A concierge was born

“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen” whispers my Tennis coach, Richard, while I dream of our life together and all the necessary steps to build a family of twelve. He is tall, thin, nice, smells like fresh cotton while I am short, sweaty and tired by a two hours session of tennis. I am not that worldly, at this point, to know he has to be flirtatious with teen agers customers so that works as a nice ego boost, for once.

No question is popped after the lesson, no ring is presented, no athlete is on his knees proposing me to stay, so I decide to go back to my villa after booking an other two hours the following day. Exactly. We are booked in a villa with pool, trampoline and slide that ends right in the sea: I am fifteen, not paying a dime and this is the time of my spotty, privileged, life. I am here with uncle Ron and his unbearable second wife - guys, more orange juice please, it’s on RonAnd croissants. And fruit. A glass of champagne? No? I thought so. 

This trip is partially his treat and a big present from my parents: I have been allowed to visit the West Coast, I have travelled to major cities, immersed myself in the American culture and I am deeply fascinated by it, assisted to an unlimited number of fights between uncle and wife and now here we are, living large in Montego Bay. Our villa is hosted by miss Beverly: she’s in charge of cooking for us and, I think, hiding three quarters of the grocery Ron pays for (he finds it amusing and tips everybody as he is going to die that very day).

“I must find a job with all this, this is genius”, I think to myself.

My area is a sort of round glass house, is a whole bungalow adjacent to the main building with living and dining room. I have candles, nice towels, plenty of space and my own ensuite bathroom with bath tub. A small forest lies all around, bugs as big as two years old children land loudly on the window, *thud*, and I can see their bellies, those little hairy legs - and cringe: fascinating.

There is way too much space between my bed and the lamp I need to switch off to sleep: unless they want Freddie Krueger to get me, this is not clever. I have some problems with my blow dryer too, it feels like I am holding a sloth to breathe over my head, with the result that I am as curly as Sly of the Family Stone. Apart from these little things, I feel comfortably happy, fortunate and special.

My job is today to make sure things run smoothly when guests arrive at the villas I overview: I am a villa inspector and concierge. My most ridiculously difficult task is to learn how Italian remote controls work before arrival: sometimes you have six and it’s a combination of elements, buttons and fate that make the whole apparatus work. I have no problem whatsoever in setting a wi-fi lan from scratch, but boy do I hate televisions and remote controls.

I will shower my hands in every bathroom guests will use to check water pressure is fine, look under the carpets, check the electricity, jump on mattresses, smell everything, everywhere, and then mount “my” stage for arrival: I will light the candles, serve the wine, adjust the flowers, open the windows and switch on every light, play a music I think they will like - I can guess that pretty easily after so many years: it must be a triumph, an overture. I will protect guests from being over charged in restaurants and even make sure they are dressed properly for the day we have planned together. I will write down a list of restaurants with views and food they have fantasised about before arrival, I will leave indications for the best bread-shop and ice cream shop in town.

I know there is a girl, soon, who is going to sleep in one of my beds and decide she has to work with this, because this is genius. I need to make that happen, I need to pay back the fabulous karma that has intercepted me in fact. And, by the way, I adore people like Ron.

Juanita de Paola