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Gabbi WernerGirl Friday – the Book of Bad 02. Martini Memories

Von | 05.04.2013, 9:00 | Kein Kommentar

Martini men, women in Rolls Royce and luxury with Lorelei: a night in Bellevue Hotel on Rhine.

Welcome. To the stories I told in many hotelrooms. To a man who had trouble falling asleep. A business deal, men usually pay for different services in hotelrooms. He just paid for my words. Here they are.


„Oh, you must know this: long before that afternoon in The Hague I had visited luxury hotel rooms, and dreamt about them too. Come to think of it, as a little girl – I must have been 11 or so – I went on a trip along the Rhine river in Germany. The kind of tour, you know, that is normally done by seventy year olds. But my parents wanted to do it anyway.

I was bored, the way eleven year olds tend to get bored. Just because you start developing the ability to be utterly bored for no reason what so ever. That feeling is still an indulgence, the jadedness, a luxury that you can´t get enough of. A treat.

So, I did the boredom exercise till it nearly drove my parents insane. Nothing interested me, the river was stupid, our car was ugly and smelled, the food my mother had prepared tasted horrible.  That kind of holiday, the vacation which prepares your parents for your first holiday without them. Five more years of subtle torment and they gladly let you go alone.

The Rhine river is a long river. When I think back, I am almost embarrassed with my misbehaviour. I sulked all day. But I did enjoy it, secretly: I remember the story of Lorelei, the mermaid enticing sailors  to their certain death with her stunning looks and her haunting songs. And I remember the Hotel. Not the hotel we stayed in. We stayed in this middle of the road, it has clean sheets, but you have to share the toilet in the hallway“ kind of hotel.

Next to our hotel was Hotel Bellevue.

That was the hotel I wanted to be at. It spelled luxury from the entrance to cloakroom, from the various bars, the gilded elevator up to  the restaurant, everywhere.

From our window I could see The Bellevue. I asked my parents why we weren´t staying there, in that lush red and gold heaven. They just laughed, it was way too expensive and unnecessary. I felt that was untrue. How can something as good as that be unnecessary? And how can it not be the most important thing in the world at that moment?

I wanted so much to stay at the Bellevue, my whole evening was spent sitting on the windowsill of our room, looking through the curtains, over to Hotel Bellevue.

I was imagining the dinners and dances they would have there. That I would be arriving at a soirée too, walking over the red carpet, and know how to waltz and beguile everyone with my beautiful sequinned dress and be bedazzled by the lights of the crystal chandeliers and the polished wooden dance floor. I would meet counts and earls and know how to talk in seven different languages  at least with all the ambassadors who were there. In my mind I made my own martini commercial come true.

Remember the Martini commercials of the ´70s? Always about superbly dressed men and women driving in rolls royces sipping their martinis? How disappointed I was when I found out it is a very cheap drink.  The next morning it wasn´t a very bright day as we left. Our hotel looked even bleaker in the stale grey light of the day.

But I had had my night at the Bellevue anyway.“


I look at him. This is all I can do tonight. I realise that I came very ill prepared for the job. He sighs. „That was a nice story. I can rest and think of you as a little girl. Twelve. You where twelve then?“

„Maybe eleven, maybe thirteen. I know I was ugly.“

He laughs at that.  „Sure, really ugly I bet.“

„Was this story how you like them?“

I hope he is satisfied. I cannot think of any relaxing or amusing story, if he asks for another one, I will have to dig deeper than I am willing and able to.

Yes, I can sleep. I will be in the expensive hotel and walk through a hallway which has a window overlooking yours, And I will see you sitting there, looking at me. I have meetings all day tomorrow…. Let´s meet again the same time.“

I just say okay and move towards the door. When I go out I sort of produce a good night and so does he.

I walk through the empty hallways of the hotel. I try to call a friend, but she doesn’t pick up. My boyfriend is still at work, so no use calling him. That does not make me feel very safe. What if something had happened? Back in my room, I take a bath. I need to feel clean. I then go to bed. And wonder what kind of story he will want to hear the next day.

I oversleep for breakfast. It is past two when I finally wake up, and I still feel tired. I look out onto the street, it is completely empty. Sunlight is gushing over it. I decide I will take a walk in the city, become a real tourist for the first time in my life and just enjoy. The walk isn´t a pleasant one.

There is nothing to do for me, I have no reason to be here. The city does not feel to have been waiting for me. I drink some coffee at one place, and some more coffee at another. I am being waited by waiters who hardly look me in the eye. Never in my life have I been so bored. I decide to go to a movie, but the one cinema I can find only shows films in the evening. Somehow I am not able to take in my surroundings.

The streets become hostile, I don´t know them, have no connection to any of the houses or stores I see. It is as if I am a stowaway in this neighbourhood. I slightly panic. I don´t know if I should cross the next street or not. I decide to cross it, then walk back, there is nothing for me on the other corner, just more houses, more shops. But I feel stupid and observed in my strange behaviour. I hurry back to the hotel and lie down on the bed. Zap through the television channels and wait till I can get dinner somewhere.

That is how I worked, the first twenty-four hours, as R.´s special employee.

To be continued. Next friday. Every friday.

Link to German Translation: click Girl Friday – Buch des Bösen 02. Rheingold

Artwork: Gabbi Werner

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