|One's Social Life (Artist's Impression)*|
It was nice to get a glimpse of the house, the dogs, and Mr. Muscato (not necessarily in that order), but then almost immediately it was off again, this time to dine. Usually, a gala intime dinner at the town's most (to quote Cuddles Kowalsky) ra-sha-sha eaterie would be a treat, but my constitution is already tottering under the aftereffects of, over the past couple of days, far too many nibbly bits on trays, hastily grabbed conference pastries, and, truth to tell, cocktails-with-colleagues-one-sees-annually.
So, a three-hour dinner of almost obscene opulence (including a dish that was essentially lobster on a bed of crab) was, I'm ashamed to admit, really something of a trial. At table, in addition to l'il ol' me, was an imposing group including two Excellencies and a former prince ("Oh, it's a very long story..."). Socially, sometimes one does feel very much like a Little Girl from Little Rock. Economically, this is very much not a normal place.
For example, here are some conversational highlights of recent days:
"Ees good hotel, thees Wildorf Instoria?" - from a gentleman who explained that he really did hope so, as he's taking a floor for the summer so his family has a base in Manhattan;
"Oh, no, old boy - I'd never rent a car in the States - so much easier to buy something, an Escalade or that sort of thing, and then ship it back." - from another soon-to-be traveler, who explained that anything smaller wouldn't have room for his wife's shopping forays (they're apparently addicted to Sam's Club); and
"Of course, that's exactly what I told His Highness..." (or some close variant thereof) - the refrain of a gentleman who introduced his patron's name into the conversation far more frequently than poor Mr. Collins did that of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
Well, at least it isn't dull, and with any luck a few quiet days on the horizon as we head toward the local weekend. I need it, and the dogs will be so pleased...
* Sheer hyperbole, I know, and hardly representative. Still, there is a connection, as this snap is from a Cuban Ball held in 1956 at, you might have guesssed - the Wildorf Instoria.