There you are again, at the Waldorf. It could be Munich, it could be Louisiana, hell it could be Shanghai on the Bund. Or down East Hastings? There must be a copyright infringement suit in there somewhere, you think.
Not what Mr. Steiner was thinking, you suppose… can’t you just imagine him there, handsome Rudolf under the full moon’s light, waxing philosophic to his endives about social responsibility, about respect, about compassion? Yeah, Rudolf, you make ’em grow!
Now at the Waldorf Astoria in New York they don’t let you chop your own wood, nope. And anyway you can never chop wood without thinking of Henry Ford gloating about it… it’ll warm you twice (or did he pilfer that line from Thoreau?). Now Ford, he must have had a stay at the Waldorf. And then you think: so did that crazy old Nikola Tesla, for weeks on end! Contemporary of Steiner, another damned prodigal genius, eccentric and the whole kit… and likewise a child of that whole gangly Austro-Croat-Hungarian fiasco (have to go there someday, maybe there’s something in the water, something in the ether…).
Tesla then – Тесла – would he have chopped wood to stay warm? And did they ever meet, Rudolf and Nikola? At the Waldorf, maybe? And you swing the axe.
Back to this Waldorf and that Rudolf, who had the temerity to suggest that the economy should strive to foster cooperation, politics, equality, and culture, freedom… Nice idea, well put, Rudolf. Now let’s throw those logs on the fire and make tea. They made tea back in the mid-1800’s, right? At least that’s something we share.
This Waldorf here is a quiet place and knows something of creative learning and just accepting that things are generally pretty related. That’s why you’re here, right? The hard knocks school of brushing sand from paws and then contemplating the absurd genius of nature’s designs.
Soon you’ll leave this Waldorf behind, you know… and returning through grey swells, you’ll catch a glance of water breaking up in a wave trough, in an unexpected way that catches your eye. And then you’ll see – those are dorsal fins piercing the surface, and a pod of white-sided dolphins are tearing by, resplendent in the grim grey sea. They jump twice, sublime aerial souls and then they’re gone. You will feel graced, privy to an inside joke. You almost have to imagine it.
Wasn’t that why you came to this Waldorf, and not the one in Shanghai, not Louisiana, not Berlin? Five star accommodations, they say? Wait til the firelight dies, and because you can’t sleep you step out – and here be tens of thousands.