At the airport Radisson Hotel in Oslo today, I get upgraded from standard to business class. I don't ask why, and the receptionist doesn't explain. I payed for the room with golden points that I collect on a golden card. I tell myself that if it's not because I'm a good customer, then it's because of my fur. The receptionist took a long look at my YSL white lamb and decided that I could use a voluminous white tub to match it. After years of traveling I've discovered that while the meaning of upgrading can have shifting signifiers, there's one constant: the bath tub. You always get one. And it's always huge. Fair enough. After getting installed in a very nice room, 5 minutes later I hit the train to go up the mountain. I want to eat good fish and see Oslo from atop. The head waitress at the restaurant – a five star thing, with a chef who knows what he's doing – also takes a good look at my white Yves. I order a dry martini, cod tatar accompanied by row and egg as a starter, and cod in the oven on a bed of saffron rice and spinach as the main dish. I want a glass of red Portuguese wine. It's seldom that I drink white wine with fish, or with anything else for that matter. As far as I'm concerned white wine is overrated, unless it's a very good Pinot Gris or champagne. The waitress returns to her initial long look and decides to upgrade. She tells me: “I have something better for you. We had a wine tasting last night so I want you to try some the remains of an exquisite bottle.” A Piemonte Experimentum 2008, barrique 2 of 8. Fair enough. I'm used to special treatment. I'm also used to shitty treatment, but these days I find myself becoming more and more intolerant of it, so I'm very appreciative of professionals who know what's what. After she leaves I try the wine, have a look over Oslo and start crying. Christ, and I'm not even a sentimental type. Never have been. So, what am I crying about? It occurs to me that there are at least a few million of people in the world who will never get to know the meaning of upgrading. So, bloody hell, I feel privileged. The wine had a slim cerise rind around the glass, and in the middle, by Jove, hell was in it, a black red hell with a lot of gravitas. My nose fell into the glass ever so hopelessly. Some hell is quite divine. Dinner was exquisite. The chef complimented properly. And the wine – the wine, yes, I almost bought a bottle. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask what the damaging price for one such was, but the waitress, giving me the look for the third time, and being a professional, just said: “You know what, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Leave it at that.” Oh, what an echo, I felt. These days I find myself telling myself that some things are best left at that. Back at the hotel I go for a mean sauna. I can take 55 min in a heated to 95 celsius room, interrupted by 3 icy showers. I'm ready for Tromsø tomorrow.


lektor said…
You're pushing me back into life, and I say thank you for that.

But I am sure that your YSL would go infinitely better with a properly chilled glass of pouilly fume. Just like listening Morgenstemning while watching the sun rising over fjellene.
Camelia said…
Horia my friend. Yes, I did think of you while crying yesterday as well. Next time your best friend and working partner decides to die on you so unexpectedly that it leaves you wondering what the meaning of life is, call me. You never know if I won't be dog-sledding with 200 hundred Alaskans in the Norwegian wilderness - yes, tomorrow I'll be doing that - and that I won't invite you to come along. Have a taste of that. Right now, I'm getting ready to go out, and get electrified by the aurora before hitting Biffhuset in Tromsø for a heavenly delicious leg of goat in the oven after the dried and then grilled fish. Yes, you hit a nerve with the smoked wine, I'll grant you that. A white fume, yes. While getting dressed, this was my mantra: Fuck me. This life is good. Fuck me fuck me fuck me. Nothing beats the Arctic. Nothing nothing nothing. So there.

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