Having spent the other week doing some fairly hardcore road-tripping through America’s vast High Plains and unwinding from it all with a most rejuvenating massage, I can’t help but daydream of how it all could be better in my life. It strikes me that those who, unlike me, have a big network of friends and family with picturesque pleasant estates around the world to lodge in have it really good, especially if the ancient customs of hospitality are practiced and you can stay at each others’ homes as guests regularly. Indeed, traditionally that’s what all these guest rooms and facilities for “entertaining” were for!
Of Hospitality and Beds-and-Breakfasts
It’s been extremely common throughout history for societies to be centered on and oriented around people’s homes, from the home that hosted the infamous suitors in “The Odyssey” to the great halls of medieval warlords in northern Europe. Even in the modern United States, where the hospitality of the home has largely been replaced by the hospitality industry of the hotel, pockets persist here and there. For example, in some of the more remote parts of rural Mississippi (a region I had the pleasure of traveling in a couple years ago) the predominant form of lodging you can rent is rooms in big plantation houses that wouldn’t have looked out of place in “Gone with the Wind”. Some such places, including the mansion built by Thomas Hoatson in Michigan’s Keewenaw, are still in operation as working residences from top to bottom rather than having been roped off as museum pieces too precious for man to touch.
Then again, perhaps I’m biased, with historic homes run as independent beds-and-breakfasts having always been my favorite type of lodging, since I get a charming real house with a real room, usually with better amenities and aesthetics than comparably-priced hotels, which are just atrocious in terms of how soul-sucking they are to look at when you’re in them. The very air is better in the historic homes too, and not just because I can usually actually *gasp* open a window to get some fresh local air on me when I’m sleeping.
I favor them even more nowadays, since the beds-and-breakfasts generally don’t ask for photo IDs or (and this is a more recent indignity) require you to wear masks or present vaccine cards. A couple years back a corporate hotel even photocopied my driver’s license, a line I prefer not to cross unless absolutely necessary (alas, in that instance, it was). That was the worst incident, but any time I have to so much as present an ID to such people it makes me feel more like a victim of the Gestapo than a valued customer; imagine actually paying money to be treated like that. Blech.
Anyway, being bereft of any network of friends like Thomas Hoatson, or even more banal McMansion-dweller friends, who live in the places I like to travel to and are willing to host me in their charming homes, that’s the closest thing I’ve got. When I can’t find accommodations I actually like I prefer to just sleep in my car, as I did for three nights on my most recent trip. Why give up my hard-earned capital gains to get lodging I don’t even like much? Don’t worry, dear readers; it’s a car that’s rather comfortable to sleep in, and indeed that contingency is why I own a car that’s good for long-distance cruising.
It’s really amazing how most mainstream cars are obviously not oriented toward people who, you know, actually want to go places and make full use of their vehicle; they’re rampant, these cars that crump you up in your seat and bounce you up and down like a beanbag at the slightest pothole (and on American freeways the potholes are getting awfully big and deep nowadays…). But then again when I described my recent road trip to people I know some of them looked at me like I had two heads after I told them I drove the distance, so it seems any kind of remotely hardcore road-tripping isn’t common. So much for America being such a car culture…
Daydreams of fine Living
But I digress. If I could I’d flit between these estates I mentioned, get myself a massage every day, and then fill my days with my own creative projects much as I do now, but leaven it with spending time out in the sun with friends in some kind of vigorous physical activity, perhaps horseback riding or playing polo, and relaxing and talking with them all in stimulating conversation, perhaps over a glass of wine (maybe we should scope out a vineyard, perhaps one with one of those infamous wine caves…). Then maybe we’d go into a luxurious and immersive but dimensionally modest home theater and watch a good movie or some such thing as that, and then we’d go out dancing at a formal elegant ball at night, maybe in the same estate we were staying in.
I’d also enjoy the company of classy hot escorts the whole time; plenty of stimulating conversation, someone beautiful to look at all the time, with high chances for plenty of great sex regularly throughout the day. I long for a soulmate wife, but if all I want is some fun and a good time why not get all the good parts of a relationship, none of the bad parts, and all without wasting my time chasing “hookups”?
Because I should want companionship that wants me for “me” rather than my money? I honestly don’t care much. Besides, even company you pay for is noticeably better when you genuinely like each other, a fact that’s obvious to anybody who interacts with anybody else who provides them goods or services, so it’s not like a truly good paid-for experience is all an act put on purely for money and not for the provider’s enjoyment too.
“Real” Relationships: much more transactional than you think
Also worth noting: even if you scrupulously avoid directly exchanging your resources for companionship, the truth is many if not most acquaintances, friendships, relationships, and marriages are based in part or in whole on the other person thinking they can get something out of you.
How many of us have had a personal crisis and found many, most, or even all of our friends and family abandon us? During the pandemic I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of exactly that happening to people who thought they had real friends. Luckily that hasn’t happened to me; not even casual acquaintances, let alone actual friends, have deserted me, but when I notice the contrast between my fellow dancers (anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine-passport to a man from the get-go, having (with a couple of exceptions, all of whom are acquaintances, not friends) never worn masks when not required) on one hand and the COVID-fearing masked ghouls who peruse my local grocery stores on the other I can’t help but suspect I live in, as Bryan Caplan put it in reference to his own life, a Beautiful Bubble. And this is in one of the most “open” states in America! Ha!
Put yourself out there, sure; meet new people, and if you really click with somebody cultivate a friendship. That’s how I’ve made all my friends. I’ve yet to be blessed by true love, but I have been blessed by true friendship for the first time in my life for the past few years, and it’s a wonderful thing. Ditto I can only assume for truly loving romantic relationships. But eschewing better-quality paid relationships altogether in favor of worse-quality unpaid relationships that may well not be “real” anyway makes no sense to me.
Free yourself from the Middle Class
This whole post is rambly, but the point is: though it may be a bit counter-cultural, what’s not to like about the life I’ve outlined? Indeed, it sounds an awful lot like the same lifestyle rich people lead now. It’s good to be wealthy, isn’t it? When you have money you can live a dreamy lifestyle like this, so why don’t we set our aspirations much higher to something like this instead of the insipid middle-class drudge life of mediocrity we’re told we should all have, that we’re told is the be-all-end-all of human existence? I for one am.