I like to watch escapist youtube videos while I’m eating. In bed. Alone. To pretend I am on a vacation, for example. And because I find TV shows and movies with plots and conflict highly stressful and too much to pay attention to when I’m trying to relax. So I watch videos about TRAVEL: trips that I will never go on, but I like the *idea* of the food that is served and the mode of transportation (cruise ships, trains, luxury VIP flight capsule-suites, Las Vegas buffet reviews, etc.). I will never go on them because I’m a bitch, of course, so the idea of being around people — stuck on a ship or plane or train or in a casino with them, half with their noses sticking out their masks or no masks at all — is a dealbreaker (on top of the lack of money, so it’s a moot point kind of but I’m enough of a bitch that I enjoy resenting people while I am taking IMAGINARY trips, so not *entirely* moot).
ANYHOO, I’ve been watching quite a few European cruise videos and this one short ad keeps popping up: an ad for S. Pellegrino (San Pellegrino sparkling water). It’s really short, but somehow after watching it half a dozen times it began to grate on my nerves. Not just because I have now seen it so many times, but also because this ad specifically represents a couple of elements that only a bonafide bitch would be in the HABIT of sneering at with irritable insecurity …
The ad has some kind of high-class Italian restaurant kind of music playing (like … a gently-strummed spanish guitar along with grapes falling from above onto another guitars strings making a festive-yet-sophisticatedly-muted plunky rhythm). The camera displays happy attractive people sitting around a big table, smiling and nodding at one another. Then this one actor I kind of recognize as being one of those elegant slender judgmental spies who thinks he can get away with espionage and embezzlement and eventually murder but isn’t young or muscular enough to play a heroic lead so he does NOT get away with murder instead even Phillip Seymour Hoffman nodding off at his fattest can put a stop to this snooty international maths-and-classical-languages-professor-turned-THEEEEEF enters the frame. You don’t know his name — god knows *I* don’t know his name even though I tried to figure out for the sake of this bitch rant — but you would recognize the thin but still elegantly salt-and-pepper hair-swoops and the know-it-all look of polite half-smirking disdain that is the guy’s signature LOOK.
He’s wearing a striped blouse with the top two buttons undone like they’ve just strolled through snootiest parts of the vineyard and are ready to dine on multisyllabic Mediterranean fare or tapas or whatever (is tapas Spain-ish or Mediterranean or is Espana part of the Mediterranean or ???) because they’ve worked up an appetite but not to a glistening sweat-level of ravenous sloppiness; his blouse is still CRISP, but not in a starchy way … in a high-quality-threads-have-stood-up-to-washing-so-as-now-to-be-quite-soft way. With the rakishly loosened collar imparting casual vineyard-strolling. I know men’s button-up shirts are not called “blouses” but fuck it man, the way the guy wears it so shapelessly, just lining his high-class privileged un-muscled healthy-svelte educated-and-wealthy-man privilege … anyway. When the camera pans away from the people at the table, this fucker is in the foreground in the lower right corner of your screen LOOKING at you, telling you how drinking this fizzy water is going to make your get-together CLASSY and upscale and exclusive and refined. He knows you don’t qualify to run in these circles, but since he is a soft-collar crook and he needs you to keep his secret yet still bow to his superior class … well, he’ll impart some wisdom to you on how to fit in: make the occasion feel rich and elegant with some of this S. Pellegrino bubble-water shit.
I don’t remember exactly what he says (even though I’ve watched it a bunch of times, all that sticks with me is the VIBE of this son-of-a-bitch), but it really rubs me the wrong way. It reminds me how much I *detested* the last part of Call Me By Your Name. Part 3: The San Clemente Syndrome. Ugh. And it all is really about not only feeling outclassed, but being an introvert which is part of why I am such a tremendous bitch (and why I am ill-suited to go on any of the vacations reported on by my favorite travel youtubers). Like … I just do not understand people prioritizing and celebrating traveling and dining together, and talking about literature and the people they know and remember that vintage and whatever-the-fuck.
I will take my S. Pellegrino in bed with my meal, where I can hear the fizzing of its bottle-green backwash fading out on my nightstand as I drift off to dreamland.