breakfast the other morning, there was a man with aftershave so intense I couldn’t taste my scrambled eggs. The gentleman’s fragrance was redolent of one of those highway-closing hazmat spills. And the word fragrance is clearly a misnomer: it was more chemical weapon than bouquet nez. All 10,000 of my microvillian taste buds withered and died instantly like fragile daffodils in a deep sudden frost. The odor had a pungency that seemed to coat my nostrils ensuring an enduring afterglow; as they say in American football, it had a long hang-time. Naturally, pheromones are excreted chemicals designed to elicit a social response in members of the same species. And they did: My response was, who fell in a vat of Old Spice?
The next day I could tell he’d already had breakfast: I surmised that L’Homme Eau De Toilette started at the cold cuts, moved on to the cereal, and hung out at the toaster, presumably preferring his dough a tad darker. Though cold cuts and cheese are a regular breakfast on the continent, I still don’t get it—for me that’s survival refrigerator detritus, while hoping my lovely wife will break down and go to the grocery.
After breakfast, I could probably pheromonically find Pepe Le Pew’s room if I cared, as he moved around the hotel lugubriously like some unwelcome, nagging low-pressure weather system.
The hotel Vivaldi, in Westerlo Belgium, affectionately known as The Four Seasons, really just gets one season out of four, but you get the feeling that Winter is coming. Mind you, if Vivaldi was Scottish he would have composed The Two Seasons: Winter and June 28th.