inspiration #25 : Alexander House Hotel.

by s.m.

I’ve written before (and before, and before) about how I started this book when I was in high school.  Part of the writing of it happened during my first trip to Europe, when my family traveled to Greece.  I was obviously enthralled by this beautiful new way of living–cheese for breakfast! miniature cars! bidets!–and the beautiful people who lived it.  Everyone I met seemed to bathe topless and smoke cigarettes all day long.  (I grew up in Connecticut.  Those things are simply not done.)

In Crete, we stayed at a great hotel on the beach, the Alexander House.  The owner (Mr Alexander) kept the suite next to ours, and wandered across the veranda one night to have a drink with the American guests.  I remember, as plain as day, this handsome, older Greek man sitting on a chaise and telling us how things are done in Europe.

“You have your wife, and your family, but you also have your mistress.  Everyone does,” he said, to our astonishment.

That easy, casual rationalization has stayed with me.  At the time, it defined what it meant to be European, for me.