Life is good here in Montreal. I spend most of my time leisurely cooking in our little kitchen or reading George Orwell books in the sunny park. (We should hit 30°C this week!)
You don’t need much money for either of these activities: just a few quid for dinner ingredients and the occasional bus fare to the library. The good life is there if you want it. You just have to stop buying pointless stuff and quit your job as soon as you can.
Much like the protagonist in Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying, however, I’ve not been able to stop my mind from drifting periodically into the vulgar world of money.
The preoccupation is partly due to an idle interest in economics but also—less comfortably—an abstract and groundless fear that a life without significant income is somehow sinful or unsustainable and that my good life here and now is tantamount to hubris. I know my fears are the result of growing up in an environment in which the Protestant Work Ethic reigned over all of us; and I know very well that I can live here for a long time without sucking up to the money god. Yet there is a nagging homunculus on my shoulder insisting that I should be doing something more lucrative.
I usually deal with this by playing Louis Armstrong’s version of, “Lazybones” loud enough to drown out the homunculus’ ridiculous witterings:
Hey there lazybones, lyin’ in the sun, how you gonna get your day’s work done?
What day’s work, man? I’m too busy baskin’ in the noonday sun.
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