Posh Enough

Not far from me are some posh houses. Of course, we don’t call them that. We call them fancy. I didn’t know about them until last year when I took a studio tour that landed me in one of these posh houses looking at bad paintings and petting the artist’s cat.

There’s a big gap between the posh houses in my part of the country and the antediluvian mobile homes that sell for $1000 on Facebook and end up wrapped around a young family, struggling to make ends meet. “1976 mobile home, still on wheels, new water heater, new floor in kitchen, in good shape for its age.”


I am literally and figuratively between the two. For me, this summer, using my sprinkler system and having a kid that mowed my lawn every week was pretty posh. We were in a drought, and I didn’t want the grass to die completely. After hip surgery, I could neither drag the hose around or cut the lawn myself. I’ve since turned off the sprinkler and laid off the kid. Between him and the cost of water, it was too posh for me. Next year? I hope there’s no drought and probably twice a month is enough lawn mowing.

I’m not a socialist per se but I don’t understand greed or abject materialism. Much of our success in life (financial and otherwise) is due to sheer luck — where and when we were born and to whom. I think having enough is enough. I wonder how different our world would be if everyone shared that perspective. Having the means to buy art supplies and take a class did not make that woman in South Fork an artist. Who knows what unknown talents might lurk behind the eyes of the guy living in the beat-up trailer and working three jobs to feed his family.


18 thoughts on “Posh Enough

  1. I am now 71 going on 72 years old, worked most of my whole life and brought up 4 kids. I am not rich, always had to count the pennies, but have been lucky and saved a little on the way. I can now afford a cleaning lady when I calculate it all. We bought our home (actually still buying it, but will probably never be bought by the time my ashes float on the local river), but who cares because what I do not use I cannot take with me. Those living in the luxury villas will not be living in their villas when they are no longer here and whether floating or buried in a teak box makes no difference. I say enjoy it while you can.

  2. it is indeed a matter of circumstances of birth in many cases. Often what we do with our advantages as well. But if you don’t start with an “advantage”, we really seem to have reduced the opportunities available. A unhealthy societal attitude in my opinion. Like you, I’m not a socialist per se, and basics really ought to be available to all–healthcare, living wage, etc.

    • I agree. I see it as a line of numbers and a lot of people struggle all their lives to get to 0. To earn a living wage as a college teacher in CA, I had to work three jobs and, for most of that time, I had no health insurance or retirement. And I HAD advantages — like an education and a mortgage. I struggled to stay at 2 or 3 on that line until I had worked for two years at San Diego State and got a contract. And I’m one of the lucky people in this world. I think healthcare is a right and a living wage is a moral good. I hate the mentality that if you take from X, Y, Z person because you can you’re smart.

  3. I think having enough is enough–why does that not make sense to some people? I am a no-frills kind of gal and we live a pretty frugal life. I truly feel that I have enough–but retiring and going on Medicare still scares the hell out of me. What if I don’t have enough?!

  4. I often wonder why the super-rich need more money. For what? They already have more money than they could ever use in any life I can even imagine living … yet they all need more. I don’t get it at all.

  5. If you were fortunate to be born to the right people you had a better shot at living posh than others. You will always insist it was your hard work that made you who you are. That may be true – but there are many people who didn’t have the same chance to put in that hard work into a remunerative career path. I know many hard working people who were also very smart but fate put them into less profitable careers paths.

    If we accept the role that random chance plays in our lives then we will never become arrogant nor will we feel inherently inferior.

  6. Amen! I’m just finishing up Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall–and Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill. It’s a great book and includes a section profiling the efforts of Peter Edelman and the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality’s comprehensive plan to address those very issues by building a new caregiver economy. I know you’re a writer rather than a reader now, but if you ever do decide to pick up a book to read again, I highly recommend it. Or, if you’re interested, I can give you the URL to Georgetown Poverty report that he’s referencing.

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