Chapter 1 – Continued
They lacked for nothing, and they indulged every whim with matter-of-fact entitlement. If Christina saw a piece of jewelry she liked, she bought it. If Paul found a designer suit that struck his fancy, he purchased it. If either of them discovered an expensive trinket that piqued their interest, they acquired it. When they were hungry, they ate as much as they pleased of whatever cuisine they desired. When their car ceased to be fashionable, they traded it in for another. When they spilled wine on a piece of furniture, they had the whole suite replaced. If anyone got in Paul’s way at work, he used his professional influence to have them removed from his path. When Christina decided she needed more money, she adjusted her prices and secretly kept the extra profit for herself. Their lives overflowed with an uninhibited, entitled abundance which they increasingly took for granted, and all their friends affirmed their right to take as much as they chose from the world around them.
Yet for all they had, it was never enough. They were intent on acquiring even more.
Each day, they sallied forth from their high-rise condo into the world of commercial enterprise which compliantly awaited their bidding. Each day, both Paul and Christina spent long hours at their jobs―he, behind a desk or in board rooms, she, walking clients through her gallery, showing what style and magic could be had from indigenous imagination and traditions, or meeting with artists anxiously seeking a venue for their work. Late in the evening, they headed home for drinks and dinner. Some nights, they dined on takeout in front of the television, work papers spread about them on the floor. Other nights, they donned their finest evening wear and attended posh, paparazzi-spangled social affairs with politically connected business associates and the pillars of the community they called friends. The only sign of limitation in their lives was that they had no driver, yet, and their car was a mid-sized (albeit, luxury) sedan. But soon enough, they had every confidence, their Mercedes would be replaced by a town car―like those of the silver-haired lords and ladies of the city―and a hired man, not Paul, would chauffeur them to the fêtes.
In return for the intense ardor of their daily lives and their devotion to keeping up appearances, they were richly rewarded with social and professional advancement. Mastery of their universe was well worth every 18-hour workday, followed by long evenings of paperwork or parties. Like others in their social milieu, they paid little attention to politics, unless it directly affected their social or professional positions, and they paid even less attention to the implications (moral or social) of their work. They were eagerly and intentionally devoid of any ethically responsible impulse, and they considered social consciousness the bastard child of the morally invasive Church. Their only profession of faith was that those who had less than they, had been somehow remiss in their socio-economic or karmic obligations, to live such meager lives. Those who had less, they believed, were either lazy or stupid and had earned their low station in life. Everyone, they believed, got exactly what they deserved.
Paul and Christina had it all, and they assumed they deserved no less.