In 2011, I opined I envied the lifestyle of the monied class. I even speculated that having a butler, a cook, and a chauffeur would be necessary for my declining years. My 105-year house offered a clue. It required an army of gardeners, plumbers, roofers, and house painters to keep it maintained.
Anticipating my needs, I moved into a retirement center and left my old house for someone else to fuss over. When I need personal service today, I hit 0 on my telephone and someone appears. Such luxury isn’t cheap, but happily, I planned for retirement.
Even with a little money set aside, I’m told finding good personal service in the workaday world is as difficult as searching for follicles on a bald man’s head. Few schools for butlers remain, for example. (“The Last Great Butler,” by Rachel Stafler, Town&Country, October 2019, pg. 163.) And how does one recognize a good butler in the first place?
Rick Fink, who owns one of the remaining schools offers this tip: look at the applicant’s shoes. They should glow with the mirror-like properties of patent leather. (Ibid, pg. 163)
This bit of information is interesting but gives rise to another question. Wouldn’t a lazy butler opt to wear patent leather shoes from the outset?
More to the point, I question that shiny shoes reveal anything about an applicant’s refinement. Would it tell me if he or she knows red wine is poured from a decanter while white comes chilled from a bottle, a towel wrapped around its body to prevent the server’s hands from warming the contents? As old money mixes with new, some standards change, but rules that govern wine service? Never.
Do I sound like an elitist? Well, why not? We live in a time of political apocalypse. It’s comforting to know standards exist somewhere.