This post was meant to be about Roy Moore and Kevin Spacey and young girls and young boys (and lest we focus on our own sorry age as the nadir point of such abuses, I’ll just remark that a sub-genre of medieval Arabic poetry waxed lyrical comparing the merits of the two… pubescent boys and girls, that is, not Moore and Spacey). But then that post went to The Hill, where people are making comments about it that I don’t think I’ll look at, it’s enough to know it started a conversation.
Or maybe I *will* look at them: a state of acute jet-lag is possibly the ideal condition in which to peek under the Inter-belly and see who hates you. But not now. Later.
In the meantime, a brief post in praise of airport hotels. Those in-between spaces and places sufficiently far from anything cultural or interesting so as to make your 24-hr wallow in fluffy robes and free slippers and room service absolutely guilt-free. In Madrid, for the past several years, on the bleary morning following a transatlantic flight, I always come to the same one, the Melià Barajas. It has a holdover of 70s glam about it—orchids and chandeliers and a baby grand piano. A (really good) restaurant. And it is astonishingly cheap: about $150/night for a “Premium” room that is effing huge and has a whiff of the Mme Récamier about it.
I love that first coffee. I always order a cortado doble (three shots of deepest, darkest espresso, cut—cortado—with just enough milk to help it slip down easy), and a bottle of Vichy Catalan, sparkling water bottled in the environs of Barcelona (come to think of it, given the current political situation around here, it’s perhaps a bit surprising they’re still serving it in Madrid). It has a very slight undertone of a salty, earthy something-or-other that makes it absolutely different from, and in my most humble of opinions, far superior to, San Pellegrino, Badoit, etc., etc., etc., etc. And unlike the aforementioned brands, they do not export. If you want Vichy Catalan, you have to come to Spain to get it. Fine by me.
Early enough in the morning for the hotel still to be coming to life (these are Spanish hours, not American ones), I sit at the bar and wait for my chambre à la Mme Récamier, sip my cortado doble, and, listening to the absolutely inoffensive breathy Euro-chanson audioscape, consider, slowly and deliciously, my options: will I sleep? Read? Write (yes, it is actually possible to write under the influence of extreme jet-lag and excess caffeine, sometimes surprisingly well…)? Will I watch Pay-per-View? Hang out on Instagram? All of the above and then some? How will I delight in this in-between day, neither here nor there, obliged to tell no one where I am and what I am doing?
Tomorrow there will be the bus to Granada, Monday I have to give a paper (en castellano). And then the rest of the week devoted to madly cranking out what remains to be done on a collaborative project w/three colleagues (the deadline was more than a month ago…).
Today, however, I do not have to do one single solitary effing thing I don’t want to.
How many of those days do we get (or: do we give ourselves), in our little human lifetimes? Not nearly enough, people, not nearly enough.