Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wine, for the hunter-gatherer ancestor, was an unpredictable food group.  It tasted good, it made you want more.  It was okay, controllable in predictable circumstances, at home, a certain quantity of it, but going out into the city at night invited trouble.  It could start at a dinner party.  It all tasted good.   Pizza was not a good food for the type O, so he would limit how much he would eat, and meanwhile, the Beaujolais disappeared, followed by the Corbieres, shared between three people, and then the wine from Chile turned out to be a Winebow Import and it too tasted good.  Later he found himself walking, and it was fairly late.  He stopped into Rogue 24 just to check things out, explaining his professional affiliation to a glib hostess who seemed a bit brainwashed about some particular cooking device, a moleculizer, something almost like that, and he walked a few more blocks before getting into a cab at the danger point.  A ride into Georgetown discussing Abebe Bikila and into Ethiopian history.  But the place closed.  A ride back from Georgetown, more Ethiopian history, Selassie not being such a nice guy after all, and into Russia House.  A glass of syrah-heavy Rhone upstairs so jammy that it tasted like it had been open and patrolled by fruit flies for a good while, though it had just been opened, the barmaid assured before turning away drawn and staring into the glowing screen of her cell phone, completely ignoring his presence.  Then, a Cahors downstairs with a very almost stunningly pretty Russian barmaid with a big rock on her finger who was polite and also having her own life to lead, talking joyously with compatriot friends at the other end of the small bar.  Another Cahors before closing, full at last, then stumbling home, not eating anything and waking with it still in his system and wasting a beautiful Fall day, shame on you, oh well, learn from your mistakes.  At least there was no vodka.

But with wine, that was basically the problem.  Your system would always say, take more.  Good fruit.  And if you had money in your pocket and the supply was more or less unlimited, you'd drink your fill when really you should be eating a steak with broccoli.  At the time they seemed more or less equivalent, and who wouldn't want to eat more steak until really you'd had enough, being full, couldn't eat another bite.  With wine, as with cheese, the full light never went on, and you'd simply take in more than you could process, while still being able to stand and walk home, but the next day there was an unease.  It wasn't your fault, anymore than you could control your own system or have another type of blood in your veins, it was just taking a natural creature from a primeval world and putting him into a situation he wasn't meant for.   His blood had been around hundred thousands of years, perhaps, and wine had been there, even in limited quantities and kept by agricultural peoples, for ten thousand.  The modern world, on top of that, largely conducted its social life around the stuff, and how could you avoid it, but by not participating.  What can you do?  Being alone made you vulnerable to it, having no particular point to the evening.  With company, of course, it would have been highly enjoyable, and then you get home, having been out enough, but alone you were looking for company really, and that too made you stay out too late.

And when you were sympathetic, kind, mindful of the world, the world was not as solicitous, keeping its eye on its multifarious business, ignoring the creature that had survived enough to give it life and art and sensibility and the generosity of culture's basic things, like the appreciative portrayal and cataloging of nature.  Early man had figured it all out, but then along came things like the motor car and complex economies, all of which he, being human, could handle well enough but which were in some way baffling, a consternation.

Poor stupid overly intelligent lost caveman, left behind, caught in a catch 22.  And yet, one day, by appreciating himself and understanding his own innate natural system, maybe he'll figure it out, quietly living alongside modern humanity, though it was all quite puzzling, life consisting of pulling the natural out of it where you could find it.  Yes, it's hard when you can't help being an idiot;  at least you can admit it and find a plausible explanation and some satisfaction in that.

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