Sunday, September 3, 2017


Ellie and I are returning from some foreign trip, with a stopover in a major European city—perhaps Paris, perhaps not. We decide to stay overnight, but have made no hotel reservation. We recall, however, that we have a friend who owns, amongst other things, a hotel chain, and arrive at the reception desk having decided we could reach to the $200 cost of a room for the night. Discovering that there are no more rooms available at that price.  We tell the clerk that the owner is a friend of ours, and that we’re sure he would be kind enough to find us something, since we have no place else to go.

There is a flurry of activity, perhaps a phone call or two. Our friend appears—a handsome, dark-haired, flamboyant entrepreneur who reminds me of a younger Richard Branson; that kind of energy, combined with a somewhat narcissistic enthusiasm. He is not much personally concerned with us, but has a whispered conversation with the clerk, who now comes up with a solution. We are escorted ceremoniously to another hotel, this one much more exclusive and luxurious. On the way I recall that Trish, my friend and yoga teacher from many years ago is now married to the hotelier and wonder how she is and whether we shall see her.

We arrive at the second hotel and are much impressed by its boutique luxury. We are shown to our impressive suite, which we know must cost a whole lot more than the $200 we had intended to pay. “What if they try to charge us $500?” I ask Ellie. “That’s ridiculous,” says Ellie. “Then we’ll find something else.” With a sense of growing dread, I begin to imagine this suite will likely cost $1000, if not more. I worry about whether our friend will do the right thing and have them charge us no more than what we had explicitly intended to pay.

A short time later, all the guests in the boutique hotel gather in the lavishly decorated lobby. All are well dressed for the evening.  We all stand, listening to a speech—perhaps a speech of welcome—by our handsome hotelier friend. I wonder if I can ask him where Trish is, explaining that she is a very dear old friend and that we’d like to meet with her. I’m still debating how to go about this when I notice that she is already here, standing off to one side, dressed with extraordinary elegance—and at extraordinary expense. Her face is glowing with an inner, private beauty as she listens, along with us, to her husband speak. I wonder what she can be thinking…

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