Friday, July 14, 2017

Smells Like Summer Sweat

Thought of these things while driving to work this morning...Summer smells. All the sights, the textures and wafting aromatics behaving like a memorial slideshow that rattle me from the monotony of grownupedness. The ones that spread my nostrils, expand my rib cage and tug hard at the forgotten bits of absolute submissiveness


1) Warm white bread, clear sun-cooked mayonnaise that looked more like Vaseline than food, thick planks of store brand Jack Cheese secreting waxy flavorless puddles that seemed to beckon, like a damn magnet, each grain of sand on the beach where I'd enjoy and devour my handmade, sand encrusted, sweaty sandwich with the smell of Coppertone 12  a preferred aromatic pairing to the scalding fruit punch, swollen and exploding from the plastic containers offered by the bus that brought us there, at discounted prices to help our hard working single parents save on child care.  

2) Bonnie Bell Roller Ball Lip Gloss in bubble gum or cherry. The gritty and lard-like feeling against my teeth from chewing at the top of the tube, teeth and tongue plunging and tugging to pry the roller ball apart from the thick plastic encasement. This action creating a river of fucked up, fake as hell, lustrous lip gloss to spill out over my then young and plump lips, tongue and teeth. An effort to exploit my awkward and slippery. Losing and enticing my fear of my own pulsating sexuality. Make them look at me....but don't let them see me scoop droplets of sickly sweet smelling lip oil from my bottom lip, and hope they don't notice me scratching the industrial, fuzzy barrier on my grill being created by this hellish lip junk. Pray they don't recognize how badly I want them to see it all and somehow crave touching, smelling and kissing me while at the same time wishing I could walk silent and unnoticed, alone and content to be that way...

3) The shivering, pinching, aching and undeniably captivating fascination as I  witnessed my taught white fingers roll and sweep, delve into the deep valley of dark brown skin that ran down his back. Our 12 year old fumbling. Our well beyond our years and left alone courage. Discovery. Recovery and the beginning of my figuring out where to strap on the hard armor and where to leave pockets of craveable exposure, The way his young frame would shiver...the way my teeth would nearly pierce my lip. His ache and want the kind of sweet pestilence that would eventually leave deep textural scars, both motivating and hauntingly regretful. 

4) Re-fried beans all smutty with lard and charred thick corn tortillas. 5 years old, alone on a pungently scented beach. Running from the rotting aromatics of two old people I didn't know drinking themselves to death in a country not of their origin. The blistering hot silver metal tube of utter surrender with the rickety door that never closed all the way. Me counting the blinks of their inebriation, "five-four-three" the burst of head spinning aromatics as I broke out in my cut off shorts and obnoxiously ruffled shirt my mom purchased at the border crossing. Hoping her toe headed gringo daughter would blend a little better in Mexico. Dropped off there to visit her dying father's numbing parents. 

5) The sweetly sweaty smell of my tiny son. His puffy, thick and tightly curly hair like a cap that held all his daily events down hard against his skull. The late nights when I would slither in behind him sleeping on the couch. His plump cheeks looking like the most luxurious material I could ever imagine. The stillness of his resting eyes, the kind of sleep that to this day I am not sure I have ever experienced. The way his tiny frame sensed me, bent into me, would wiggle deep into the perfectly made for him folds of my body. My illusion of authority and his collusion making me earn it. To this day I can still smell the sweet, feral, hard earned gravy of my skin mixed with my son's. It's why I crave those kisses he so readily gives me on my forehead. I smell Us when our heads are that close and that particular aromatic of summer, simply the most precious and powerful I know. (Happy 28th my gorgeously hearted son. I love you like...well like only you know)

6) The bubble gum, banana and eventual peachy, mineral rich, mouthwatering crunch and refreshment that is summer rose. Starting too damn early each year now but once I get past the weird and unfinished aromatics on far-too-young wine I start the check list in my head. From the lonely beaches of Mexico to the bustle of crowds clamoring for the newest vintage of Rose from France, Spain, Italy, Greece, California and Portugal, aromas have been my partner and drive for as long as I can remember. Ushering in each season, teeth stinging from weighing through the 400 samples of world rose to find just the right symphony of aromatic and palate pitch to keep our brilliantly savvy customers curious and coming back for that next pleasure promising sip. Digging through way too young pink wine with an eye, and nose for the months ahead feeling like warm perfumed hands upon my cheeks and pulling me deeper into each glass, coaxing and asking, "Do you know someone that needs this wine"....

Silly lonely girl that has forever lived and loved in the breathing in of every tiny bit of every situation. The soul, sting and coating of pleasure that some of us find living and reliving through deep breaths and palate lashings.

Grateful for you all....

And the way you get Us.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Can I Have This Dance?

