The Way of the Butler

2007 March 19


From where I stayed in Milan, I could wake up and see one of the famed glass domes of Galleria Vittoria Emanuele which has remained the same since the 1860s. The Town House Galleria is the world's first "seven star" luxury hotel. In addition to the unique views possible in this tiny but comfortable hotel was a private butler for each room.

My butler, Vitto, had an interesting story to tell. Vitto was Italian and had worked as a butler for eight years. Since Vitto was so used to using his hands to communicate as part of Italian culture, he was faced with the yearly challenge of gradually removing and law1-ing his facial and animated hand gestures. Vitto had mastered the art of having his two white gloved hands resting in a perfect downward V-formation in front of his completely erect body with no visible expression. There was some clear virtue to being able to express no emotion at all with maximum economy of movement, as the sign of a truly confident butler.

I must admit by the end of my stay, I wish that Vitto showed more law7 but I guess if he did so, he wouldn't seem so distant and powerful to me. Do you want a doctor that tells a lot of jokes to operate on you? Or instead one that seems extremely serious. Commonsense would make you choose the more serious one. But maybe she's too stressed out? The one that laughs more might be better balanced in personality, and also thus so professionally. Medical decisions. There's an area that could use some simplicity.

My body's still on the mend from a bad cold so my mind's still a few miles behind me. Pardon my non sequitur on the butler. I can say with confidence that the butler made me do it.