(There is no picture of the wine bottle with our names written all over it. Here, instead, is a picture of the dessert called Ambrosia, or Ambrosia Salad.)
On Sunday night, three of us got off work early. We sat at one of the white picnic tables out front with our old manager; our sitting there was a celebration of his once having managed our restaurant, of his now having moved on to bigger and better things. I'm not sure what those big great things are but I appreciated that he didn't either yet was still willing to go for it and celebrate. This celebratory evening had been pitched to me a month ago as something I had to believe would be decadent, wild, legendary, etc- but now that that night was tonight, I had to admit to myself: it wasn't anything special so far. Just the four of us sitting at one of the white picnic tables drinking wine that was either natural or biodynamic but probably not both, a sparkling rosato that I like to describe as being Bone-ass dry. I like saying that, "Bone-ass dry," with the same tone and accompanying facial expression that I would use to say: "You're not even going to fucking believe this."
Bone. Ass. Dry. Like literally sucking on a bone. But it's dark, salmon pink! You think everything pink is going to be sweet but sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's as dry as sucking on a bone. Like eating a tooth.
They brought us out some food and the sun set. Oh, the luxury of eating dinner in your own restaurant! Turmeric-scented cauliflower fried in chickpea flour. Salt cod, tomato pulp, fried chicken. It's nighttime. We were loud, unforgiving, we were laughing. We were getting to that point in drunkenness where you become stupidly, soppily candid: When I first met you I hated you more than I knew I was capable of hating a person I didn't know but now that I know you I love you. I always liked you. I always liked you too. You were kind and your kindness didn't smack of bullshit which is amazing. I like the sound of your voice. I find your accent amusing. I think the way you talk is really cute. There are four accents at the table: Australian, Belgian, Irish, and me: Canadian. When I first met you, I thought you were incredibly rude.
That's because I was incredibly rude to you.
Our second bottle: a Chenin Blanc from Anjou. Anjou is one of my top fifteen, maybe twelve, favorite words of all time. The wine tastes as good as the word anjou, and I described it as being "ambrosial." I said ambrosial to mean the actual meaning of the word "ambrosial": exceptionally pleasing to the taste or smell; worthy of the gods; divine, but inside my head, I realized I was also meaning it to say that it tastes like the dessert called ambrosia, a dessert I have never tasted or tried. But I know that ambrosia is a thing that exists and I know it's made of sweet syrupy fruit- canned peaches, cherries, pineapples- mixed into whipped cream, whipped cream that tastes like it's spelled "whip cream," like something people would eat in Hawaii in the 1950s. There's no bitter or burn.
It was like eating a fruit cup and then knocking back the juice. A little clear plastic thing of mandarin orange. You can mix marshmallows or sour cream or even coconut into ambrosia. This wine tasted like my dream concoction of ingredients that would make up my own dream ambrosia. Everything shitty about my life was swept away by a gold and glittering Tina Turner minidress curtain of tears and disappeared but then briefly reconstituted itself to take the shape of a clear diorama that I tore myself away from my wine to stare down and declare irrelevant. The wine was over. We ordered our third bottle.
It was called Swimming Poule and had a Crayola-marker drawing of a chicken wearing far out eighties swimming gear (shades, patterned swim trunks, an inner tube) on the label. It reminded me of an elementary school French textbook. Of the province of Quebec. All week I'd been so bummed I missed the Swimming Poule tasting; I'd asked my Australian co-worker what it tasted like- "Kool-aid," she said, and was right. It costs so much goddamned money to buy a bottle of white wine that tastes as good as the cheapest dessert imaginable- imagine a Vouvray that tasted like a Twinkie! A million pounds a glass. I'd pay it. If I had it. Easy.
After finishing the bottle we signed our names on the label. My stupid signature is just three scribbley lines. When I was a kid I would see signatures that were just a scribble and I decided that when I grew up my signature would be just a scribble and now it is and I feel ashamed of it. But the cool twist of my signature is that it says LF but it looks like it says L7. That weird jerk of the wrist that just happens, at this point, is me admitting to the Universe: I am, in fact, a square.
(Two days later I was sitting on a ladder and had recently cried in the bathroom. I was wearing an apron, which is so symbolic of everything an apron could ever mean to represent, and I mean that as an insult. Like, in an oppression-y way. I am overqualified for my job, which is clearly a gigantic bummer. The sun was shining through the windows I was doing a shit job of "cleaning" and I wished it would be raining again.
I cannot even begin to communicate to you how ugly the sun was. How fat I believed I looked in my apron.
