5.20.2006

And it happened...

I've been dreading this day since my 22nd birthday. I knew it would come, but never did I imagine so quickly. Age is a sensitive issue for me, and aging is a scary thought. Perhaps it's a manifestation of my fear of death. Perhaps it's an unwillingness to accept my immaturity. Whatever the case, aging is something I've tried to avoid, ignore, and prevent at all costs, sometimes going as far as lying about how old I am. I've been trying to get away with being 22 for 3 years now. Well, deep down, I knew that one day I wasn't going to be 22, or even 25, and that I'd actually have to (pretend to) be an adult at some point in my life. What I didn't foresee was how it would come to its eventuality. This is the story of how it happened.

Last night I went to a party. I even drank a little. I actually drank more than a little. Ok, I had a lot. "But Jeff, it seems you're always drinking. What does this have to do with you growing up?" Good question. Follow along, it'll become clear in a moment. First of all, I didn't drink a 40 oz. Nope, no St. Ides, no Old English. Not big news, as drinking 40s has become rare (even if Oldie and I are trying to bring them back into style). But, it is symbolic, however. The point is, I didn't drink the cheapest beer that I could buy en masse. Secondly, I didn't binge drink. No shotgunning, no chugging, no beer bongs...none of that. What I did do, though, was sip my alcoholic beverage. To go further, I even savored my drinks. I let the taste linger in my mouth; I tried to enjoy it. Lastly, I did this with other adults (who apparently don't share my intense age-avoiding tendencies). And when I say adults, I don't just mean peers. I'm talking about people who ranged in age from their 20s to their late 30s. Not your ordinary just-out-of-college crowd. Normally I wouldn't be caught dead with such a group, for associating with such people might reveal my secret: I am, indeed, an adult.

Now if it hasn't become clear, I'll make it simple. I'll let you know how I crossed over from a young, immature 20 something, to a mature and sophisticated geezer. I drank wine, and I did it at a wine party. Ok, there, I said it. I went to a wine-tasting party. I even bought my own wine to bring to this life-altering affair.

Here is how the party was organized. Everyone was to bring two bottles of the same wine. One bottle would be opened and used in the taste testing. After all wines were tasted, partygoers would then vote on their most preferred varietal (ugh, I said varietal). The winner would then be the proud recipient of all the unopened bottles, free to take them home and drown themselves in liquid sophistication and pretense.

To be honest, it's a great idea for a party. If it were beer we were tasting, or even whiskey, I would have never thought twice about participating. For some reason, though, wine-tasting proposed a whole new boundary for me to cross. In fact, it was the cause of much anxiety from the day I got the invite. It could very well be that I got myself all worked up over nothing, and that drinking wine is not really a big deal. But the stereotype surrounding wine drinkers was just too much for me to ignore. I nearly gave myself an ulcer when I went to Freddie Meyers to buy my wine. I know nothing about wine and I had to ask the wine steward what to buy. I ended up buying a wine from Sonoma County, just to represent Cali in good taste.

When I arrived at the party, it was if I was staring death right in the face. I was in the process of crossing a mystical plane into adulthood, a place where hip and cool were foreign concepts. I was losing an edge and conceding my youth. I saw my life unravel into a downward spiral of paying bills, reading boring books and drinking fine wines, all the while wondering what happened to my hairline (wait, I already do that). When somebody turned to me, just after tasting a wine, and stated "this wine's fermenting process was flawed...you can tell by the metallic taste," I knew that things would never be the same.

Waking up this morning, I do feel different. Looking back, it was all so surreal. Do I feel that much older? Actually no, not really. I do feel like I've been corrupted, though. I feel like I've been unfairly subjected to a whole new world where the subtle difference between a hint of cedar and a hint of oak makes or breaks a wine; a world where a wine's quality can be determined by the slick residue it leaves on a glass while swishing it around, taking in its aroma. It is true, I may be getting older. But I see this as no reason to abandon my 40s and pick up a wine glass, all in the name of sophistication. Fuck that. I may order a wine from time to time, yes, but I'd rather judge the quality of a beer by it's creamy froth (think Guinness) and the buzz it produces.

3 comments:

porksy said...

Oh,Roo, you had me peeing in my pants...too funny. You are a "varietal" enigma and forever 22.

Sista' Slug said...

Nice try, Roost! I won't reveal anything, but let's just say that some of us know the truth...Eh-hem! At any rate, thanks for the best laugh I've had all week (being Tuesday and all).

Oldie said...

Even though you claim to remain faithful to cheap beer and 40 ozers, I must admit that I'm a little frightened that the experience has left its taint upon you...I pray to God that every time I ask you what movie we should watch, you don't reply "Let's just hang out and watch Sideways. That's my favorite film, and I'd enjoy it much better with an aged Napa Valley Merlot varietal in hand."