“Reasons Why Your High School BFF Will Be Your Friend For Life”

Some linked post I saw over on Facebook a while back. I was off, bored, lonely and trying to seek some relief from the hollows of my head and thickness of my heart that have plagued me for a bit now. Some from the dissolution of a relationship I was firmly and adamantly sure would last long past the cracks and chips the years had put upon it. Some from deeply crevassed lack of communication that has made it nearly impossible for me to be the me that makes me feel like I’m worthy of the somewhat, and oft over given praise and adoration that has befallen me. Some aching for the small farmers I just recently visited in France. The ones full of hope and optimism that 2017 was going to be the year that their fruit wouldn't be decimated by weather…a year they wouldn't wonder how they are going to pay their bills let alone be able to see any kind of fiscal growth. The ones that are now looking at losses of up to 90% for the vintage, frost biting the dainty heads off their newly flowering vines like some long-toothed monster. Some just from the shit that comes with being a 46 year old woman, leaking seals, longer aches, less emotional fortitude and such. Some from changes about to take place that will weigh heavy on my body, patience and mostly, the big dumb thing that rattles around inside my chest.    So click I did…


Clicked through the reasons I didn’t understand and spent way too much fucking time reading the cheese filled comments that followed. Eyes pouring over the highlighted tagging of high school buddies, the “LOL” s and the semi wistful clouds of prom remembrance people left like a scrawled, “Have a great summer” and “Keep in touch” in a yearbook that might be cracked open once or twice before it’s packed away in dusty boxes that will act like totem poles, standing guard over the attic or garage. 

I didn’t go to prom. Fuck, I barely went to high school. I entered the tenth grade but was asked to leave for my lack of compliance. I was a dick, plain and simple. Of course they didn’t want me back at Poly High and even the “continuation high school” I flirted with tossed me for not bothering to show up, “Even though when you do you turn in the most compelling papers I’ve ever read”….now there’s a person from high school I wish I’d stayed in touch with, that one pained face of a teacher that tried to reach me. No, I faked sick, offered to do the laundry and cook dinner, any little thing I could do to not be forced into a desk that highlighted how much I didn’t, fit.  Big tits, boy’s clothes, a full mouth that oozed foul words and carried numerous threats. Everything from ripping them a new asshole to making them crave me. Green eyes with thick bands of black eyeliner, always pointed down to my papers, my desk, my shoes or the pavement they slapped upon as I ran the fuck away from anything that might help me and right into the arms of the things that would eventually form me. 

My prom, as it were, was spent on a bus. I was 18 years old, dropping my fifty-five cents into the clanking change counter, doors heaving and huffing stifling air across my back as they slammed shut and the bus driver told me to, “move beyond the yellow line”. The shot I’d been given to stop my lactating had punctured a nerve making each step feel like another needle was being slammed into my spine.  Concurring those steps at the hospital to visit my tiny son, his eyes tapped shut to protect his vision from the oxygen being pumped into his incubator, his bitty warm fingers and astoundingly strong heart that pounded away even though he was born two months early. But nothing was as painful as walking back down those steps, hauling myself back on a bus, without being able to hold him, without being able to take him with me. A million miles away from puffy dresses, rented cars and the fumblings of first time touching. I’d been touched and sunk my teeth into the touching back. There were no hands shaking as they tried to pin a corsage to my strap, no parents taking pictures and laying out rules or curfews. I made my own rules, as self-destructive as they seemed. That full mouth devouring the fringe that lived outside the bindings of yearbooks, proms and high school BFF’s. Never the most beautiful. Never the most desirable. Never the smartest or most accomplished but like my tiny strong hearted son, I was never one to give up. 

“I’m kinda floored at how many of you are here” my words lilting past my goofy grin as I lean across the tasting table and splash a puddle of Alpine wine, Bourgueil or Alsatian Pinot Noir into a waiting and wanting glass. The crowd not only present, they are damn enthusiastic and all sponge like, there to listen, taste and learn about wines from cooky or less known little corners of France. I always stand there shaking my head, feeling each wonderfully earnest utterance of “I didn’t know” and “Wow, these are so different than anything I’ve ever had before” marveling in their trust and willingness to let me teach….let me, teach them. Always a bit shaken as I watch them clamor over the last bottle of this or that. I confess that I get off on showing them what cool, fresh, not expected wines you can find if you don’t write off entire regions for not quite fitting in.

“You know, it’s really easy to walk in a room and figure out who’s the best looking, not as easy to figure out who’s the most interesting”…As the words drip off my lips I get to see the eyes widening and the “Holy shit, I get it” bulbs go off, as people let the sometimes awkward but still brilliantly persuasive wines pull them, just, a, little, closer. The last time I used that phrase to describe a wine I looked to the register at the front of the store and saw my prom date for the past 27 years. His mouth full like mine, smile without question one we share, his strong little heart the one that stopped me from running and taught me a new way to use my…me-ness in a way that helped us. Much like the wines I often pour, we don’t always fit but, there is more to the story for those that are willing to listen. 


So to the wines that let me speak their praise

The people that hunger to listen

The palates that find sexy in quirk…

May I have the next dance?

To the young man I am so very proud to call my son, my prom date, while it will be lonely for me to look across the store and not see your, our face, I am so very excited for this next adventure in your life. I am always here, always watching.

 When you need me, meet me on the dance floor.