I slipped my body down every rung of the ladder bum-first. I decided to polish the wine bottles we keep on display at the boot of the floor-to-ceiling windows to remind the strangers walking past that we sell wine here and there it was. The Swimming Poule we'd signed and dated two days ago. I'd forgotten we'd done that, and there and then it reappeared to remind me that I am, in fact, a person.
(I don't know what I'd been thinking I was- either a bone or a tooth?? Best case scenario a branch. Maybe a little chunk of plastic.))
LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: 7 Guys I Have Crushes On
Here are seven guys I have crushes on this week, in no particular order:
i. IAN SVENONIUS. I lied about the "no particular order" thing - Ian Svenonius is absolutely my number-one crush of the week. On Wednesday afternoon I was driving home from buying nag champa and wine and when I neared the stop sign at my cross street I noticed a dude a half-block away; he had white pants and amazing hair. God that guy's hair's just like Ian Svenonius's hair...oh wait that is Ian Svenonius, I said to myself. So I did what any red-blooded American female would do, which was pull over and get out of my car and pretend to go to the coffee shop that Ian Svenonius was standing in front of, and then actually go to the coffee shop and get an iced tea with a shot of fresh-squeezed lemonade. On my way out I walked past Ian Svenonius and got a closer look at those pants (WHITE, BRIGHT BRIGHT WHITE LIKE LIGHT), and stepped right into earshot just as he was saying: "And then rock & roll happened, and blah blah blah blah." So insanely perfect: it's like I walked past Garfield the Cat just as he was saying "Oh hey, so I'm really into lasagna." Life is just that tidy sometimes.
ii. MARC MARON. I met Marc Maron last week; he was so nice and chill. I really want the universe to know that my experience of Marc Maron was that he radiated nice, chill vibes and had a surprisingly warm demeanor. Here's a picture of me and Marc and my pal Alisa; Marc doesn't look all that stoked but I'm sure he was just delighted by us. Total delight all around.
iii. ROB HUEBEL. The big thing I want to announce this week is that I'm so happy Transparent exists and is so intensely heartbreaking and happy-making, and that this interview with Jill Soloway is inspiring and fantastic. I really don't have a crush on Rob Huebel on Transparent, but he's generally very charming and handsome and probably my closest thing to a Transparent crush. Jay Duplass is a very distant runner-up, but in the end his character reminds me too much of too many men who irritate me in my daily existence, and I just can't. Sorry there Joshie.
iv. MARK DUPLASS IN A PEACOAT. Speaking of the Duplass Brothers, I started watching The Mindy Project and of course it's the best. "The Duplass Brothers as midwives" is a beautiful gag that never gets old on me - every single time they show up I'm like, "Oh my god it's The Duplass Brothers...but they're midwives!", and it's majestic all over again. I don't love Mark Duplass even half as much as most women my age seem to, but Mark Duplass as a midwife in a peacoat: stunning.
v. ELLIOTT GOULD. A few weeks ago I watched The Long Goodbye for the first time and now I understand that Elliott Gould is one of the best men who's ever walked the earth. I love how his Philip Marlowe is always lighting matches off unlikely surfaces; my favorite's when he lights a match off the stereo at the Malibu beach house. Also: did you know that Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand have a kid and it's the wastoid boy from the party scene in Say Anything - the one with the crazy hair, this kid? They were the greatest couple too. Oh my god:
vi. DEVENDRA BANHART. I saw Devendra at the Hollywood Bowl two Sundays ago; he played with Andrew Bird and Caetano Veloso. All in all it was gorgeous and magic night and Devendra was such a goofball; his stage persona was very Lohanthony-esque, except entirely darling and benevolent. At one point he started talking about how he lived inside the Hollywood Bowl, saying something "I found it on Craigslist - it was cheap. Like me!" and then making this cutesy "Aren't I so adorable?" face/gesture. He was also wearing a really nice blue sweater, which you can see in this cute pic of him and Caetano Veloso. Such sweet little imps.
vii. OWEN WILSON IN THE INHERENT VICE TRAILER. I was so in love with the three seconds with Owen Wilson in the Inherent Vice trailer, I forgot to be in love with the three seconds with Benicio Del Toro. Owen's just blowing minds with that camo hoodie and facial scruff, and now I'm extra-psyched for my annual early-autumn viewing of The Darjeeling Limited, which usually happens on a Sunday morning in the first few weeks of October, in bed, with some milky/sugary black tea and a nice autumn-y pastry, like a goddamn pumpkin scone. Or maybe a chocolate pear scone, or an oatmeal brown butter scone - or just all the cinnamon scones in the world. To me it really doesn't get more classic-October-y than the Whitman Brothers + cinnamon.
JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: My Favorite Doctor
I saw my favorite doctor this week. He 1. noticed my haircut and 2. said it looked great. I'm also healthy or whatever.