16 Apr Would you rather be Wilber or Windungu?
Let’s face it, thanks to this Covid19 pandemic, we simply have far too much time on our hands these days to think about all sorts of topics we hardly ever considered before. We’ve been asking ourselves things like ‘how much money does one really need?’ or ‘What!! A monthly credit card bill can be this low!!! Does it make me a bad person to like this virus?’ or ‘How many of my wife’s friends would I **** and how many of mine would she?’ As well as other such wonderful mind journeys on which our adventurous brains (yes that’s right, they’re far more adventurous than we are; there’s no way we’d act on half our thoughts and fantasies) are taking us.
My brain took me on one such mental excursion this week as I was going through various articles in the Sunday papers. I was reading about a guy named Wilbur (I changed the name) who is a successful New York architect (I changed the city and the career, in fact, I’m making the whole thing up… no I’m not, but yes, I have changed the details) who has decided to take his family to their home in the Hamptons during this lockdown period. Of course, he is concerned first and foremost about the health and safety of his family, however, Wilbur mentioned, with a hint of humour, his concern regarding the prospect of spending so much time with his wife, something they haven’t done for years. Even though this was laced with sarcasm, I couldn’t help asking myself if this was true.
Either way, I’m sure there are many for whom this enforced extra time together with their partners is a source of irritation. Most partners go through daily routines of “good morning darling” and “sure I’ll take your shirts to the dry cleaners” and “no I haven’t forgotten about dinner with the Jones’ tonight” and so on, with the correct smile and pretence knowing full well they will soon be starting their separate days where they can exhale and let go of that politically correct facial expression. This is a luxury that partners have to do without for the next few weeks, months, ….
A few pages later, I came across another story about a guy called Windungu (yes, details also changed, I can’t think of another hilarious way to tell you so I’m just telling you) who lives in a village in Cameroon with his wife and three children. Their home is a small shack from where they bake Kumba bread and sell it in the local market. I know it’s hard to imagine but this pandemic has made us all relate to people whose lives are on polar opposites to ours. I understand what Windungu means when he says “home life adjustments” “social distancing” “washing and wiping everything” “shortages” “sudden loss of income” …etc. The numbers and parameters are sure to be different but the sentiments are shared to a large extent.
As was the case with Wilbur, you can detect in Windungu’s account a few insights into his life. For example, he mentions how he feels lucky because him and his wife see each other as equal, dependable and amusing partners. One can deduce reading between the lines that they see each other as the perfect person with whom they’d want to go through this lockdown. When it comes to this issue, you can imagine Windungu feeling a bit less anxious than Wilbur because his issues do not include the question “will there be friction with my partner?”
After a bit of reflection, I asked myself this question: Would I rather be in Wilbur’s or Windungu’s shoes? We can all of course romanticise about the beauty of choosing love over money with all the added extras this may bring into our lives, minds, self-beliefs and so on. However, I can’t lie, given the choice between the life of a successful NYC architect who has a successful career, a home in Manhattan, another home in the Hamptons, and probably around $10m in an off shore bank account but with a wife that doesn’t really love me, hasn’t laughed at any of my jokes for years, still messages some of her ex’s now and then just so she remembers what it’s like to be talking to someone that gets her juices flowing and in fact, if I go broke, she’ll probably leave; or a life of a struggling Kumba bread maker living in a shack in a village in Cameroon with a net total worth of less than $1000 but with a wife that adores me and looks at me the same way Louis Lane looked at Superman, I would hands down, no questions asked, 100% choose Wilber’s life and anyone who is truly honest and has earned their money, not just inherited it, married into it or had a partner make all of it, will give the same answer.
But then (thanks to all this spare time), I thought further and I realised that this is an unfair question. There is no way any man or woman can decide which would they really choose if they don’t fully understand both options.
So, let’s look closer at both options. The majority of us do get how fantastic it would be to have Wilbur’s life. Anyone with a TV has been drowned with a lifetime supply of imagery giving insight into the life of the wealthy. Therefore, we can safely say that we can all imagine what a big house, or a luxury car or a country home or a dream six-star holiday would look like regardless of our own financial status; it’s the other option that is a bit less tangible. Being with someone that you love and they love you back is somewhat of a cloudy concept. We need to agree on the criteria we’re using for a partner whose company coupled with poverty you’d choose over Wilbur’s life. Here is a no BS checklist to help us agree:
- Are you each other’s number one choice for having an intelligent conversation?
- Are you each other’s number one choice for making each other laugh?
- Do you feel that you both equally and fully understand, appreciate and contribute towards (if not monetarily, then at least in support and thought) your finances, how it’s made and where it goes?
- Do you both find each other equally attractive, as in you both give each other a score of 6/10, 9/10 or 3/10 and you’re both really thrilled about that, in fact, you have an in joke where one of your many banter exchanges is ‘you’re my favourite 6 out of 10’?
- Are you each other’s number one choice for freely sharing all politically incorrect thoughts, whether it’s about fantasising over an ex, a colleague at work or a murder of an in-law, AND these exchanges lead to a cheeky smile on both your faces?
- Are your nicknames personal and funny like ‘6 out of 10’ or ‘tiny p’ and not generic and dull like ‘darling’ or ‘babes’?
- Do you find each other’s level of desire to socialise and be the centre of attention, or be in the background, orgasmicly similar?
- Do you want your children to be a clone of your partner?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to seven or more of the above, then and only then are you qualified to choose between Wilbur and Windungu. Otherwise, it’s as if I’m asking you to choose between living on Earth or Pluto.