How to navigate the Davos maze: Ask a wife
I am starting to think that the average lily-livered man may not be able to face the vicissitudes of life at Davos and that we women are much better suited for the event’s rampant paranoia, ego smashing and petty humiliations.
Because we are Davos Wives, we know how to cope. A more important husband means more blatant snubs for the spouse and that means more hilarity. I loved the gorgeous prime minister’s wife who , after reading one of my columns last year, approached me, laughing. “Thank you so much,” she said. “This stuff happens to me all the time. Often the security people won’t even let me get into the car with my husband.”
Meanwhile an aggressive and hard-hitting London QC came to Davos one year and folded after only a few days. He refused to return the following year despite the entreaties of his friends who were attending. “It’s awful. I don’t even want to like it,“ he said. “And besides it’s probably passé and Klaus Schwab is just sooooo……” Yes ? And what exactly is your complaint? We Davos regulars all know these things, but they are beside the point.
The point is that Klaus Schwab convenes more important people in one place than anyone since the Congress of Vienna. And it actually does get better. Everyone hates it the first time. If you really can’t stand it, then take the afternoon off and go skiing. (Of course, that introduces a host of other Davos issues, but one might argue that the humiliation of falling on the slopes is far more bearable than the ego bruising that goes on indoors.) There’s also the logistical confusion, made worse by the recent redesign of the conference center, which moved a number of key venues to different parts of the hall.
Among the many mysteries of Davos is the fact that my husband — who can normally never find his shoes without help — is transformed into an intrepid explorer at Davos, taking me by the elbow to find all the necessary back routes, highways and byways so as to ensure that we get to the Google reception on time. In fact why does someone who is always in bed by 11 p.m. even want to go to the Google reception?
First timers always say they are baffled and bewildered by the logistics and never know where they should be. Even agreeing to meet at the coffee bar raises the question of which one. I can usually be found in the airless basement nibbling on a stale croissant but have been told that behind closed doors there exists a well-appointed partners lounge where legendary seafood platters are served. Naturally, I’ve never been inside.
So Davos people, it’s time! Pack the moisturizer (the single most important cosmetic, Davos wife Laurence
Pasicoff Heyblom assures me) and get yourselves to Zurich Airport. Now that we’ve been downgraded from an Audi limo, I’ll see you on the shuttle bus.
PHOTO: A member of Swiss special police forces stands on the roof of a hotel during strong snowfall in Davos, January 24, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann