They’ve Got it Made

Posted: October 15, 2012 in The Road to Skid Row

Watching the Food Network when you are hungry is a stupid idea. My stomach was rumbling and all I could think about was that juicy rib-eye steak, fried to a perfect medium-rare with a sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt. What a terrible time to go vegetarian.

We were running out of money. Kate hadn’t worked in months and I had already depleted my meagre savings. Job hunting was going nowhere, and even if something did come up it would be weeks before we would see a pay check.

We settled in for the miserable ride Europeans call ‘austerity’. Meat was too expensive, so we cut it out. We cut out snacks and deserts, bought the cheapest possible ingredients for meals and stopped buying alcohol altogether. (Note: I did occasionally indulge in a cheap beer from El Salvador which was around $2 per litre and mighty delicious too).

Living on a budget in Beverly Hills is like being on a strict diet over Christmas – you are surrounded by people enjoying themselves in the most decadent way possible and all you can do is watch.

On my way to the public library – my daily escape from the cave I lived in – I walked through the most famous shopping district in the world. Rodeo Drive is where rich people go to buy self-worth but walk away with overpriced high heels and diamond-encrusted wristwatches. It’s the kind of place where seeing a Rolls Royce isn’t out of the ordinary and where California suits (t-shirt and Ray Bans) sit outside cafés talking about their latest screenplay.

Whenever I walked past a high-end restaurant I felt conflicting desires to either throw a brick through the window or sit down and order a steak. I gazed at the happy rich people eating their meals like a street urchin from a Charles Dickens novel. Please sir, I want a rib-eye. They didn’t notice me, of course. Rich folks like this wouldn’t notice a bum if they drove over one in their Bentley.

The only rich people that give a damn – or pretend to give a damn – are celebrities. Apparently Hollywood stars often encounter homeless folks on the streets of Rodeo Drive. It must be a crazy fucking sight to see.

Paparazzi surround them and take thousands of photographs. Half blind from flash photography, the poor homeless person stretches out a hand and asks [A-List Celeb] for change. The most unknown poor excuse for a human being coming face to face with one of the most known, celebrated persons of our time. Such a scenario is so absurd I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sight of it.

Your average rich person doesn’t worry about this though. Ordinary rich folks don’t have a public image to maintain. They are in the enviable position of being able to do and say anything they want. Pass the Himalayan pink salt, please Monica.

When you are living the good life you don’t stop to look outside the restaurant window. It’s like Bob Dylan sings: “Aw, princess on the steeple and all the pretty people / They’re all drinkin’, thinkin’ that they’ve got it made.”

And they have got it made. They have the whole world made for them, one rib-eye steak at a time.

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