It was Vail, Colorado, somewhere around 1999-2001. The setting: a Swiss themed hotel with all German/Swiss/Austrian staff. 5 Star Restaurant.
I was 10, 11, 12 years old. The years blended together along with the stories my dad told. Fantastic tales of money (1.7 Billion Dollars to be exact) that God would bestow upon my family someday, if we only believed. Maybe it was an effort to drag this money towards us, I don’t know. But I know that one fall, we spent a weekend in Vail at a fancy hotel. My dad loved flashing his American Express gold card.
I remember my parents’ suite had an upstairs loft bedroom and I fantasized that one day, I’d go there for my honeymoon and have sex in a bedroom like that.
The swimming pool downstairs was a combined indoor/outdoor pool and it was magical to me to duck under the opening and find myself outside.
We played chess and checkers in the little library just off the lobby. We wandered down the streets of Vail, eating lunch at Pepe’s and afterwards, browsing the outrageously expensive Gorsuch store. I was desperate to have the lovely alpine themed clothing they offered. I loved the jackets, especially.
It was in that hotel, in their 5 star restaurant, that I had the best steak I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.
We had dinner there one night. I still remember precisely what I ordered: surf and turf. The red lobster shell gleamed temptingly in the candlelight. My knife flashed through my tender filet mignon. I raised my fork to my mouth and suddenly I never wanted to eat anything else for my entire life.
I can still taste the succulent, juicy texture of that steak. It was so soft you could cut it with a butter knife. I’ve eaten steak hundreds of times since and it has never compared.
I ate slowly to make it last. I never wanted that moment to end. I thought about it longingly the next morning as we circled the breakfast buffet. It was the morning after walk of shame, wishing the night had never ended.
Over a steak.
My dad spent $600 on that meal for my family of 6, my youngest sister barely old enough to count. All of that was on a credit card.
1.7 billion dollars has still not arrived. It’s 2014.
It was a lovely fantasy, after all… because of that fantasy, I:
-spent enough time on corporate jets that if I sat in one now blindfolded, I could tell you exactly where I was.
-walked through $6 million dollar homes for sale, feigning interest in buying one.
-still remember my regular order at the restaurant at Denver’s corporate airport.
-can tell you about finishing schools in Switzerland, Prince William’s 3 middle names, the royalty in Monaco, corporate jets that can cross the ocean without stopping, how money can cross illegal borders (i.e. Iran to the US) and a thousand other things I’m forgetting now because there’s too many to count.
-know how to feign an air of the elegantly wealthy and hold up impeccable pretense.
It was unrealistic, ridiculous, totally delusional. I hate even the thought of wealth now and shy away from any mention of even winning the lottery.
But sometimes, I still think longingly about that steak.
An update on how I’m working things out with my family now – It’s Complicated