First, some facts. The Mallowman and I, though certainly far more privileged than most people in the rest of the world, are not part of the 1%. In fact, we are just this side of country bumpkins. And the only reason I can write about the Ritz “experience” is because this is the bottom of the bottom of the season for luxury hotels in Fort Lauderdale so their prices go way, way down. That means with some stretch, Sherod and I could afford one night –and only one night–of indulgence to celebrate our anniversary.
When I made the reservation online, there was a little field where you could put the reason for your visit. I indicated we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. When I checked us in, the person at the front desk said, “Ah Mrs. Lindahl–we were waiting for you. Congratulations on your anniversary. You will be staying in one of our oceanfront suites, courtesy of the house.” The suite was beautiful–living room, bedroom, 1/2 bath, a full bath with a tub our whole extended family could fit in, a shower with that rainforest shower head that’s so popular these days, what seemed like miles of marble.
We went down to the little bar by the pool where we had a lovely time visiting with Richard, a most French bartender. Next thing you know, he is bringing over a pair of complimentary Moët Ice Imperial Champagne cocktails and congratulating us. We got up to our room after dinner, and there was another bottle of champagne with chocolate dipped strawberries and a lovely little congratulations note waiting for us. The graciousness of the staff and the attention to detail gets almost overwhelming, except it is always charming. Even the flowers are about understated beauty.
But mainly, what I was aware of was spaciousness. Everything around us conveyed an absence of stress or rush or scarcity or constraint or smallness. It was lovely to have a brief immersion in this kind of grace bought by money. Especially, I loved the time it gave my spouseman and me to laugh and talk and simply look out at the ocean together without having much else to deal with. I wonder, too, if it is possible to adopt more of an attitude of spaciousness about our lives as they are–not in heterotopias like the Ritz–but in the messiness of every day. After all, that is where I live.