It’s foggy out, or maybe just grey, and I’m in a deserted airport lounge where the kind but formal staff, it seems, can literally speak any language they are presented with. I’ve missed my connection (or it missed me,) and I have three hours to kill before the next flight to Hamburg. Let’s play
Where’s the Betster?
How to play: I will tell you the food items that I see around me. You tell me where the hell I am.
• Bowl of fruit. No exotic fruit, just the usual selection of banana/apple/tangerine, but they are remarkably fresh-looking and ripe.
• Impeccably shiny DIY espresso machine – the one where you use the touch-screen to order a cappuccino, put your cup under the spout and think, ‘this better be better than gas station coffee,’ before realizing that the coffee smells delicious. The cappuccino comes out in a glorious cloud of steam, and its perfect head of foam seems to warrant using a saucer and tiny spoon.
• After saucering and spooning my coffee, I look over to the right and see two options for the little packaged treat that is served with espresso drinks in [the continent where I am right now]. The two options: mini kägi-fretli (a chocolate wafer cookie,) and mini toblerone (pretty much the cutest little do-right chocolate pyramid ever. How can something so small and chocolaty take itself so seriously? Mini toblerone must be the official chocolate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – it has just the same red in the lettering, and, like the Mounties, seems to value good manners, correct posture, and rule-following in equal measure.)
• There is a wall of bottles of liquor, two types of red wine, one chilled white and one sparkling wine. These are all self-serve; the size of the available glassware suggests that restraint is absolutely expected.
• The juice options are: grapefruit, or a pre-mixed 60% apple/40% sparkling water.
• There are three kinds of bottled water available: still, mineral, and soda water. The only other patron here just took a really long time deliberating over these options.
• There are SIX kinds of little packaged cheese triangles – like laughing cow, but a local brand. The one I ate had ham pieces in it, which is the best idea ever: ham and cheese sandwich without the boring dry bread, packaged so that I can covertly grab a handful to put in my pocket for later? Yes, please!
• Three kinds of yoghurt are available, and four flavors of muesli. I haven’t tried any yet, but they appear to be of the you-can-eat-all-the-chocolate-you-want-once-you-choke-down-this-healthy-shit variety.
• Oh! The fancy espresso machine just went on a self-cleaning cycle. It’s like a steam monster!
• There are three kinds of butter for the yawn-flavored bread.
OK, did you get it? A place where butter and water options are deliberated, and where the chocolate takes itself seriously? Where even the coffee machine adheres to a precise schedule? I would tell you that there are teeny-tiny bowls here next to a large jar of gummi bears, but that seems like a red herring*. This game would be a lot easier if I could find some cheese here with holes in it. Let’s drop this subject, and move on to helping me figure out how I’m going to explain to my German dry cleaner the ham-and-cheesy mess I’ve just found in my pockets…
*if, like me, this made you imagine a herring-flavored gummi bear, and a red one at that, I’m sorry. Baking soda toothpaste partially removed this image for me; I trust that time will take care of the rest. Godspeed.