Trading: The Unglamourous Life

Galerie Ariane DandoisMaybe I’m psychic, but less than one week after ordering a new computer, I awoke yesterday to find my main trading computer dead.
Since this computer features two identical hard drives with RAID, plus the external backup, I did not panic. Still, it was not booting up and required a visit to the local chop shop to bring it back to life.
Without the computer, I found myself with nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. I ended up visiting buddies at the old office, and since the day ends at 1:00PM local time, I indulged in a little unauthorized reading of the September issue of W magazine where I found two articles about what most of us would consider “the glamourous life” that mirror the reality of the capital markets.
The first article was about Mme. Ariane Dandois, the only woman in the ultra high-end antiques business in Paris. On the eve of her retirement, she lamented:

“One day, one of them [newly minted billionaires] will get married, to a blond, and will decide he has to buy a huge house,” Dandois says. “He will hire a decorator–and not a knowledgeable decorator who would make him feel uncomfortable. So you put all those ignorant people together, and here they are, walking into my gallery, with some young assistant carrying huge floor plans. And then the first question they ask me is if I have a pair of console tables 15 feel long! They are looking for things that have never been made, no matter in what period or country. Things that simply don’t exist.”
“I’ve had some absolutely wonderful clients who knew nothing but were trying to learn,” she says. “They go to Europe, to museums, buying lots of books. But this is rare. Most people don’t collect; they furnish.”

Another article profiled Hollywood producer Art Lison, whose memoirs What Just Happened? describes “the desperate life of a spiritually defeated gambler trying to patch together his next movie project without losing his hide or his soul in the process”:

Although slow to forget the insults he has suffered–Dustin Hoffman once told him that his hairless ankles were a sign of declining testosterone–Linson takes consolation in the fact that nobody in Hollywood suffers less. “It’s like snails on a pane of glass,” he says of the industry. “It doesn’t matter where you are on the pane, nobody wants to slide down. And if there’s any dignity to this despairing little journey, it is watching people hang on for dear life and trying not to show their desperation.”

Amazing, huh? It really must be true that you can’t be too rich or too thin, or have too many hard drives…