt ran into similar difficulties. There are different degrees of coveting, and mired as I am in my morass of desire, I need to start with the easy pieces, the ones I can deny myself with a few hundred words.
I don’t want to write about something I cannot sincerely renounce just yet. Obviously, this blog is touching on a deep conflict inside me, which was my intent in starting it.
Third object to try. Today I will write about something I have admired and wanted for many, many years, but am finally ready to say I will never have: The Hidalgo American flag ring (at left).
It is a well known design because within the tiny field provided by a ring, it succeeds at being a blazingly distinctive, stylish, and glamorous miniature rendering of an American flag in the wind. What with the gold and the diamonds, the overall fine workmanship, and the designer name, it is certainly worth the price.
I want one so I can stare at it in the sunshine and wiggle it back and forth so the diamonds sparkle! This draws from a similar attraction to color as the Glass Gem corn I recently described, but instead of making me think of the countryside, it makes me think of myself. It’s in the same league of self-adornment as red lipstick, which I love to wear. One could perhaps get it for someone as a gift, but really, it is so distinctive, it is for the wearer to select.
I could save up to get it. And Hidalgo’s showy ring is clearly beautifully made and worth the money. The knock-off version (at right), purportedly set with cubic zirconia, doesn’t have its panache and workmanship. The stars don’t shine. At least, that’s what I feel… Or… is it just not expensive enough for me? Does the cost itself of the designer version attract me?
No matter. It is clear that the longing itself is the pleasure. In real life, I can’t bear to save up and spend that much money on something I would enjoy for a month and then stop feeling as my finger grew accustomed to it. That much money could make a real difference to a small charity, or to my future self in retirement. My longing, even though it has gone on for many years, and no matter what a pleasure it is in itself, is a sustained “Ooh, shiny!” distraction from what is important. The packrat wants to grab it and make it my own.
But indeed, in this blog, I am trying to achieve a number of important tasks, and one of them is not to say “Sour grapes!” about anything I want, but to stay conscious about both what I want and why I choose against it.
I still enjoy jewelry, and if I want to show my patriotism in a glittery way, I can always get something from Ann Hand, which is informally the costume jeweler to Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. (You ever wondered where the patriotic costume bling comes from that is worn by bureaucrats who testify before Congress, and the wives of senior military and members of Congress ? Ann Hand.)
Perhaps if I were a One Percenter or even less wealthy, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the Hidalgo ring, because my retirement would be paid up and I could still give quite a bit of money to charity without noticing. If you can do that, maybe you would like the Hidalgo flag ring.
But I can’t do that. I can only make the firm decision to renounce any thought of buying myself this fabulous ring. I choose to spend the money and the thought-power on other things, even other amusements.
There is a reason I have not bought this ring even though I have wanted it for so long. My avarice has been caressing this particular “precious” to the point where the imagining itself is the pleasure. And now I choose to stop letting my daydreams fondle this fantasy.