Sitting on my couch by the window I look out over an intemperate afternoon in Vancouver.  Clearly one of those days you’d want to curl up with a mocha, a book or the security blanket of television.  I choose to power up my PVR to a favourite show: House Hunters International (HHI) on the HGTV.

 

HHI is, for me, an escape of an escape.  I mean not only the diversion of television, but also the wonderful flight to foreign lands, as expats of many countries forsake the safety of their homelands to live in an exotic local.  Whether that local is the uber-exotic Bora Bora or it’s polar opposite Poland.

 

Imagine: the company you work for want you to move to Marrakech in Morocco.  From a small town in the states too!  What a culture shock that would be!   What I really like is that yes, there are often people with piles of money to spend, searching for that 5,000 square foot mansion overlooking a marina of sailboats.  There are also those who have a more realistic budget looking for a small place in a time-share to spend their yearly two-week vacation.

 

But to my point of what depresses me about the show.  We were watching a show about wife, husband and their three kids moving from the afore-mentioned small town to Marrakech in Morocco.  Yes, there was a significant budget and could afford to live in the more fashionable districts of the old city.  They viewed three of the traditional Moroccan Riads that averaged in asking price of $600,000 euros.  Two were very updated and modern and the one was old, built in the 12th century and crumbling, but a remodeler’s dream.

 

Yet for in this episode they did something different.  They always have three choices for the buyer.  This time, they had four.  The fourth choice was to buy land outside the city and build a new riad.  In the end, this was their choice.  As always at the end of the show, they return a few months later, in this case 14 months later.  My eyes were as big as saucers to see a brand-new, five-room, four bath house in the riad style of a central (and huge) courtyard and multiple sitting rooms and pool!

 

What got me depressed was that they built this enchanting riad on a large plot of land, with an olive grove too!  For under $600,000!

 

Yeah, $600,000! We live in a one bedroom downtown apartment of 738 square feet and it is selling at $535,000!

 

I’ll preface the next notion with: I love Vancouver.  I feel it is one of, if not the most beautiful city in the world.  However, the above, singular fact about the cost of living and the cost of buying in Vancouver is really convincing me that when I am able to afford to buy in the Vancouver area, I won’t.  I know by then it will be time to retire to either a warmer climate or the parisian countryside.

 

Not to mention a particular show about a couple who bought a huge, two HOUSE property for under $400,000 euros… *sigh*

I was just reading Jim Wallis’ article in the Huffington Post entitled: Zero Tolerance: Trump, Schwarzenegger, and Strauss-Kahn”

I’ll step back to 1991.  I registered for a secretarial course at a Vancouver college.  For eight months I was one of two men in the course.  As a man, it was fun having so much female attention.  I know it wasn’t (in the least bit) because I was the kind of man who normally attract women.  As a fact this was never the case for me.  But only default, simple and true.  Do the math, 50 women in several classes and two men.  I’ll tell you it was a great boost to the male ego.  However, this didn’t mean I chased them back.  No I don’t mean I’m perfect and I acknowledge we are extremely sexual beings.  I would be lying if I said the urges weren’t there.  However, I choose to keep it in my pants because I was married and I hold this sacrament in high esteem, period.

Society has made it clear that it’s uber sexy to have wealth, fame, power.  And how society has given licence for people to blur the moral conduct lines, not to mention common sense.  In particular how people crave to hear the latest exploits of a philanderer.  Yes heaping condemnation, outrage and still hunger for what will happen next.  When my niece talks about how she looks up to a certain reality star I cringe.  Not from the point of snobbish “you watch that show?” opinion, but from the fact that she puts someone on a pedestal who is famous for the sake of being on television and no other reason.  Oh I don’t knock reality television, I love some of the shows too!  There are many inspiring people out there who should have their own show!

Step ahead to 1992 when I started work in an engineering office job.  It was the rank epitome of sexism.  The executive director was “Mister”, and the admin staff called “the girls”.  Yeah fun, when you’re the only guy, working the secretarial pool.  The admin staff walked on egg shells so as not to upset the bosses, nor were they to show one shred of defiance or real leadership!  Just do your job and no more!  Here was a fine example of a job where your bosses are men who learned their ethics from the 1950’s, what I like to call the Victorian age of the 20th century.  The penultimate era of the male dominated society in how North American men raised in this time understood that they are to take control of the world and no one, especially women, were not to get in their way!  Not to say this hasn’t been happening for several millennia anyway.  Well I worked long enough at this job to see huge changes in the moral environment and where a woman was in charge and no matter the status, it was first name basis and friendly, human to human contact.  Not to say it was perfect, there are always personality conflicts in any place, but it was far and away for the better.

As Mr. Wallis’ noted in his article that “…Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn have provided ugly caricatures of the moral corruption of men in power…”  Maybe the experience at that college gave me a minute thimble of an idea of what it would be like to have such adulation.  That’s silly, but imagine if I was a multi-millionaire, was constantly on TV, hung with the rich and famous, would that change your opinion of me?  No matter whether I was a philanthropist or a philanderer?  Would it matter?

If people only look at the human being sitting in the Bentley and see past the superficial nonsense.  Again, would you change your opinion and would you choose to watch something else on TV?  Would you?