Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

01 Jan 2009, 20:26 p.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2009 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

We've been having friends over this week for food, Dr. Horrible, Wii Music, and conversation. When I look back on 2008, some of my best memories are of extending and receiving hospitality, sharing my enthusiasms and learning new ones.

We've also been fortunate enough to enjoy some financial comfort, and since we live in a tiny apartment, have found ourselves leaning towards spending on experiences like travel and dining that don't take up any room. I've probably spent less this year on books than I have any year since I started college -- thanks, library.

I did however grab an issue of "Haute Living" from Daniel when Leonard and I ate there this summer. Just now I rolled around laughing at the ads for stuff that even the Wall Street Journal thinks is excessive. One resort is "home to the world's only 'tanning butler' -- a gentleman who roams the pool to ensure those hard-to-reach places are effectively oiled" (p. 172), leading me to ask, "Is this man employed by the hotel?"

We don't have room for more stuff, so we avoid stuff-buying. If you're rich, you just buy a storage yacht! It's refreshing to see that, while Leonard and I may be more well-off than we're accustomed to, we're not rich jagoffs.

But, near the end of the magazine, I ran across an unexpectedly intense meditation/parable on hospitality and luxury from Eric Lepeingle, a yacht broker.

A client who has everything and can buy whatever he wants was in Cannes to visit the yachts. His manager comes in and says he wants to have the most perfect French experience possible. I say to myself, I'm sure he's already eaten at all the big three-star Michelin places. He knows where they are. He doesn't need me to bring him to a restaurant. So I call my wife and ask her to go to the meat shop and buy a cote de boeuf and organize everything and tell her that I'm coming to the pool with five people and we're going to barbecue with us. So I tell him, 'Tonight you're going to have a real French experience.' He asks what that is. I tell him, 'It's called home.' 'What?' the client asks. 'Come home,' I tell him, 'Why do you want to stay in your hotel, only to leave just so you can go to a restaurant with everyone in black and white, and get served in the exact same way you always do. The only thing I want is to have a good time.' So he says, 'You know what, you're the first person I've dealt with that has invited me home.' His eyes don't look the same way they usually do. They're smiling. You cannot do that in New York, in the office. You work all year for that one moment.

-"The Pleasure Broker" by Jeremy Lissek, Haute Living Florida, June/July 2008, p. 187.

Luxury is ....


01 Jan 2009, 22:47 p.m.

OMG how are you going to survive without equity blah blah blah...

02 Jan 2009, 3:27 a.m.

Hello, I received your card at work. Thank you and have a happy holidays!

02 Jan 2009, 11:32 a.m.

"We're not rich jagoffs."


02 Jan 2009, 21:24 p.m.

I got your card! Thank you! You are a delightful houseguest.