I read a blog post about luxuries. What, exactly, are these things?

One of the luxuries I find to be useful is toilet paper. Have you ever considered it a luxury? It is a rather new invention even though the utility seems logical, the practice of having clean, soft, absorbent, rolls of splinter free paper right there is relatively new. I actually wrote about this for my other blog.  In the 1930s Northern Tissue actually advertised their paper as splinter free which makes one assume that others weren’t.

I am gifted with large rolls of paper that even Cleopatra or Henry VIII didn’t have access to. Caesar didn’t have this stuff. Hell, they didn’t even have a Sears catalog.

What other luxuries do I have in my house?

I have magic here. Every day is filled with this magic stuff. I have no idea how it actually works, but get this – I touch a little lever on a wall and suddenly there is light filling the room. Even during the darkest night, one little touch and I feel like a god who says, “Let there be light” and there is light. What a luxury. I’ve seen the pictures of people taking plastic two-liter bottles and somehow making them into light emitters. And I don’t have to do that because I live in the lap of luxury.

Also, and this is essential to life, I have clean water. I push another lever and water gushes out. Clean water. Okay, cleanish. But still, it isn’t filled with dirt and doesn’t have to be filtered – unless I want to filter it through some ground coffee beans and turn it into a different drink. There are people who not only don’t have running water, but don’t have access to anything other than sludge water. And I live in a place where water is piped directly into my home.

Another luxury is temperature control. It has been cold here in the South. The polar vortex has inched its way south and made us shiver. But with my thermostat set in my solidly built house, I’m warm. In the summer, when it is over 100⁰ F and I sit in my house, I’m cool. This is just the neatest house ever. I have been thinking of pre-Columbian natives who lived in teepees out on the plains and freezing through a winter like this and I can’t even make sense of it. The plains are flat and winds are strong. How did they survive without my everyday luxuries?

Last night for a snack, I had ice cream with Velvet Fudge Sauce. It was delicious – as always. Now get this part – I heated the sauce up in a small bowl for just 15 seconds and it went from cold to hot in that short time. Can you imagine? What a miracle! And then I added my wonderful treat of ice cream.

Ice cream is relatively new, but the idea is old as the hills. Early on people would pour sweetened syrupy stuff over snow and have that as a treat, which would have worked last night if I still lived in Ohio, but we didn’t have any snow here. Ice cream as we know it today is just a few hundred years old and good old Henry VIII and Cleopatra didn’t have any of it, either. But if they had, it would have been a special treat. It wasn’t until we developed refrigeration that it could be made in advance and consumed at leisure.

Since the internet is relatively new, we still consider this a luxury of sorts. However, with the digital divide thing, we have now assumed that without it, one is impoverished. Everyone should have access to the internet because where else can you find inspirational pictures of cats speaking funny and saying things like “I haz a warm” and obviously as cute as these pictures are, they aren’t grammatically correct. And I have internet. I have a smart phone, a Kindle Fire, two netbooks (one of them with a broken keyboard and has to have an external one plugged in), and a real laptop. I also have a plain old Kindle and Dick has a laptop and a dumb smart phone. We are connected.

So, I live in the lap of luxury. But it seems so everyday to me. I usually don’t stop and rejoice in the toilet paper’s presence. We think of it as a basic necessity. Just trying being in a public bathroom and running out. It is the one time you are permitted to talk to strangers in the bathroom. All you have to do is yell, “There is no toilet paper in here” and someone will stick a wad of paper under the wall or door. We do not expect to go without this basic need being met.

We have water, electricity, gas, heat, air conditioning, light, and even that refrigeration to keep our ice cream frozen. We have lived liked this for so long that we forget the shivering, huddled folks on the plains of what was to become the United States. We forget that Henry VIII lived in a draughty castle hung with tapestries, not for their beauty, but to block the wind. Flagstones of marble are pretty, but they aren’t warm.

I have closets full of clothes. I am blessed. I bet I have more outfits than Elizabeth I ever had. I have materials that she never had, that is certain. My laundry is done by a machine (that I complain about) and I don’t have to iron my stuff before I wear it. Nor do I have the minions to do so. My shoes are made in pairs with one specifically for the right foot and the other for the left. Cleopatra didn’t have that. Henry VIII probably did.

Many of the things we take for granted do not exist in ancient history or in many places in the world today. My lifestyle is actually egregiously luxurious. And I don’t often appreciate it. But I should.