Monday, January 30, 2017

New Hope for the Choking

Two young woman go into a bar — or, more accurately, the new Prosecco Room at Harrod’s, which is ordinarily spelled (or, for a Brit, spelt) without the apostrophe. One is 33, and the other 36, and both are fairly gorgeous in the way of persons who aren’t really that fantastic-looking, but who more than make up for it by dressing glamorously and stylishly, spending a great deal of money on their hair, and exuding confidence. Both, of course work In Media. At least one of them is a corporate spokesperson. Both are charming and gorgeous, in the way we just discussed, and hoping to meet dashing rich Arabs. Tamsyn already met one, the co-owner of a new Dubai-based charter airline, and dated him for nearly three months, before admitting to herself that it probably wasn’t going to work because he was as kinky as rich, and he was by far the richest guy Tamsyn had ever dated. Both women’s fingernails should be on magazine covers. Neither is getting any younger. The sort of dashing rich Arab both have in mind generally prefers 18-to-24-year-olds.

They order a bottle of Bottega Gold. They could get it from Amazon for £49.00, not counting delivery, but here at Harrod’s, where it is poured for them by a handsome young man, invariably gay, with rigorously moisturised skin and perfect white teeth that ought to be on the covers of magazines, it is £129. One can readily see why they are interested in attracting rich Arabs! Gemma frowns at her iPhone, and Tamsyn asks if she’s noticed that no one in London so much as mentions cava anymore, even though only half a dozen or so years ago, it was all that chic, glamorous persons In Media drank. It was in Harrod’s Cava Cave that the two women met, in fact. Gemma, glowering at her iPhone now as though to crack its screen with her rancour, seems not to find the subject fascinating, and here comes their first prospective suitor of the day.

He is desperately, embarrassingly wrong, because: ancient. He has obviously had a great deal of…work done (as both of the young women have, already), but it’s still obvious that he’s 60 if he’s a day. The ethnicity of a person of his vintage is often difficult to assess (people fade as they age), but he seems not to be an Arab. No one’s going to put his teeth on a magazine cover. He has come over on the pretext of soliciting the two women’s opinion of Bottega Gold. He says his name is Hank. Gemma thinks he might be German, or, better yet, Swiss. Gemma decides that he is less interesting than her iPhone, and leaves him, to Tamsyn’s dismay, to Tamsyn, who has not risen to her present status In Media by not being charming. She asks Hank what he does, and he produces a business card that identifies him as Henry Heimlich, MD.

“Oh, like the manoeuvre,” Tamsyn says, spelling it the weird British way. He surprises her by rolling his eyes and saying, “Gosh, I haven’t heard that one in over 10 minutes,” but his eyes, now done rolling, are twinkling, and Tamsyn thinks she might be able to find him attractive in sort of an avuncular way if nobody cuter or more Arabic comes in. It turns out that he is indeed the inventor of the famous first aid procedure for expelling foreign objects from the tracheas of the choking. It emerges that he receives royalties on every use of the procedure, and hasn’t had to practice thoracic surgery since 1983, which is just fine with him as “being around the ill or, worse, hypochondriacs” eight hours a day isn’t his idea of fun.

In the presence of Dr. Heimlich’s admission of great wealth, Gemma’s iPhone has ceased to fascinate her, and she tells him, in body language, “You will find me more fun than my mate.” In the end, though, Dr. Heimlich is unable to choose, and takes both of them back to his hotel, the Bulgari, where he is the only non-Arab on the fourth floor.