Monday, March 14, 2011

How the other half lives!

This weekend I had a surreal existence--seeing how the other half lives, and by that I mean the super rich. On Saturday I attended a Giant's baseball game, using a friend's seats in a great location behind home plate in the 'friends and family' section. This meant we sat among the players wives and families. The wives could almost have had "wife" tatooed across their foreheads. They all had long blond hair, wore fashionable tight white jeans, skimpy tops, gorgeous sandals, designer purses AND on their ring finger a rock the size of Manahttan.
Then on Sunday we went to the racetrack where our next door neighbor had a horse running. I got to go into the paddock before the race, chat with the trainer and watch the horse dancing nervously (it's a very highly strung horse). Actually he's still a baby, having just turned three and therefore a teenager with all kinds of quirks and bad habits, but loads of talent. In spite of taking the final turn incredibly wide he won. So we then had the heady experience of standing in the winner's circle, having our picture taken. The jockey was a tiny English girl from my part of England so we chatted together like old friends.

Yesterday evening our neighbor showed up with the official photo of the winner's circle. He stayed, got through a bottle of our cognac and talked. He owns 6 race horses and it costs him $10,000 a month to feed and train them. But they are his hobby. What actually makes that money to feed them is that he has oil wells. He goes all over the world, looking for oil, negotiating with dubious dictators, dodging through wars. He was in Chernobyl a month after the disaster. He was kidnapped by Russian mafia and taken to someone 's room slung over a bodyguard's shoulder. He was in Ethopia and Eritrea during their conflict and tried to make both sides be reasonable in allowing the land-locked country a narrow strip of access to the ocean. No luck there.

And yes, he thinks all this is a huge joke. Fun. So would I like to live like the other half? You know, I think I'm comfortable the way I am. But I might, just might like to own a racehorse. I have to say the thrill of watching it surge to the lead was really heady. It reminded me of when my kids used to swim competitively and they won. But then they were less expensive to feed and train. Now it's Monday and I'm back to the computer, working through the next five pages of my book. Ah well. Reality ain't so bad.

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