Business attire—my derrière! I wasn’t even through my first morning news story when I was assaulted by the media’s growing obsession with the number of working girls who have descended upon Davos for our annual conference. The press changed from citing ‘hundreds’ yesterday to ‘hundreds and hundreds of high-class’ prostitutes today. And the story isn’t going to die anytime soon. With very few details the piece is likely written by someone who doesn’t have official press credentials or access to attendees. But the girls of course (unnamed) agreed to be interviewed and imagine themselves to be stealthily dressed in ‘business attire’. Please! All I could think of was Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny telling her boyfriend…‘Oh, yeah, you blend’.
If last year’s unofficial theme was Africa, this year it’s commerce—the old-fashioned kind. But what do you expect at an event that draws more billionaires and CEO’s than any other? Still… they were annoying. And I was never more grateful to don my high-level credentials badge and wave it around like the mark of distinction it truly is! As to status, we are divided into seven tiers—it’s quite the caste system and to give you a frame of reference, in previous years Donald Trump was listed as tier 1 (head of state), his daughter Ivanka as 7 (functional staff) and his poor excuse for a son-in-law, Jared-4 (sub ministerial).
He's got the whole world on his bum.
On top of that, there are various other hierarchical distinctions all denoted by colour and design. Inexplicably someone thought it wise to give journalists a level two badge (for access) but under closer scrutiny the lack of a hologram, (and their crepe-soled shoes) outs them as the enemy. Also everyone is aware that angry reporters are hounding the CEO of Pfizer with questions about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine that his company disseminated, and from which he personally made millions. Purportedly those were un-credentialed reporters who stalked him outside the secure perimeter but still, rather scary for those of us who consider Davos our safe space.
I was just going through my calendar when the phone rang, and I tipped my coffee cup into my lap. UGH! So much to deal with on top of not having an assistant this year. The reason, of course, is all the extra rooms being taken up by the now well-documented invasion of the body snatchers. It was, of course, my father. Swapping my now coffee-stained hotel robe for the clean one hanging in the bathroom, I picked up:
'Jennifer, have you seen the keys to my roadster.'
‘They aren’t in the car?’ I asked.
‘Clearly not’. He huffed. ‘Any thoughts whatsoever?’
‘Can you try the counter in my bathroom? The front pocket of my rucksack?’ Over the phone I could hear daddy clomping up the steps of my childhood home in St John’s Wood. I felt bad but he knows my Tesla is in California. ‘OH WAIT…I drove to Canary Wharf!’ I said, ‘Look in a small pink quilted-bag in my closet’ I said.
‘Wait…you DROVE to Canary Wharf? When the brand new Jubilee Line runs every five minutes and takes you right there in less time? Daddy asked, incredulous. '
Yeah, she blends.
Daddy, please! I’m at Davos!’ I said.
‘Of course you are’. He said. ‘How’s it going?'
‘Well not great’ I said, ‘I don’t have an assistant and I got stuck in an ecosystem discussion… I mean it said ecosystem but it was about an EU-wide healthcare ecosystem’.
‘Which will end global warming?’
‘No Daddy, it sounds like an expanded network to track vaccines and tests, but it will save money’.
‘Fascinating. Nothing like creating a massive new agency to save money’.
‘Well… it will also hold our x-rays and things’ I said, quickly wishing I hadn’t. Yes, the number of times I’d found myself in Anacapri wondering when my last cat scan was—was never. 'So, Daddy, any suggestions before you go?’
‘Yes. Maybe ship your car here if you’re never going back to California’.
UGH! He knows I don’t want to talk about that. I refused to engage and waited.
‘I have one idea…’ he said, ‘Why not be a jobs creator, a true innovator, why not find an assistant among the ranks of those leggy Russians who are likely free during the day anyway?’
Why is this man smiling?
This wasn’t the worst idea actually. They all had access badges. And hotel rooms! But obviously—no. ‘Anything else?’ I asked.
‘Well, given the level of clients you generally attract, why not help out that poor Albert Bourla, the press won’t let up on his worthless vaccine, it seems he’s ambushed every time he returns to his hotel. But he can very well sleep in his plane and its parked in an even more secure area. Heck he can even finish up his meetings there’.
It was genius actually. And a perfect solution to his problem. I would suggest it and more. Finally something to look forward to instead of another day of endless panels, whilst waiting for the parties to start.
I hated being grumpy but the mood was different this year… less urgency, more part of a process. And the larger media outlets were only quoting the VIP’s with whom they’d struck deals in exchange for attendance at their events. It was kind of like going to the Golden Globes, the powers that be already knew which stars and scripts they were going to fête, so from the ramp-up to the telecast, the pecking order was already decided down to the last detail. From seating placement, to who was getting Gregory Arlt to do their make-up, no one drove past the congratulatory billboards along the route to the Beverly Hilton wondering if they would go home with an award or not.
This of course wasn’t bad news for me. My clients were always the A-listers in the ecosphere. It’s why Daddy called my biggest client ‘The Green Baron’ and why there was no Greta sideshow on my watch. But the Pfizer CEO was not yet my client and this was about to change. Question was, where to find him while he was in stealth mode?
Aha! That was it. Those other stealth-savvy attendees would know. Oh hello girls! Have I got a job for you.