February 2010 Primo has to go to Germany for work. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It sounds good, but I have traveled with him before and here's how it goes: he gets up early, grabs something to eat from the hotel buffet, goes to the customer's office, spends all day there, then returns to the hotel and tries to get into his email so he can do all his regular work that has been accumulating while he has been gone.
Usually, the internet connection is bad so he has to go down to the front desk to complain and sometimes they have to put him in a different room because Oh dear, sir, guess what we put you in one of the three rooms with broken internet even though you're obviously a business traveler and we have plenty of rooms with working internet available.
Then he spends a few hours doing his email before he realizes that he needs to eat some supper but if he's stuck in a suburban hotel (most likely because he stays close to the customer offices), his easiest food option is the hotel food, which most people will admit is not the tastiest.
So. International travel for work. Not so glamorous. I will have to tell you about our trip to England together last summer and how that little adventure nearly ended our marriage. Let's just say for now that the combination of two control freaks, google maps, narrow English "highways" and left hand side of the road driving are not conducive to romance but make fabulous tinder for a blowout fight.
This trip, he is traveling alone. I don't want to spend five days in a suburban hotel while he is at work all day and we don't want to waste frequent flier miles on the trip.*
On his way back, he calls me from the international lounge or whatever you call that place when you have an upgrade to business class and you get free internet and some cheese and grapes that are close to becoming raisins. Well, that's what you get in the US.
In Europe, you get really good food and free booze. Which would be great if either of us were heavy drinkers, but we are not. OK, Spain's business class lounge is not so fabulous - they have olives and potato chips for breakfast. For breakfast. But they also have booze for breakfast, so again, if this is your thing, you are fine.
But the German lounge?
They have yogurt and salami and pretzel rolls and candy and curry (yes, curry or at least some kind of Indian food) and sausage and fish and lots of other goodies that I do not remember.
And they have Nutella.
Which I do remember because when we took our trip to Germany last year, we went through this same lounge and I made about ten trips past the Nutella bin, grabbing two or three little Nutellas each time.
Oh yes it was tacky.
That's why I had to get only a few at a time - so nobody would see what I was doing.
Not that the businessmen busy on their computers or with their newspapers or their morning gin and tonics cared about what I was doing but what about the help? What about the Algerian buslady who was replenishing the breakfast buffet? I didn't want her to see me being so greedy.
So he calls me. "I'm in the lounge. Do you want me to get you some Nutella?"
Oh yes I want Nutella. I want it even though I still have about two dozen little Nutellas left from the last trip and even though I have three jars of Nutella-like substance from World Market sitting in the pantry. Unopened. I like the idea of Nutella. I can't control myself once the jar is opened,** but it is comforting to know that the Nutella is there should I have a Nutella emergency. The little Nutellas are better because once opened, there is only about a tablespoon of Nutella to eat. It's safer.
"How much?" he asks.
"As much as you can get!" I tell him.
"I can't keep going back to the bowl!" he exclaims, shocked.
I think about this. Nobody knows him there. Why does he care how he looks? Why does he care what the Algerian buslady thinks?
And then I think about the 400 pounds of Nutella in the basement pantry.
"Maybe not that much," I admit.
He returns with eight packets. Proof of love.
* We should be saving those to visit Sly and Doris, right?
** I have the same problem with dulce de leche, also known as manjar, which is a spreadable caramel you get in South America. I asked my roommate in Chile not to bring any more manjar home because I was having a tough time not eating the entire jar at once. He started hiding it. Ha. As if he could hide manjar from me. I asked again. I came home to find a note on the table: "That Woman, I spit in the manjar." Did he really think a little bit of spit was going to stop me? I just scraped off the top layer and ate the rest. All the 140 calories/tablespoon rest.