Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Designated Driver

My mentor (tipster?) at the online wine club is on the phone to prompt me about the beaujolais nouveau. I thank him for his diligence and tell him I’m already on the case as it were. That for once, I had undertaken my own steps to secure a token sample from a local vintner’s. The insufflation down the line remained admirably even, when I explained how my circumstances only required a single bottle rather than the case he was offering.

Though this was one call I didn’t mind taking, I had assumed he would have a plethora of tinkling to address in this red letter week. Yet there were no swallowed exhalations evincing an indication of wanting to get off the line. Seemingly, since he was presently engaged on his quarterly communion with me, (as covenanted by a tick box), he felt obliged to transfuse a customary splash of his erudition. And since I carelessly remarked how I couldn’t see what all the palaver was about, we had become embroiled in a rather ill-matched debate on the fanfare reserved for the B.N. “... Of course it’s not the same as leaping in your vintage sports car and motoring down to the vineyards to ensure you took possession of it in advance of all your fellow countrymen. Entering into the venturesome spirit of it as it were ...”

Even if only to the tune of one bottle, I began to ruminate on why indeed I had succumbed to the marketing campaign, (the pop-art labels, one shade shy of dayglo), trumpeting a brash ceremonial honouring of the new crop. “It’s a light frivolous wine,” - (no, actually it’s scarce better than gargling with mouthwash) –“gulped in a festive ambience rather than quietly savoured” (why go to the trouble of chilling it then, apart from making the bloody thing palatable in the first place?)

Here he is, half tour-guide, half landscape artist, using that mellifluous tongue of his to conjure up the dreamy world of the grape, so that I encounter it in its habitat rather than vice versa. Yet I have no particular yen to inhabit these places. I am not about journeying or discovering. Simply the convenience of having bulk, quality vintages, delivered at sizeable discount right to my front door. No more hauling bags of wine, distending my arms like an orang utang, the handles staunching the blood in my fingers like pillywinks. They’ve sold me on it already, after all I’m a subscriber am I not ? I don’t need any aspirational hook, for all this maven’s sensuous patter.

Certainly, part of my life involves imbibing, but I don’t intend to make a career, or a life, out of it. Sum and substance, I favour half a bottle of wine with my meal of an evening. Together with the food, I find it revivifying after the day at work here and any other disappointments requiring to be washed away. Yet I found it also has an inbuilt sedative to conduct me, with sufficient a strike rate as to make it worthwhile, into an uncontested sleep by midnight. Thereby allowing me to thread myself back into circadian life cycles. Hats off to any produce that can harvest that. Only I don’t like plonk. Call me a snob, but that’s just my gustation for you. And no, I wasn’t ever reared on the quality stuff either.

So it is not an asseveration of life, rather an antidote to it and its adulterations. BN day, supposedly toasts and heralds my new resolve, pre-empting the officially plighted one for the turn of the year. Mouthwash and then hogwash. For I can’t see anything realistically changing about my life. I could of course always just tell him this and thank him for his glorious but vain efforts. But I don’t. It helps pass a particularly slow afternoon in the office.

“Infusing the bouquet assails one’s senses. The pleasure zones scaled, each endorphin being delightfully tweaked by the grape’s grappling hooks, that lead it by its microscopic hooter. Expectantly anticipate the expectoration. Like the second coming of the sensory overload which it will inevitably form. That tidal inrush across the Hellespont of the tongue, driving inexorably toward the Pharos Lighthouse of the uvula, when with a teasing double declutch on the rudder of the jawbone, Bacchus’s marines instead wash up against your buccal shoreline. Scylla reflexively clenches her labial inlet and peforce Charybdis whirls the waves. In the choppy shallows, every inch of one’s mucus membrane becomes inoculated with the liquid nectar. Your palate fructified with the ancient lifeblood of the vine; your palette cleansed and ready to redraw the world afresh. The sap having performed its consecration, ought then to be expelled from the mouth, leaving one intoxicated even though a single drop is yet to enter the bloodstream”.

Oh he’s good alright. Apart from the wine being tailored for my tastes, was his delivery bespoke too? Could he truly be inside my head and mine alone, or was he routinely like this with all female club members according to their declared profiles? And the men too?

