Thanks to the miracle of jet lag, I am up before dawn. I am never much of an early riser, so this feels like trespassing on some part of the day that is meant for people unlike myself. I thought I would use these stolen moments to write, because today is My Birthday, and writing seems like a good way to begin a new year.
I recently heard someone say “You can’t please everyone, you are not a jar of Nutella.” And it made me smile, because, well, Nutella does kind of just induce smiles. At risk of a heavy handed segue (it’s my birthday! I’m allowed!) I would say that this week Turkish Airlines was most definitely not a jar of Nutella. Poor Turkish Airlines. Due to a historic 24-inch snowfall in Istanbul, they had to cancel hundreds of flights and manage the rebellion of thousands of angry passengers. They have probably never worked harder in their lives, nor received less thanks.
Mason and I were two of the lost souls circling in the clouds above Istanbul, unable to land and catch our connecting flight home from Oman. After some time we were informed that our flight was being redirected to the resort town of Antalya. At first I thought he said “Italia” and I got really excited. Free trip to Italy! Yes!! But that moment of optimism was short live as the magnitude of the shitstorm ahead of us became increasingly evident.
Upon landing we joined the thousands of confused, cranky passengers, all writhing together like maggots in the congested arrival hall. There were no answers, no signs, no helpful employees to guide us. Just a sea of viciously inconvenienced travelers, searching in vain for somewhere to direct their anger. It quickly resembled a doomsday scenario, with folks elbowing each other for any advantage, and forming long, anxious queues to buy up all the available food and water.
It made me question my faith in humanity a bit to see us collectively unraveled by something that is ultimately just an inconvenience. It isn’t like this was an earthquake or a war or something genuinely catastrophic. Yet here we were, huddled together on the brink of riot.
I decide that my best course of action was to case the duty free shop so that I could be prepared when the looting commenced. I made a mental map of where the fancy chocolates were, because the worst thing would be to find myself in the middle of a looting riot and end up grabbing something stupid like cologne. Not me, I am going straight for the giant Toblerone.
Then it occurred to me that I need not wait for a riot. I have a debit card and it’s (practically) my birthday. So for the bargain price of 9 euro, I became the proud owner of a chocolate bar the size of a toddler’s leg. It was the best decision I made all day. No regretzels I say! I was then content to plunk myself in a corner with a book and gnaw at chunky little triangles of heaven, oblivious to the chaos around me.
I’m not going to tell you the details, because that would be punishing for you to read and me to write. Suffice to say that we were in that cursed airport for hours and hours and hours. There was so much anger and confusion, many long lines to nowhere, and frequent solemn oaths to never fly Turkish Airlines again. I’m just gonna skip ahead to the part where our luck changed and things became sublime.
We were told that it would be two days until we could leave, and we would be put up in a hotel. I reasoned that any threadbare, flea-bitten, room would be an improvement over the current circumstance, so we shuffled onward. When the shuttle bus pulled up to our destination (a full 24 hours after our journey had begun) we were so primed for disappointment that we expected no comfort other than perhaps the miracle of being able to elevate our swollen ankles.
The Club Hotel Sera Deluxe. Whoa. You guys, this hotel was my dream come true. It was like Tony Duquette inside a Faberge Genie Lamp at a Quinciniera Rollerskating Party.
Every inch was over-decorated with tacky gold furniture, infinity mirrors, purple velvet, plastic tulips, and a vaulted ceiling that changed neon colors and dripped with crystal chandeliers. Plus it has an open bar, and free food everywhere. Mason and I looked at each other in incomprehension about the lavish twist of fate. He said, “It’s like the Plaza Hotel’s slutty Polish cousin who happens to be a Feeder.” Plus, they were playing Lionel Ritchie really loud at 2 in the morning. And there was a strip club on the second floor! Had we merely fainted at the airport and were hallucinating heaven?
When we saw our room there was clearly no other option than to kick off our stinky boots and jump on the bed. Dude. The room was what I have been trying to achieve my whole life. It was a claustrophobic Marie Antoinette jewelbox of clashy greens trimmed with gold and accented with chintzy pink tapestry. Jump Jump Jump ! This can’t get any better!!!!
