I’ve told you about Malcolm Forbes’s boat, The Highlander. I have a few more weird big boat trips to report on. But sailing on a very rich man’s big boat is not an unadulterated joy; the lower-middle-class invitée can’t choose the route, the schedule, the performance requirements. The very rich man has the leading role and the supporting cast slips in behind. The script is tacit but if you blow a line, the star is not happy.
Malcolm took some of us employees and some non-Forbes journalists to Laucala, his private island in Fiji, for a couple of oddly uncompelling celebrations (consecrating a church for the island serfs — oops, I mean the native workers — and consecrating a fish freezer to hold the catches of folks wealthy enough to book the island’s advertised fishing trips).
The twenty or so of us were dispersed among the nice but not fancy houses dotting the island. Three of us women were housed on a high hill with water views from either side, a house near Malcolm’s private villa at the top of that hill.
As we parted, Malcolm invited us all for dinner at his house. “Let’s say around 7:30 for drinks,” he said.
My two companions and I took that “around” advisedly, and left our house for the short walk up the rest of the hill at 7:30 or so. We got to his house at, oh, 7:40, and he was seriously annoyed. “I thought I said 7:30,” he hissed.