Too much time in Europe makes me want a pair of jeans like a cowboy would wear and a wool sweater that can get wet and shrink and bleed
. I want long uncut grass on highway dividers that turns gold and sharp
at the tips, and the convenience of a cliche
when thinking of something you do not have.
In an emergency exit aisle seat in economy class (oxymoron) the little map says that we are over Cork. I have bought a Vanity Fair magazine and paid 15 francs for it because it was the only English they had. The magazine said that ‘February is all about après-ski.’ I have never heard anybody use the term ‘après-ski’ in a normal conversation. The term annoys me like 'prestigious' or 'luxury.' The word prestige comes from the latin word praestigiae, which means 'illusion', which is all I can think of. Five people died that week at an avalanche on the mountain in Zermatt, and the red air lift helicopters would ferry people from the pistes to the hospitals every day.
Some people say that in New York the subway people in the winter smell of quiet desperation. Or rather, both desperations (‘hopelessness’ and ‘reckless fury’) smell like a crowded F train at 6 in the morning. People who are asleep shift and dream, and their polyester-down jackets release stale cigarette smoke, cooking oil, an apartment that might perhaps contain a kitchen with a linoleum floor. In New York none of the restaurants have any Michelin stars and it is comforting to be able to speculate that they might reuse the untouched bread in the baskets. But I am 19, and it is my job to pretend to be dissipated.
Up in that bankrupt SWISS plane I met a woman with a fur coat named Toni who is a television producer who asked me personal questions. We became plane-friends. Somewhere over Newfoundland she told me she was born the same year as my mother and is going to St. Moritz, to meet her boyfriend, who lived in London. She giggled a bit and told me, “oh, he has lots of girlfriends.”
It seemed ludicrious; the way she said it so flippantly. I am used to hearing 26-year olds refer to such a subject as a matter of grave importance; who are mostly either very worried or very afraid. On my previous flight I sat next to a rabbi who couldn't sit next to me because I was a woman. So it goes.
My boyfriend lives around the world and
every two weeks we flip through books of leading small hotels of the world and cities and islands and go to the ones where they cook every dish on the room service menu every 15 minutes so that they will be able to deliver it in under 2 minutes. We stay up all night in bed and watch the CNN international edition where they show the trailer to ‘Inside Africa’ for start times in 6 different time zones.
We watch it again until the cycle repeats, and order room service breakfast which we finish on the way to the airport. This is desperate like all its definitions, except for despair, and I feel like we are Humbert's madly expensive hotels and his expensive indulgences and ruinous love at six in the morning.
Every time he leaves me he will buy me something that shines dully platinum white. He will buy me a pretty gold bracelet and a necklace with a teardrop made of diamonds in a robins egg box and a fat white Charlois cow that lives on a farm in Ireland, whose hooves sink into the mud because the ground is too loamy, and a Tribeca loft for us to live in closing April, and he will quit his job for me and and I will cry every week at the airports of war heroes like Charles de Gaulle and Chang Kai Shek; as the privacy in public places is too lonely and glamorous.