We ran around the massive hotel complex pointing and squealing in delight. A bowling alley! A hamam! An all night soup bar! I usually never take pictures, but in this instance I couldn’t stop. There were so many mirrors in the place that every photo was an unintentional selfie.
Now let me tell you about the food. I am the kind of person who gets more excited than I should about breakfast buffets. It’s like Christmas morning for me. I can become so fixated on what I am gonna pile on my plate next that I barely enjoy whatever I am currently shoveling into my mouth. And man, this buffet gave me sound reason to be excited.
Among other delights and sculptural food, it had a steaming golden vat of Nutella. Yes! They can please everyone! All the other food in the massive buffet was demoted to merely canvases upon which to heap Nutella. I used the Panini press to manifest a creation of genius – Nutella Grilled Cheese! You should try it. (Use a mild cheese.)
Specifically, no food gets me more delighted than the salty-sweet combination, and Nutella Grilled Cheese is a winner. That discovery alone was worth getting delayed for three days.
Oh speaking of salty and sweet, I have an update! Approximately none of you may recall in an earlier blog post when I pontificated on this same topic and declared that I would die a happy woman once some genius invents an ice cream cone made out of Fritos. That got me googling, and though there are pretzel cones, I never found the platonic ideal of a Frito cone. I sighed with resignation that I lacked the manufacturing chops to make one myself. But then I thought outside the box, and the obvious answer was the most simple one – you don’t need a Frito cone! You don’t need to wait for some nebulous entity to make your dreams come true! Just buy a damn pack of Fritos and put a few at the bottom of your ice cream bowl. Hallelujah. Try it. You will thank me. It’s amazing.
Look, I know who reads my blog. I know that a lot of you eat higher than average amounts of sprouts and avoid gluten. You probably also have great posture and I know I am grossing you out. I know you think white sugar is food Satan. Stop judging me. No one likes food snobs, okay? Alright, I admit, if I had more will power, I would totally switch teams and join you in looking down your nose at people like me. But that isn’t gonna happen, and luckily, my consolation prizes include Nutella grilled cheese, Frito ice cream, and Toblerones the size of cinderblocks. I will atone for my sins at the gym. Stop pitying me!!
This reminds me of one of my professors in college. After lecture one day she stopped me and requested that I come to her office to discuss something with her. I figured we were gonna talk about the tribal architecture of South Sulawesi or some other riveting topic of anthropology. But no.
She said, “Kat, I have been puzzling over you. I have been trying to figure you out.”
Really? Me? I knew I was one of her favorite students, so I figured she was about to pay a complement to my intellect and creativity, naturally.
“I finally figured out the word for you” she said.
What? There is a word for me? Oh my gosh, what could it be?
She knows I am a restless traveller – maybe she thinks I am peripatetic?
Or maybe my motley costumes make me kaleidoscopic?
Perhaps my carnivaleque lifestyle makes me Quixotic?
Am I Poetic? Zoetic? Noetic?
Or simply Ineffable?
What’s my word! What’s my word! Anoint me with my word, sage master!
“Kat,”she said, “You are a GLUTTON.”
It took a second to sink in and shake off the suspicion that she might really just be calling me fat. I looked down at my wrists choked up with bracelets, wresting on a sea of frilly petticoats which flowed over my sparkly platform boots, concealing my thighs that were plump from excessive crumpets. Oh my god, she is right. I AM a glutton.
I am a glutton. And I am gonna own it. A glutton for life! No shame in that. Frankly, out of the seven deadly sins, Gluttony is WAY better than Envy, Greed, Pride and Wrath. It ranks up there with Lust and Sloth in terms of enjoyment. I will take it! I am an Aesthete, not an Ascetic!
I am gonna put my gluttony to work for me. What is my sweater empire but an exercise in woolly gluttony? Gluttony is my superpower!
Thus, I have demonstrated my gluttony with this cornucopia of words that I have just made you suffer through for no particular benefit (other than the great Frito ice cream trick, which may actually improve your life.)
And now, I will leave you. I will go eat pancakes. Farewell.
Mason read this over and gently suggested that I find a way to tie my thoughts together so as to give this blog some overarching purpose.
This is me saying No. It’s my birthday, and I am not a freaking jar of Nutella, as they say. Purpose schumpose.
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