葉朗程

葉朗程

一個自稱「IFC 張智霖」的 private banker,一個又一個浪漫與惡俗的中環故事。 www.facebook.com/marcusyiphk

2019/2/22 - 17:47

The Caviar

My apologies for writing in English.

Not expecting an audience. Just venting out.

Look at me. I mean, look at my back.

廣告

I like this picture a lot.

It captures a moment, a moment of myself, a moment of being myself.

Considering my profession, every moment of being able to be myself is a luxury.

For the past 10+ years I was not being myself, and the past 10+ hours was no exception.

So, 10+ hours ago.

Even after the seat-belt sign went off as the plane finally taxied to a halt at Charles De Gaulle Airport, I still remained in my seat, my head buried in the notes attached to a three-page itinerary I had started preparing two months before.

While I was trying to remove a small suitcase from the overhead compartment with the help of a flight attendant, whose number I had saved on my phone during the flight, my colleague seated next to me said that the Rolls had already arrived at the airport. The Rolls, the Rolls Royce he meant.

In my profession, luxury was part of the business and all beautiful things were almost essentials. But when it came to transportation, even I thought a Rolls was not quite necessary. It was of course not up to my colleague to call for such an arrangement. The idea was mine, and the extravagance was meant for our client. Let’s call just her Mrs. Wang.

My colleague and I got off the plane, passed through customs, proceeded through a huge sliding door, then walked across to luggage carousel number two where we reunited with our valued client and her kids. Of course they had got off the plane before us. We were from different classes, literally.

Joseph looked grumpy. He was Mrs. Wang' s son. I later found out he had been complaining about Cathay Pacific not serving pastas in first class. The ugly ungrateful brat should have come over to business class and exchanged his caviar with my penne. Fuck you, kid.

“最後一個了,” Mrs. Wang said, her eyes fixed on a Louis Vuitton vintage trunk heading in her direction on the luggage carousel. My colleague offered to help but Mrs. Wang stopped him immediately.

“你自己去拿,” Mrs. Wang scolded her son, who reluctantly slipped his iPhone into his right pocket and, with all the strength he could muster, lifted the trunk with both hands from the carousel and, just before he managed to place it on the trolley next to him, the trunk slipped off his hands and landed on his left foot.

“Ouch!” he screamed.

“Yes!” I thought.

Once the five of us emerged from the baggage-claim area into the arrival hall, my eyes swept across the people waiting, finally settling on two middle-aged men in identical grey suits who were together holding a sign that read: “Mr. Marcus Yip.” I walked across to the two men and introduced myself. They came around to give Mrs. Wang a slight bow, took over the trolley from Joseph, and that of mine and my colleague' s, and began to guide the group to the elevator that would lead us to the airport car park.

Mrs. Wang and her kids settled back in their seats while my colleague and I climbed into a black BMW parked behind the Rolls. Once on the highway, I stared out of the tinted window, my eyes taking in the view along the familiar route. My mind raced through the memory of the past 10+ years. What have I been doing ?  Some people disliked their work and quit their jobs the next day. Brave. Some people pursued their interests and quit their jobs the next day. Brave. What am I doing ?

放低尊嚴,放低興趣,放低自己。Why I am still doing it ?  Shit, a realization hit, and it scared me. I actually liked my job. Did I 天生一條狗命 ?

The Rolls and the BMW drew up outside Le Bristol. The hotel' s general manager was already waiting at the front of the premises.

Mrs. Wang and Joseph were escorted to the executive suite without any sign of having to check in first, an honor only afforded to the hotel' s very special guests. Mrs. Wang was actually no special guest, as it was her first time to Le Bristol, so she was both surprised by and pleased with the exclusive hospitality. Little did she know that the general manager had been detailed by me, at least a month ago, to be“ultra-attentive”day and night to my VIP client.

My colleague and I stayed behind at the front desk to take care of the checking in for everyone, completing the process just after a few minutes. I proceeded to my room, called the flight attendant who promised to join me for breakfast in my room, and slumped into my bed. Smiling at the prospect of a decent breakfast later, I suddenly heard the bell ring.

She couldn' t be that early, could she?

It was Joseph.

Get lost, I thought.

“Hi Joe,” I said, “Can I help you ?”

“Caviar from the plane,” he said, holding out a small plastic container, “I remember you saying you like it so I saved it for you.”

I was speechless. Such a nice little boy. He was just adorable. Why did I dislike him in the first place ?  I hated myself for judging a book by its cover.

We have to have tough times in life. It was always the tough times that made a sweet moment like this all so sweet.

Half an hour later, the flight attendant showed up. We took it slow. I fed her the caviar with a small spoon. As soon as she took a sip she spat it out. “水呀水呀!”she screamed. I smelled the caviar and laughed my lungs out.

It was indeed caviar, but mixed with Tabasco.

I really love my job, and I love all the sweet and bittersweet moments that come with it.

 

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