The definition of luxury

When I first moved to Illinois and made hardly any money, my definition of luxury was the Embassy Suites in Lombard, which you can see from I-88 on your way from Naperville to Oak Brook or Chicago or wherever. There is nothing fancy at all about this hotel, but it's narrow and tall and it has a high domed green roof and the rooms form a ring around the perimeter of a hollow center lined with windows, which is lit up at night in a way that looks glamorous from the road, at least to me. I remember driving past that hotel year after year and thinking, someday I'll come back to this place from somewhere far away and that's where I'll stay, and I'll finally know what it's like to look out from the inside. That's where I stay now, when I visit, and what you can see is I-88, and a shopping mall, and a Chick-fil-A, and some low-lying office buildings, and the last time I stayed there, in May, I saw a car lit on fire on the side of the road.

The definition of luxury is different for everybody, but lately I've come to define it as small tokens of ease: tools or objects that make life better or more pleasurable in infinite, often unremarkable ways. So my idea of luxury these days is:

  • SPF 50
  • A car with air conditioning
  • Air conditioning
  • A car (no "small" pleasure, but still)
  • Spare rolls of toilet paper in the closet
  • Spare rolls of paper towels in the cupboard
  • Cupboards
  • A spare set of sheets in the closet
  • Closets