Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Awaiting The New Vintage

I’ve been tossing and turning for the last hour and a half. Rolling around beneath my covers trying desperately to avoid making eye-contact with the alarm clock knowing full well that once I saw that it was 3:30 am I would start the countdown in my head. Lie there and calculate how many more hours I would have to fall back into that all too elusive restful and quiet place…sleep. The clock won, the bastard and so here I am trying to purge myself of the thoughts that began slamming themselves against the sides of my melon, flashing little photos on my tightly closed eyelids and leaving me wondering why the fuck I was thinking about shrimp scampi at 4:00 in the morning….oh what the hell?!

Got home from my long and painfully slow day at work yesterday feeling pretty much like someone had put me through a meat grinder; my thought processes were fragmented at best, my grin and sass were missing in action and my body sore and covered in “where did that come from?” bruises. Someone had in fact put me through the proverbial wringer, it was me.

Friday morning I woke with this schizophrenic feeling of elation and doom. Thrilled that my beloved Amy and her husband Sexy Bitch were going to be in town, been missing them something fierce and no matter how many emails, calls and text messages there is just nothing like wrapping your arms around someone you love. The doom part was coming from the fact that I had agreed to meet with an ex-boyfriend, (the one that showed up at The Wine Country after twenty years….the one that Googled me) to listen to what it was he HAD to tell me. This was freaking me out far worse than I was willing to admit. After our brief chat in the store the calls and messages on facebook started coming fast and furious, we are talking back to back cell phone calls followed by calling me at work….he wanted to meet again. The intensity felt like it was coming out of left field, I mean it had already been twenty years what couldn’t wait a week or two? And I felt my tummy knot up with memories of another ex that demanded I pay attention to him, demanded it by breaking into my home, running my car off the road and taking a bat to the side of my head on a public street. I swore years ago not to let that fear envelop me again, promised myself that being fearless was to bring me far more than fearful ever would but….well this was feeling a little too familiar.

I knew I had better handle the situation sooner rather than later, if there were a bunch of crap built up it was probably better to just face it head on, listen, explain and let him get it off his chest. Did not help that my loved ones and coworkers started to freak out a little too, “You’ve been through this once already don’t do it again” Randy warned when I told him about it…yup, that helps thanks. So my plan was to scoot out of work a half hour early and meet the ex at the same place I was going to be meeting Amy and her hubby, brilliant right? They know me there and my troops would be arriving soon, safe it felt safe. I ended up getting there about ten minutes before he did, a wreck…I was a nervous wreck. So how does one combat those nerves while sitting at a bar, yeah the ten minute martini is how. I let the icy cold gin warm me from the inside out, soothe me and yeah okay it was total liquid courage…not healthy or smart but in the moment it felt like the right thing to do. Got my second martini and had just begun to sip it when he arrived.

I was all lubed up by that first drink and slowly sipped on the second as this blast from my past started telling me what it was that had him blowing up my cell and mailbox, he was sorry. Sorry that he treated me badly when we were teenagers. I sat there listening, thinking it was sweet and all but also found myself wondering why he was feeling this burden. I never saw it as anything more than teenage bullshit, the shit we all endure and somehow survive….”Um, you were far from the worst” I tried to assure him but he just went on and on, think he might have practiced the whole speech or something. Just when I thought I had surely stumbled upon, (or was having it forced upon me is more like it) someone in the middle of one of their “steps” he ordered and rum and coke. Nope, just wanted to say sorry. Once purged and nearing the end of his own lubricant he was far more relaxed which in turn took the last little bit of my own edge off. How best to celebrate, yeah more drinks.

It was fantastic really. The getting caught up, the laughing at old stories, the slight flirtation that happens when an old love resurfaces, just fun and as the sauce kept flowing the rest of my party arrived. Now this was the only real hiccup of the evening, the blending of two very different lives is not always smooth sailing. It ended up being fine, least to me but three martinis tend to rose color your glasses a bit. I stayed true to form and avoided the whole eating thing…always a problem for me. If I don’t eat early I just skip it which of course is helpful when you are already three martinis in…ugh. To say that I felt like ass Saturday morning is a gross understatement.

