When you’re young, and have little or nothing in this world, life is pretty straightforward. Survival is the main objective. Once you’ve sorted that out, and with it perhaps the problems of shelter and hunger, your attention turns to accumulation. It’s then that your real troubles start, because whatever you have, someone else is going to want to get their hands on it.
Not only thieves, conmen, relatives or all the other ghastly types you’ll come in contact with, but also those who don’t want to take what you have, but are driven to take control of it.
I have two assets in this world: a flat and an investment portfolio. In both cases, other people have shoehorned themselves into my affairs and taken charge. One is the very definition of an amateur, the other a consummate professional.
I’ve mentioned the problem with the flat before. A group of busybodies has insinuated themselves between me and the management company to whom I pay a king’s ransom every year to manage the building. The interlopers are unpaid volunteers, which gives them an aura of virtuous selflessness, when nothing could be further from the truth. The queen bee in this farrago wants only to control the lives of those around her.
The roof has a hole that allows rainwater to leak into my living room. It’s been that way for five months. If the leak were fixed, this woman would have no hold over me, so it hasn’t been fixed. There is damage from the water, and no point in redecorating the living room until it’s repaired. The management company, despite taking my money, refuses to deal with me, referring everything to her. The woman must be beside herself with glee.
At least I had my investment guy, who has made respectable returns on my investments. Suddenly, though, he has decided that he must dictate the terms of my life, and has started returning money to me as he sees fit. I have told him I don’t want to disinvest, since each time I do it costs me between 10 and 25 percent of the investment. No matter. This arrogant twerp thinks he knows what’s best and acts accordingly. I’m locked in for three years, after which time I will extract every penny remaining (if any remain) and go to someone who will do what they’re told.
What we’re talking about here is power. I don’t want any say at all in what happens to other people; it’s none of my business. But put five dollars on the table and arrogant clowns will storm in from all over to take charge and show you what to do with it, even if you know better than they. I’m not being arrogant myself here; it’s my life and only I know what I want. I also know what I don’t want, which is interfering swine ruining my plans.
But that’s what I’ve got, and I expect you have too. It’s the curse of having. No wonder Jean-Paul Sartre said hell is other people.