What did he get out of it, surely not just a desiccated coneyance of a shared liquid passion? To what end? Right now, that disembodied voice down a phone line, has a closer rapport with me than anyone else in the world. A subversive intimacy. He has less direct access than say my dentist, yet how skillfully he ingresses into the input of my mouth. He knows how to tickle and knead my tastebuds. In short, he palpates me, like ants to aphids. At the remove of a phone cable. And for his part, does he drink in any nourishment from me? What the deuce am I secreting down the line?


Aislinn O'Connor said...

Think this is wonderful - a brilliant put-down of all those sales-gigolos who insinuate themselves into your life just for the pleasure of separating you from your hard-earned cash while trying to persuade you that they care about your happiness.

What are you secreting down the line? The hope he'll make his sales target for this month... and that you aren't actually awware of that.

Someone pour me a glass to soften my annoyance with these people - please...

Laura Eno said...

That is some sales pitch! I think that Aislinn stated it all for me. :)

shannon said...

I don't know why this made me chuckle, especially the visual of her carrying bags of wine with bloodless fingers! What does he get out of it? hmmm...perhaps the satisfaction of hearing himself talk, of sounding important and sophisticated to his own ears?

Now I want a glass of cheap wine...cheers. :-)

Genevieve Jack said...

this was so good, I think I'll pour myself a glass of my favorite $6 vintage and read it again! Nice Job. I found the quote very amusing.

Marisa Birns said...

Ha, brilliant!

Though so many fine lines here, my favorite has to be "Mouthwash and then hogwash."

I am drinking wine brought over by a friend. While not plonk, it is nothing compared to what is being peddled to your main character.

I am having exsufflations of annoyance about that.

Thank you for scaling the pleasure zone with this enjoyable--and damn erudite--story.

Carrie Clevenger said...

"That tidal inrush across the Hellespont of the tongue, driving inexorably toward the Pharos Lighthouse of the uvula, when with a teasing double declutch on the rudder of the jawbone, Bacchus’s marines instead wash up against your buccal shoreline."


Still it is kinda hot in a weird way-over-my-head kind of way. Loved it. Always do. You teach me so many new words.

Lily Mulholland said...

Again I was surprised by the revelation that that narrator was female! I think it's the short sentences with guttural syllables. Could be a cultural difference though!

I am off to look up Piddlywinks!

Lily Mulholland said...

Okay, that would be pillywinks. And now I know what they are! Ouch. And yes, that is exactly what it feels like carrying a too-heavy box :)

Michael Solender said...

absolutely love this treatment, irreverent and funny.

Jen said...

Your use of words continues to baffle and bewitch me.

Anonymous said...

This was great, can't even decide on a favorite line :)
*thinks hard what to choose* I'll just go with the whole quote ;)

Anonymous said...

There's so much to love here, I'm a bit speechless.

So I'll just say that this is excellent. Well-done. :)

Virginia Moffatt said...

Oh my. I love the way this salesman has got into her head, with his language and knowing her love of wine...Great stuff.

Cecilia Dominic said...

Of course I had to comment on this one...

First, I totally agree with you on the Beaujolais Nouveau. Horrid stuff. It's more of a ritual at the release on the third Thursday in November (for your reference) than actual enjoyment because you quaff a glass and then move on to the good stuff.

Second, I was laughing out loud at your wine description by the salesman. Yes, some of the notes are that pretentious.

Well done!

The Random Oenophile

Anne Tyler Lord said...

"Call me a snob, but that’s just my gustation for you."

Oh yeah, that says it all. He was so funny. This was utterly delightful - so many lush, sensual lines here! It was like sex for us who love wine.

*now scrambling to get a glass of wine*

PDAllen said...

The moment anyone tries to sell me something, I head the other way.

It amazes me how wine connoisseurs can tell so much from a sniff and a taste. Me, I never was a big fan of the vino.

As usual, Marc, perfectly executed.

Eric J. Krause said...

Good story. Personally, I never picked up a taste for wine, but that didn't keep me from enjoying this story.

Tomara Armstrong said...

“Infusing the bouquet assails one’s senses. The pleasure zones scaled, each endorphin being delightfully tweaked by the grape’s grappling hooks, that lead it by its microscopic hooter."

I don't feel I should be reading this... what's this post rated?