Got into work Saturday morning, fuzzy and beyond queasy but needed to ready myself for my tasting of wines from Chablis and Macon. I pulled the wines, chilled a few bottles of each and began popping corks to pick the order. Now I’m not sure if any of you have ever had to taste Chablis at room temp with a raging hangover….rough. I stopped spitting after the third wine, not for the whole hair-of-the-dog thing but because the bending over to spit in the bucket was just pushing it. Got the wines in order and pounded water and iced coffee. Was a bit of a crappy turnout for the tasting which pissed me off and made me even more committed to that whole Mission Not Impossible deal. I am sure the holiday weekend didn’t help, the store was kind of slow in general but I took it personally that no one cared to taste my beloved Chardonnays…got to work harder to change their minds. The people that did show loved the wines and it was the Herve Azo 1er Cru Vau de Vey Chablis that took the rock star spot for the afternoon. Brilliant, deep, doughy, expansive and with a finish that went on for-ev-er.

Began feeling better around three and was on my way home by a quarter to five to watch my Lakers close the Western Conference Finals. Very quiet evening as Amy and Sexy Bitch had plans with other friends. Recovering, I spent the evening recovering. Sunday morning was full of tasks and seeing as I was a grown up the night before it was a productive and easy day. Now Sunday evening was going smooth enough until I met a wild kid named Frankie at our Sunday watering hole/dinner spot….he was from Ireland. Any guesses as to how that went?

Monday morning up early and on our way to meet Amy & Sexy Bitch for breakfast at our beloved Tracy’s. Now Tracy’s is a bar but the food is really, really good and they have this gawd awful breakfast dish called The Mess that Amy simply loves. This thing is a split biscuit topped with grilled onions, bacon, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs and covered….covered in sausage gravy. Makes me gag just thinking about it, (I am so very anti white gravy….shudder) and top that with a night of Frankie and Jamison shots…yeah not so easy that. We sipped away of a magnum of Pierre Peters which was stunning with my Eggs Benedict; added a yeasty almost saline like complexity to my rich breakfast, perfect. I was beginning to feel human again when we all piled in our cars to head over to Merritt’s for a lounge in the sun. We had a few more hours before Amy had to board a plane back to Dallas and we took full advantage of the lovely afternoon and her well stocked liquor cabinet.

A teary goodbye as my dear friend climbed into her rental car and headed to the airport, the sun, the excess of the past couple days and I was simply spent. Came home and fell right into bed only to have the hubby wake me up, “Honey it’s time to go” he urged. ‘Oh okay I am up” I responded thinking it was Tuesday and I needed to get ready for work…um, nope dinner with the neighbors, still Monday…..whimper.

Woke up yesterday not at all hungover but simply exhausted. Too much, the weekend was way too much and you know what….I’m too old for that shit. I hate to admit it but that thing that happens when you get older, that less resilient thing, well it’s is happening to me and here is another thing…I’m okay with that. I didn’t party when I was younger, never had those crazy college days or bar hopping thing in my twenties. I was raising a child and took that job very seriously, there was no, “Momma be back” at our house, I was home at night with my son and skipped/missed that period when people seem to have learned their lesson or got the party out of their system. I didn’t even have my first martini until I was in my mid thirties…late bloomer I guess and while I still love them, will still partake from time to time I am just getting too old to party like an aging rock star. Think it is time to hang up the shots and move on….

Saturday I am ringing in the last year of my thirties, I am turning thirty-nine and this is what was looping around in my head at the wee small hours of the morning as I twisted and turned beneath the sheets. I’ve been remarkably lucky. I know that some of my past has been tainted with ugly but each year of my life seems to be paying me back for all of that. Sure it was a fight to get here but a fight I would chose again given the option. The things I’ve learned, the people I have met and the richly complex relationships I now find myself in….well, it was worth it, worth all of it. I welcome each new vintage with open arms, a wide open heart and now, well now with a much clearer head.

Make no mistake I am not taking the cure or giving up drinking, not even willing to say I won’t still find myself in the throes of excess from time to time, I mean who am I kidding but I do find that with each year I get more pleasure in the things that engage me rather than things that fuzzy my receptors. The past year has seen me back away from my once crave-inducing margaritas opting instead for gin martinis straight up with pickled onions. Even my Pastis time has been peppered with things like Amaro, Chinato and Pimm’s….preferring the long slow sip to the guzzle. Finding that I get lit up by the “Holy crap that’s interesting” rather than just lit. This weekend was just a confirmation of sorts, no going back and truth be told…I don’t wanna!

