I’ve picked a side in a very high stakes grudge match. I’m not sure what my next move is, but I assure you It Is On.
It started Saturday night when MS and I were at the Winery, next to Tapas (it is really named “Tapas”), both of which have outdoor patio seating overlooking one of our town’s busier through streets. We are very forgiving in this little town, and we clearly meet business owners halfway in our quest for a decent night out.
Even though Tapas bar patrons sit next to you in the patio and both businesses are run by the same owner, you are restricted to one menu or the other. We were sitting on the Wine Side because the Tapas Side was full, so no tapas for us. Turns out you never really no how much you want to order tapas until it’s gone. Worse come to worse, it’s a short walk across the busy street to get onion rings or French fries from the Whataburger, though, we knew we wouldn’t starve on the Wine Side provided we didn’t get too drunk to cross the street.
So I got over my Tapas abandonment issues, and I really just wanted a nightcap anyway, and then total redemption appeared in the Winery spirits menu. It listed Absinthe. Absinthe! On the menu. In Tallahassee. On the menu meant they would serve it correctly, right?
I was instantly transported to Paris and Geneva and Rome, and I made space on my shiny patio table for them to bring me a little dose of Absinthe in a special glass, and a slotted spoon, and sugar, and an ice carafe, so that I could perform the little ritual of alchemy that turns the green Absinthe into a cloud of heavenly black licorice I see God give me a paintbrush elixir. During the moments I waited for my Absinthe, a mid-life crisis was both triggered and resolved. The world and my life made sense and everything was wonderful! Absinthe was coming!
Of course it took forever to arrive. While waiting, we gazed across the street at the bright lights of the Whataburger, and listened to the zooming traffic. Suddenly a car full of gang members hanging out the windows, or mom’s on a night out, I’m not sure because it happened so fast, cruised by yelling obscenities and put-downs and all sorts of complete throw-down garbage, which sounded exactly like this: “Raaaa raaaa lalala ddee raaaaaawr.” Fighting words, I was sure.
So I shrieked back “Tapas haters!” You can’t let thugs like that intimidate you or they will know they can roll all over you when you are at Starbucks or TCBY or anywhere. Some of the patio diners seemed to appreciate that I was willing to fight for their right to tapas. Others looked as confused as they did when I was taking a photo of the Whataburger. What-a-ever. They are lucky to have soldiers like me who will fight for justice and honor.
Our drinks finally arrived immediately. (Shouting helps prompt customer service, I’ve found. Shouting and promises of imminent nudity.)
But my damned Absinthe was fucked up. It was already mixed. And served in just a regular old water like they use at Tapas. And it was too sweet. I was crushed. I felt like a petulant 2 year old if that 2 year old loved Paris and Hemingway and Absinthe and was waking up every morning teetering on a burning tightrope suspended over midlife crisis landia. I wanted to do it myself!
I had hoped it was taking so long to bring me my drink because they were preparing all of the special utensils and shining my Absinthe spoon, but it occured to me it was probably because the bartender had to surf the Internet to learn how to prepare it. Or they were cracking open some kind of Bartles & James Absinthe cooler malt liquor beverage.
And at that point it hit me–I immediately understood what the drive-by thugs were really trying to say. They weren’t tapas-haters! They were smearing the Winery! “They don’t know shit about Absinthe!” is what they were yelling. “You suck at Absinthe, Wine Bar!”
So, yeah, of course I’m joining their gang. As soon as I can find them via my Missed Connections post on Craigslist. Because I tolerate quite a bit by living in a small town, and I don’t insist that every bar stock Absinthe to serve aging wayward liberal arts majors who fan a tiny pilot light of love for the Lost Generation alive despite all odds, but there is a LINE, and the Wine Bar crossed it when they ADVERTISED the Absinthe and then served Absinthe-colada instead.
They crossed the line, and I’m on the other side of that line, with a band of Francophiles and F. Scott Fitzgerald groupies and Gertrude Stein wannabees. And we are fierce.
Wine Bar,you are hereby on notice. Like my dawg Hemingway said,”Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.” And like Tony Montana said, “You think you can take liberal arts majors who are having mid-life crises because it’s been decades since they Eurail backbacked through France? You think you can take us? You need a fucking army of business school majors if you’re gonna take us!”
(Okay. I just went to their website to make sure their name wasn’t something more creative, and they DARE to feature a Hemingway quote. Yes they did. It is so on!)