Clare came flying out of the elevator expecting to find a steaming Caroline in her lobby at 17th and Arch. She’d kept Caroline waiting for at least 15 minutes.
But Caroline was having a marvelous time regaling Clare’s doorman with stories of growing up in Manhattan and vacationing all over the world. Caroline certainly didn’t grow up in Manhattan but she loved to tell people that. She actually grew up in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Getting away with this fib was one of the perquisites of living semi-anonymously in Philadelphia. Caroline had total blinders on when it came to truth versus fiction. All tales were inflationary ego boosters, most were harmless.
“Ready to go?” Clare asked, interrupting the gab fest. The doorman certainly didn’t seem to be complaining. Caroline no longer worked, at just 35 years old she was a divorcée and lived off her ex-husband. All she had to do all day was lunch and work out – suffice to say, her body put the Penn college girls at Soul Cycle to shame.
Caroline finished up a coquettish giggle, “Your darling doorman, Alberto, was just telling me about his last ski trip to the Poconos. I told him he simply must go to Gstaad – so much better than those Pokey Poconos. Don’t you think he would love it Clare?”
Albert weighted 350 pounds minimum and could barely make it around the corner to Wawa to pick up lunch. He also made $8 an hour. Some might think Caroline was being cruel. Clare knew Caroline was just earnestly hoping that her new good friend, Alberto, might call her up one day soon and say, “Thank you so much for your recommendation regarding Gstaad. I was packing up my car to go to the Poconos for a hot dog eating competition but instead I followed your sage advice, bought a first class ticket to Switzerland, ran into Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, née Middleton and just had a swell time!”
Clare nudged Caroline with her suitcase, “Ok, Fancypants, let’s hit it or we’re going to miss our SEPTA train.”
“Always business, this Clare,” she tutted to Alberto. “I’ll see you when we get back, ” she purred with a wink. Alberto flushed. Clare rolled her eyes and started helping Princess Caroline with her four pieces of luggage.