So there you have it, the confessions of a weekend warrior that left her desire for that kind of “party” on the battlefield. It’s not fun, my body punishes me and frankly there are much cooler things to spend my time and palate space pondering. Happily as I roll into this next stage the store has been finding a bunch of wicked cool new spirits, things made from violets, ginger and cardamom, new bitters and a bunch of my now much beloved digestifs….and this soon to be thirty-nine year old is ready to be stimulated.

This now ends the early morning ramble....sheesh, sorry kids!


Thomas said...

Amaro Nonino?

The Nonino family is a top grappa producer in Friuli Venezia Giulia. I visited them years ago, but never knew that they produced Amaro.

John M. Kelly said...

Have you never heard that Martinis are like breasts? Two are just right but one or three (or more) are just wrong. As I have aged I have found these to be words to live by. For some reason it doesn't apply so much to Negronis...

Sorry to hear your Chablis tasting didn't rock. Perhaps you should have promised to pour Rombauer too. (j/k!) Good to hear that you had some quality time with Amy.

Samantha Dugan said...

Well see there love, today I taught YOU something work here is done.

Yeah yeah yeah, where the hell were you when I needed a sensible talking to huh?! It was great to see my Amy, too short but we are meeting up again in July to cook a bunch of grub for some far away twenty somethings, cannot wait!

Thomas said...

Martini, schmini: drink a few stingers and then come back and tell me how you feel.

Reminds me of my first legal night in a NYCity bar, when the legal age was 18.

Joe, the bartender who was the spitting image of the British actor Jack Hawkins, knew me already but this was legal so it was a celebration.

I asked Joe for something unusual to me. He asked had I ever heard of a Rob Roy?

Of course I hadn't, but five Rob Roys later I heard angels sing and then I blacked out.

Amy said...

Returning home was a pisser, leaving a beautiful California weekend. The heat here this week is sucking the life out of me and the monsters. I don't think Bear will make it through the summer. My sadness is eased knowing I will see you in July and August. We should do a theme for Jeremy's birthday weekend. I totally mis en place now. Either way, we need to go big with the food. Or at least what is available to us. I discovered a duck breast recipe with lavender and wild honey.
We must bring Bandol Rose with us, right? Garlic, olives, and herbs. Whatever he wants!
Keeping it real in Dallas.

Samantha Dugan said...

Amy My Sweet Girl,
Trust me, the depression of sorts I felt after this weekend was caused as much by my missing you as by my getting thrashed. We will go big for Jeremy's 21st, gotta spoil those poor Ramen eating kids right?! Should be a blast and lovely girl, cannot wait for our next visit.

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh and Thomas....what's a stinger?

John M. Kelly said...

A stinger is brandy and white creme de menthe. All I can say is "well, I experimented a little in college..." Right, Thomas?

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay yeah, that's right up there with sausage gravy....shudder.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

A stinger is a nasty drink popular in Thomas' era (and mine) made with brandy, the cheaper the better, and white creme de menthe. So it's like getting drunk on toothpaste only without the decay-preventing dentifrice.

I was never a martini drinker, but a Manhattan addict. I swore off of them but for the occasional extremely special occasion. They always led to putting parts of my body in interesting places. I'd just pray it wasn't my pituitary gland.

You and Amy know how to have fun and love each other. Such a gift. And there's nothing I like better than a post from the netherworld of three in the morning. Been a long time since I saw that on my clock. Sadly.

I love you

Your HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Wanna Manhattan? Rawr....

Marcia Macomber said...

"In the wee, small hours of the morning..." So much better to read about than have to participate in one of those 'I-know-I'm-gonna-hate-what-I-see-when-I-look-at-the-clock' things. ...Good story.

Thomas, I adore Rob Roys. But I've never tried five in a row.

Harvey Wallbangers are more my thing, but most of the bars won't stock the Galliano. And a screwdriver is just too basic, so I bypass them. Two different beasts anyway....

Dave said...

Worst mistake from long past was multiple Rusty Nails, scotch and Drambuie.

Samantha Dugan said...

Least down this way what was old is new again as far cocktails go, so you may find that Galliano showing up again soon.

I had a Rusty Nail once....could only do it once. That is hardcore!

Sara Louise said...

Oh Sam, I'm feeling ya! My 17 days in Dublin were very similar. My body just couldn't take it anymore no matter how much water and coffee I pumped into it. My 21 year old self is making fun of my 33 year old self right now ;-)

Samantha Dugan said...

Brutal. It's just brutal. Welcome home lovely!