Dec 2, 2014

The Golden Century --- Connubial bliss

Prologue. The Golden Century is an all-you-can-eat oriental restaurant located right next to the landing strip of the Cannes-Mandelieu airfield. If there's any magic to proximity, and if there's any proximity to Hollywood, it’s here. From Brad Pitt to George Clooney to Benedict Cumberbatch, they’ve all been dozens of time inside a two hundred yard circle centered upon the main buffet of the Golden Century. This is the spot where private-jet celebrities touch down on their way to the Festival de Cannes.

The main buffet of the Golden Century

Act I. I had been there once, by sheer coincidence, a few minutes before the place opened for the first time at 7 PM on a nondescript weekday. The doors were already unlocked, I entered unsuspectingly. The place was empty, except for a few nervous waiters and an interior design so intense in its lacquered combination of Formica wood and red lanterns that I fainted.

Act II. It takes only a few weeks and the place is the talk of the town (towns would be Cannes (67.000 inhabitants), Mandelieu, (37.000 inhabitants), and exurbs, such as us in Le Trayas (rhymes)). Patient queues of local hungry-men form at impossible hours and extend for miles in all directions. It’s a sight so disorienting for the pilots of private jets that general aviation is redirected elsewhere. Talent can no longer touch down, the Cannes Film Festival folds (you think I’m joking).

Act III. We have to do something nice with Claudie, our cleaning lady. Chang suggest we take her out for lunch. Sure, good idea. How about the buffet restaurant next to the air field? NO, I say, it’s bad for my health. “You are from Mars, Michael.” NO. “Claudie loves Chinese food.” NO. “She told me.” NO. “She wants to go there.” NO. “Do something, Michael.” NO. “Do something for us. NO. “You are from Mars.” NO. This goes on for weeks.

Intermezzo.  Chang has one weak moment per week, and during that moment he suggests that we need not go to the Chinese buffet. Michael suggests the Italian Café on the beach off the Cannes old harbor. Claudie is called and invited for lunch, at the Italian Café, on Tuesday.

Act IV. Tuesday morning. Michael has returned from a morning clean-up of the swimming pool. Heavy rains have polluted the pool water and necessitated emergency intervention. Michael is exhausted. Time to strike. “Will you listen to me?” Chang asks.
“Why don’t you do once what I want? Claudie loves Chinese food.”
“Okay,” I say. “Why don’t we ask her. We’ll pick her up anyway. We ask her.”
“You are from Mars.”

Act V.

Chang, Claudie

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