I've spent the work day reading and writing about the late George Floyd, his killing and the aftermath. It's all horrible, of course, except for the stories about Floyd helping out Christian missionary work in the Houston projects. One thing that strikes me is that looters got Rodeo Drive; an earlier generation made an attempt on Rodeo Drive during the Rodney King riots and failed. If I remember correctly they were dissuaded from entering by the National Guard, but don't quote me.
There was window-smashing, if not looting, in Toronto shortly after the American Rodney King riots started, and on the subway I listened to a man with a lacerated hand and a dazed expression repeat "You gotta stop the shooting."
Today I am wondering if there is more or less cache in owning a Chanel jacket or Gucci bag looted in a riot, and I find myself faintly disgusted at the idea of owning any name brand coveted by a looter. My favourite handbag was made by a Polish veteran of the Battle of Monte Cassino and sold in his Edinburgh leather goods shop to B.A., who gave it to me as a gift. My favourite dress was made for me by my mother.
When I was seventeen, I longed to own designer clothes, but I now realise that the real privilege in contemporary life is having married parents who are fond of each other, live within their income and are good at such things as home repair and sewing.
Unfortunately I am not good at home repair and sewing although, given that I can now speak Polish (on a good day) and grow vegetables, it is not impossible that I might learn these other things, too. At any rate, I cannot imagine I would feel happier owning a Chanel jacket than seeing a new vegetable appear in the trug.
Yesterday my three great joys were Italian class, conducted over the phone; a locally raised pork roast cooked perfectly by B.A.; and our homemade apple cider, which B.A. pronounced the best ever. A branch of elderflower buds has appeared in our garden, poking through the mingled branches of beech hedge and apple tree, reminding us that we're going to make elderflower champagne this year.
This morning before work I entertained myself by reading about organic soil. Organic soil does not sound as glamorous as a Gucci bag or a Chanel jacket, but it is certainly more useful and also more valued by the man with the highest status in Britain, i.e. the Prince of Wales.
Yes, even if I win the lottery I will not shop at Gucci or Chanel. I shall buy my bags from Launer and employ my mother as a full-time dressmaker.