Friday, August 25, 2006

Hey Stoopid!

So here's an example of how emotions override common sense at the most inopportune moment. I came home from work last night and picked up Emmy from Sue, my downstairs neighbor. After leashing the dog, we headed to the park for the final walk of the evening. The light turns green and as we're crossing Halsted, this kid comes barreling through the crosswalk, head down and fists pumping. I yell for him to look up and look out, but it's too late. He crashes full speed into Emmy, gets his legs wrapped up in her leash, and falls flat on street.

The sensible thing would have been to check on the kid and see if he needed attention. What did I do? I looked down at him on the street, while he was checking his knees for scrapes, and said, "You ... STUPID!!!" and continued to the park.

The kid was stunned. So was I, as we got to the park before the light turned red. As I checked Emmy for scrapes and bruises, she hopped up on my knee, merely frightened at the whole experience, I repeated that mantra to myself. I'm probably twenty-five years older than that kid, and he was just being a kid. A stupid kid? Maybe. But we were all stupid kids once. I should have just gone all the way and called him a "doo-doo head."

I was reminded of last night this evening. Sue, the Professor, and I went to Picante Grill for a three-course dinner with drinks made with Cielo tequila. The turnout was huge, which pleased both Sue and I, as we've been supporters of Picante since the place opened. I don't think that Picante was expecting the turnout they actually had, however, as it took a while to receive each course.

The tequila, on the other hand, flowed like water. When we made it to our table, there were three shots of Cielo already waiting for us - a shot each of blanco, reposado, and anejo. A few minutes after we sat down, we received a pomengranate margarita. We promptly sucked these down as we listened to an overbearing Cielo representative quote rankings given to the tequila from the Beverage Tasting Institute. It seemed like every time we started to tear into our food courses, he would bring everything to a grinding halt, pimping the tequila. It would just suck the festive atmosphere out of the room. He could have told us to get the forks out of our gaping maws and it wouldn't have been as bad as "Okay. Excuse me. If I can get your attention for a moment."

Then he'd go into his sell, and I'd sit at the booth, correcting him in a low voice. "This is distilled from 100 percent blue agave," he'd said. "Most tequilas are these days," I mumbled, "that's the first thing I get out of the way when I get sales calls. 'Let's just assume I know it's 100 percent blue agave and move on, alright?'" "Notice that hint of honey and pepper in the blanco?" he'd ask. And I'd reply to Sue and Professor, "That's not pepper and honey. That's cream on the palate, and charring from the roasting of the agave hearts." I knew that because a few months back I sat down with someone from the distillery, sampled Cielo, and gave my thoughts to the guy. When you hear sales pitches like that every week, it's hard to sit through them when you're trying to enjoy a dinner. I really felt like pissing in the pool and asking him why Cielo didn't taste like Cabo Wabo.

Another thing with Cielo tequila is that the quality seems to decrease with aging. I think it might be because they're thinking too much about the casking process, trying to get too creative. "We use brandy, bourbon, and sherry casks, then blend the three together", our emcee said. I thought, "So that's why the anejo tastes like ass?" I almost had to ask for salt and lime, and I haven't done that since I became legally old to drink.

We were asked to pair our shot of anejo with the flan, our dessert. And it almost ruined it. But when you're making a margarita, few tequilas suck. An hour after the dinner started, we drank our blanco and reposado samples, the pomengranate margarita, had both a regular margarita and tequila mojito in front of us, and our entrees were nowhere to be found. Soon enough, we picked up on the waiter's tendency to mention that our drinks were made with Cielo reposado. To get our minds off the fact that we were quickly becoming hammered, Sue and I started ending our sentences with "Cielo reposado."

"I'm gonna have a smoke outside, with Cielo reposado."

"While you're doing that, I'm gonna take a piss, with Cielo reposado."

After a snafu that saw me pay for the tab, we headed to the Skylark for a nightcap. Upon entering, we noticed someone that I hadn't seen in a while, who bounded up to me with some enthusiasm. Sue was apparently checking out the body language between the two of us. After exchanging pleasantries, this acquaintance excused herself for some fresh air. Sue looked at me and said, "Go talk to her."

"What?" I said.

"I think she's letting you know she's interested."

"No she's not."

"Chuck, just go over and talk to her. What have you got to lose?"

Instead, I sat on my stool, like a tool. She decided to strike up a conversation with someone in the back, then gathered her things a few moments later, and left with her party. As she's leaving, I remembered the inscription on Charles Bukowski's tombstone, "Don't try."

We chatted briefly, then I remembered something she told me once, about wanting to tour a chocolate factory. I asked her if she still wanted to do that. She said she would, but that Blommers doesn't do tours anymore. "How about a brewery tour?" I asked. She allowed that she'd be interested. She turned to leave, and I grabbed her hand.

"So how do I contact you, then?" I asked.

"I can find you," she answered, "you're all over the internet. You're a whore."

In the distance, I saw one of her party come back inside to check on her. I let go of her hand and said, "Better get back to your man." Walking to the exit, she turned her head and gave me a look over her shoulder. Sue asked what I said. I replayed the conversation for her. She said, "Well, it's a start."

Inside, I kept repeating, "You ... STUPID!!!"

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