I don't mean to disturb you tonight with personal issues, but I have this huge problem in my otherwise ridiculous life - my dear friend Miss Helen might be coming for a visit.
We once worked in a five-star hotel together, the Mansion On Turtle Creek, when I was exploring and working my way across the country, and she was undecided about what to do after graduating SMU in Dallas - a school for rich little brats and an absolute hotbed of social rest.
I knew her late mother and father, a Senator in Mississippi, and for many years we've shared all the joys, successes, loss and pain that life has to offer. She's currently a consultant at the World Bank in Washington. But consulting in what is the question - my best guess is teaching developing countries how to safely uncork a bottle of champagne. She shows up at all the yacht races in Newport and Sydney. And postcards from a climb up Machu Picchu, Bali, or a tossed-off weekend at The Phoenician in Scottsdale are not uncommon.
When we first met and were comparing travels, I mentioned a very remote isolated beach in Greece called Pelekas, on the western island of Corfu. Few travelers (except for weary, broke students from northern Europe) know about this unique spot. But Miss Helen instantly replied, "I've been there!"
I was shocked, a little annoyed, but enamored at the same time - an explorer and traveler after my own heart. And we've been friends ever since. I listed her as a reference when first applying for this current job with a billionaire family. The Mister and Missus (on speaker phone) actually spoke to her, and the Missus said to me later, "I wouldn't mind meeting her someday."
And therein lies the problem. If Miss Helen visits here, she is every bit my employers' social peer! In their presence, protocol and professional ethics demand that I never mix my personal life with their own. I never sit down in their presence and certainly I could never sit with them at a table for dining. It just can't happen in my world.
So what am I to do? Serve drinks to Miss Helen and my employers while I stand there like a butler? This is not an embarrassment for me, don't get me wrong. Miss Helen and I would laugh about it later. It's just confusion among the socioeconomic classes.
Crossing boundaries is very tricky in this job. I'm the butler and servant after all. I'm absolutely sure I can handle this, but can my employers, and things remain the same? That's the question - the consternation.
Thanks for letting me share this tonight, and will keep you updated as to how it goes. Meanwhile, if you have any advice, please let me know.