02 September 2015

Two Cocktail Glasses - or - Pawns in the Sad Withering Days of Sad Space in Time

Yesterday I wrote about waiting for a to go order of clam chowder at a restaurant bar. There’s more to that visit.

Two cocktails sitting on the bar ready to be picked up by a waiter and taken to customers. Lovely glasses filled with matching concoctions. Amber colored with a judicious amount of ice. I looked at them for two, three seconds tops. It was forever. So many sad stories in those two glasses.

What did they cost? Maybe four or five dollars, not sure what cocktails go for these days, but about that I should think. The contents of each glass probably were actually worth maybe one dollar, probably less. You know how mark ups go on food and beverage. And how much booze was in those two glasses? Not a lot. Didn’t need to be. Just a taste is enough for regular folks. That’s all they want. If the patron’s stomach is empty they may manage a bit of a buzz from the one drink. A second would  surely do it. That’s all a lot of people want. Even if there’s a little wine with dinner. Want a glow to go along with a few courses of food. Might even go with an after dinner drink. Probably that’s it. I understand that a little liquor can aid digestion although I think that really just applies to wine. Moderate amounts of the demon rum do the average bloke no harm. So they say.

There those fucking glasses were. Maybe gateways. They could have been the opening salvo in a bender. It always starts with the first one and who knows how many more. People like me never understand how some of you can go out “for a drink” and leave it at that. Have a beer or two or a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and then just stop. That’s madness. I can’t even believe it — still — when I see people get up and leave with half a beer still in their glass. I can’t fathom people nursing a drink. It even drives me potty when I’m watching a movie. Look at those idiots with their drinks not drinking them, I mean come on. What’s it there for?

But hey, that’s me.

I work around people who drink and always have and unless I take a job with a mormon school probably always will (incidentally, there’s no fucking way I work for a mormon school). I hear co workers talk about booze. It doesn’t bother me a wit. It’s not like they’re trying to pry my mouth open and pour whiskey down my throat. Some on some occasions I’ve been pretty sure if not totally convinced are alcoholics. Not my business though. If one were to ask me about my sobriety and what it's about I’d talk, its happened, but it’s not in the 12 step playbook to go soliciting members.

I’m not envious when I hear people talk about drinking. Been there done that. Cheers to you.

So I was writing about those two glasses. They were some sort of touchstone. A talisman. Icons. Symbols. They were cold and wet and lethal and they made me sad somehow. Not about my own story but about…well, shit I’m not sure, a lot of things, I guess. Our culture. All those cocktails going out to people with disposable bucks. The waste. The emptiness of a cocktail. Of just one and of 12. I don’t begrudge anyone a drink or as many as they want. But sitting there, they’re glossy sad fuckers. Portraits of decadence. Banal and yet ostentatious. Not the gargantuan symbols of cultural decay that cruise ships are, just pawns in the sad withering days of a sad space in time.

I wanted to knock them off the bar with one fell swoop. I wanted to curse them I wanted to cry I wanted to laugh and stomp my feet and dance to the reaper’s song of endings. I wanted.

But. So. There you go.

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