Day 105 -Beverly Hills, Hookers & Cash
So I am at a conference in Beverly Hills for work. I am staying in a lovely hotel and surrounded by money. Once upon a time, this would have made me feel less than or envious. I would have felt like only a visitor, the wealthy more like animals in a zoo to me, watching their habits and routines, seeing their exotic plumage in their expensive clothes and cars. Before, a part of me would have been envious and felt something akin to “when is it my turn”? Or the opposite would have been true - I would have felt like I didn’t belong.
I am staying at the hotel where the film Pretty Woman was set. Julia Roberts character completely foreign and out of place. People rude to her (the ones that acknowledged that she existed) and most others treating her as if she wasn’t there. It was a good film despite the propagation of the message that women still need a man to rescue them from their own self destruction. The age old “hooker with a heart of gold” tired and wrung out but still finds a place to capture the box office. Seems like we will still be a sucker for a good love story that involves mutual redemption.
I saw some of Julia’s real life compatriots last night in the hotel bar. Young, beautiful women earning their living by dangling themselves and their bodies as low lying fruit, ripe for the taking, provided, of course, the price is right. It made me sad. Sad for the women and sad for the men. All night long I watched the transactions, the women interested in the cash to be able to buy things that they wanted, largely to be able to attract a larger payday. Were they all just fucking for money until the Richard Gere character shows up and saves them from themselves?
Then there are the men. Successful, rich, not particularly attractive (Richard Gere more of a Hollywood fiction than factual reality) paying for companionship and ultimately sex. Seemingly having the world at their disposal, and the best they can do on a Friday night is to pay for the company of women young enough to be their daughters. Escaping into booze, probably drugs and a paid release at the end that will allow for a little oblivion. Is this the best money can buy? Escape from the lives fortune created?
The whole deal made me sad. How is it that we can have it all and still miss our purpose? Sometimes I think life is wasted on humans. We are seemingly the only creatures inhabiting the planet with a survival instinct that is lodged in reverse. Spending the largess of health, wealth and good fortune more towards destruction than any nobility.
I read recently that the wombats in Australia invited other animals into their holes in an effort to save them. Not only just a strong survival instinct for themselves, but a strong desire to pass that along to others in peril. I know we humans have that also, but sitting in the bars last night, I wondered if somehow the fame and money pulsing through Beverly Hills, acting as some sort of shield that prevents humans from being able to see themselves and each other.
The bar was full of pretty women and rich men. At least they appeared rich - who really knows how much they actually have. Appearances reign supreme in Hollywood, Beverly Hills the benefactor of illusion and fame.
And there I sat. In my non-designer clothes. Drinking water. Most likely on the lower end of the wealth spectrum in that bar. Yet, I felt ok. I didn’t feel superior - casting shadows on a world of money that I do not comprehend. Nor did I feel less than. My lack of monetary sophistication not really an issue for me. Mostly I was grateful to have arrived in a time in my own life where I can go pretty much anywhere and just be present. The slave driving comparison game ended for me. Being supplanted with an idea that we are all here to achieve a purpose and realizing, myself included, how lost we get along the way.
At midnight, I was tired and grateful to be heading to bed. Grateful for the opportunity to be in place with beautiful amenities. Grateful that I am only visiting and that I live somewhere else that feels more supportive to my psyche. As I climbed into bed, I felt no better than, no worse than any other person staying at this hotel. Realizing that we all are often misguided in our thoughts about what will make us happy. Content in that moment, that climbing into bed, alone, was the most self affirming act I could take. Grateful that after seemingly endless work to have arrived inhabiting my body, mind and spirit regardless of my environment. As I drifted off to sleep, I prayed that all my fellows in this hotel, find contentment. May they all be pretty women and rich men but in so many other ways than they currently fathom.