Ascetically Speaking

This isn’t about monks or whirling dervishes, it’s about me living in the wealthiest section of New York City.

There was a lady jogging along Park Avenue while her limo followed behind. It got me thinking.

All around me live the affluent. I’m talking mega-rich not just comfy cozy. I live among them but with an entirely different lifestyle.

One could call it modest, in comparison.

Frankly, I’ve never yearned for the trappings of wealth. The more you own the more headaches one seems to have. Money for me has always meant freedom but the kind you can stuff in your carry-on bag.

I’ve never wanted, for instance, a house in the Hamptons like most of my neighbors. The desire to rush away on a Friday to a crowded place just to be able to say I did has gratefully eluded me. I especially love when I hear the complaints of the 4 hours in traffic coming back on Sunday night. Rather than a summer home you’d have to worry about why not just stay at a lavish inn or good hotel? You have everything you need without the responsibilities. That’s what I call travelin light.

Less is more may very well end up being my epitaph since it’s how I feel about everything: style, food, recreation.

Just give me one great dress over 15 cheap ones. For me, going to a museum or an art gallery where I can be readily inspired is preferable to that inane, noisy party we’ve all attended at one time or another. You know the one – with the cheap wine and ‘can a peas’ as they say in The Godfather. We already know I’d take a book over a boring man any day of the week.

As far as food goes, I do eat sparingly but only buy the best.

But I realize that my preferences don’t necessarily require much currency. If you’re only eating an avocado for dinner so what if it cost 5 bucks. I’m very happy with very little providing it’s of quality.

That’s the thing I take umbrage at, why so much?

Big appetites produce big bills, a lesson I learned the hard way.

I remember an impromptu trip I took to St. Lucia. When I think back I must have been higher than a kite, as they say. I was dating a set designer from Saturday Night Live who invited me to go providing I’d pay my own way. I remember he had another girl he was seeing who, come to found out, he asked first, but she said she couldn’t afford it. Neither could I, but did that stop me?

To make a long story longer, we had a fight the day we landed so me and my indignation flew right back home. It cost me 4500 dollars on a credit card and that didn’t include my Delta bar bill. He also soaked me for half the hotel, the little creative villain.

I think it did something to me because ever since then my need to follow love wherever it leads has left me.

When I hear women standing in front of my building juggling spoiled kids and shopping bags bitching about the help I think, well Susannah you are in a different tax bracket than they are, especially these days but guaranteed, a whole lot happier. Plus, they’re all so fat. Too much unleashed spending expands a woman’s waist line it seems.

I like what the producer Mike Todd said.   He made the film Around the World in Eighty Days but is better known as Liz Taylor’s 3rd husband.

He said, ‘I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind, being broke is only a temporary situation.’

See, that’s very much how I feel.

Camille calls it Cinderella Syndrome, me and Mike call it smart…


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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17 Responses to Ascetically Speaking

  1. Very wise words indeed. Liz’s 3rd husband was really onto something with that statement. However, I’m not going to lie, there have been days when the thought of having a limo follow me while I jog, sounded freaking amazing. Lazy, but amazing.


    • Susannah Bianchi says:

      Only in Manhattan would you see a vision such as that. At first I thought they were shooting a commercial but there were no cameras.


  2. kerrycooks says:

    Very interesting… agree with you on buying less but better quality


  3. Rob says:

    I rapped my car on Saturday. Today I got a quote for repair. I’m broke too. How temporary that is remains to be seen.


    • Susannah Bianchi says:

      The tide comes in and out. Just now my iPod, that I thought I had switched off, started to play – it was Turn Turn Turn by the Birds. How’s that for a divine message.


    • Jeanette Hamilton says:

      I just paid for new tires and repairs for my rack and pinion steering (whatever that is). Car expenses make for the worst kind of broke because they are always unexpected and exorbitant. Hope yours don’t set you back too much.


      • Susannah Bianchi says:

        Was thinking of you just yesterday. Wondered if you were still a reader and here you are. Everything costs money, at least your car is a vital part of your life. If you had 12 then I’d say, hmm…that’s a lotta tires.


  4. gmg says:

    Yes, and the more that you own, the more that owns you…….Love your post.


  5. D. D. Syrdal says:

    I’d like to believe that chump that stiffed you for the hotel bill when you didn’t even stay there will get his comeuppance, but it sure would be fun to be there to see it, wouldn’t it? 🙂 I’ll think good thoughts: maybe he’ll get run over by a bus.

    I so agree that the more you own, the more headaches and heartburn it is. I toyed with the idea of becoming a landlord(lady) many years ago when I was having trouble selling a house in California. I just couldn’t imagine dealing with all that. I like things simple. Consequently, I’ll never be wealthy, but that’s ok too.


    • Susannah Bianchi says:

      Yeah, I’m with you on simplicity. As far as that fellow went, he married that other girl, had 2 kids and was miserable last I heard. He wasn’t such a nice guy, just cute. Those were the days where all my decisions were made from the waist down. When I think about it…la la la


  6. backonmyown says:

    I call it smart, too.

    A few years ago I was shopping in a grocery store in the NC mountains. I saw a young father carrying his son on his shoulders. The child asked, “Daddy, are we poor?” Dad said, “No, son. We’re not poor. We just don’t have money.” His wisdom awed me. It still does.


  7. Patricia says:

    I have never been rich but I have always had more than I need. Not money–I’m usually a bit short on that–but I have always had a decent place to live, clothes, and food. Oh, and a cat. Life is good.


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