lives of luxury

I read this on the way to work this morning:


“…it did not seem to [Howard] that he travelled so very much, though when he did it was often more and further than he wished. He thought of his own father again — compared to him, Howard was Phileas Fogg. Travel had seemed the key to the kingdom, back then. One dreamed of a life that would enable travel. Howard looked through his window at a lamp-post buried to its waist in snow supporting two chained-up frozen bikes, identifiable only by the tips of their handlebars. He imagined waking up this morning and digging his bike out of the snow and riding to a proper job, the kind Belseys had had for generations, and found he couldn’t imagine it. This interested Howard, for a moment: the idea that he could no longer gauge the luxuries of his own life.”

Zadie Smith “On Beauty” (2005, p25, Penguin)

I found that last sentence a particularly incisive comment about our times and, often, my own heart. I was rebuked.


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