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Dirty Rich

“We do the dance right
We got it made like
Ice cream topped with honey
But we got no money “

– Lady GaGa

I once met a 23-year-old who had won the lottery. I can’t remember now how much she won, but it was enough that she could afford to quit her job giving private violin lessons in Australia and use her winnings to move to Salzburg, Austria, to attend a music conservatory. That’s where met; in a German class.

Back then I was making 65 Euros a week working as an Au Pair and living in the basement of my employers river-front mansion, so her new-found ‘dirty rich’ status fascinated me. I remember asking her over beers at the Irish pub, about how her life had changed since winning.

She said that she honestly hadn’t noticed much of a difference, and that she lived, (more or less) the same frugal lifestyle she did in her pre-lottery days.

Yeah, I know. I know. That was, like, total bullshit. I mean, she wouldn’t have been talking to me in a bar the Austrian Alps, had she not paid the $2,000 dollar plane ticket with her lottery money.

But. I thought her answer was interesting anyway.

And even though I’ve long since fallen out of contact with her (Hell, I don’t even remember her name), I still remember what she claimed were the ‘Best Three Things About Being Rich’. And they were as follows:

1. Ordering Grande Caramel Macchiatos whenever she wanted
2. Being able to afford manicures and weekly massages
3. Buying all of the New York Times bestsellers right after they were published, instead of waiting until they arrived in used book stores.

I mean, obviously there was a fourth (and more important), answer that she completely neglected to mention. Like, for example:

Never having to work again.

or how about:

Paying her prestigious, private, masters program tuition – upfront and in full.

Since then though, I’ve come to define being ‘rich’ and ‘making it’ by similar terms.
After all, it’s the little things that you end up salivating and obsessing over when you’re broke. Right now, for example, I would give anything to walk down the street to “Freshness Burger” and spend 11 bucks on a gourmet cheeseburger (lettuce, tomato, avocado), instead of making due with bread and butter, a banana and a carrot.

I dream about head massages at the hair salon or gourmet chocolate or TiVo. And I would love to see an end to the circular debates I have in my head when grocery shopping: Should I buy the white bread, which is 30 cents cheaper and has three extra slices, or the wheat bread, which tastes better and is healthier? It’s such a waste of mental energy.

Six months after I moved from Austria to Germany, I got a job nannying for a family who lived on the top floor of large hotel. Housekeeping cleaned their apartment every morning and they had access to 24 hour room service. An Olympic-sized swimming pool, sauna and gym were only a short elevator’s ride away. And because the father was the general manager, he and his family could stay in any of their hotel’s hundred resort locations, for free. In fact, his son had already lived in hotels in Paris, Cape Town and Munich…and he was only 11.

It was then and there that I decided that I’d be forever happy if I could just find someway to live in a hotel for the rest of my life. Sadly, this dream doesn’t seem likely to ever materialize, being that:

1. I’m not Paris Hilton

2. I’m not married to a Hotel General Manager

3. I don’t have a degree in Hotel Management and have zero business skills, so my odds of becoming a hotel manager are about as good as the odds of, well… winning the lottery.

This video is hilarious. And so, so true.

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3 thoughts on “Dirty Rich

  1. Some interesting thoughts. I want to believe that it is better to be without, that way we can appreciate the smaller less significant things, like your cheese burger.

    As for the Australian, sounds like she might lack some personality.

  2. “As for the Australian, sounds like she might lack some personality.”

    Haha. Maybe…I wish I remembered her name, because then I’d try to find her on facebook. I’m curious as to whether she’s spent all of her money by now or not…I met her almost four years ago.

  3. I’m loving your blog – it sounds like you’re really living life to the fullest and have plenty of adventures. I may be moving to Tokyo in a couple months – thank you for all of your insights!

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