Posts Tagged ‘wine’

“How can I help you?”

The first thing I noticed were her twinkling blue eyes.  She looked like she’d just finished laughing or was about to laugh.

The next thing I saw was her bright smile.

She was a short little thing, with dark curly hair that puddled down her back.

I had only dropped into the restaurant to do some reading.  The place was known for its hot spiced french fries – which I usually ate without benefit of ketchup or vinegar. Naked fries were the best.


Also, a glass of Chardonnay would complete the experience.  So that’s what I ordered.

She smiled again and took off.

When she brought me a glass of water, I stopped her.  Part of my brain just wanted to go for it, while another part was honestly intrigued.

“Excuse me” I said.  “Do we know each other?  Have you served me before?  I would have come in with a friend from work.”

I know how lame that sounds, but the restaurant had a lot of empty tables for that time of day, and I was sitting in my usual spot.  I’ve been in there a fair amount, as it’s close to my office.

“I don’t know” she said, still smiling.  “I don’t recall you.  My name is Lena”.

What I should have done was respond with my name.  That’s what a romantic guy would do – now that the ice was broken. But my ADHD hyperfocus had kicked in, as I struggled to recall whether I’d heard that name before.

“No, I don’t know that name” I said.  “Guess not, huh?”

“When did you last come in?”

“It would have been about six weeks ago” I replied, still struggling to remember.

“Well then we don’t know each other.  I only started a month ago.”

“Oh”  I was disappointed.  “Oh well.”

She smiled and left.

Each time she came to the table, to bring the food, the wine and to check to see if everything was okay, she had the brightest smile.

Twirling around in the back of my mind were all of these thoughts.

“Someone that gorgeous with such a great smile probably gets hit on all of the time.  Am I going to be another boor, troubling her in her place of work where she can’t get away?”

“I really like my setup at home. I worked hard to achieve the peace of my bachelor domain.  How ready am I to give that up?”

“She seems young enough to still want kids.  I wonder if I’m open to that?”

I really liked her, but …..  I had all of these reasons why I shouldn’t pursue her.  Most of these thoughts were straying outside of the limits of my consciousness, so I wasn’t truly on top of them or even aware.  That’s how it is with most things in a person cursed (or blessed, as the case may be) with ADHD.

So I concentrated on reading my book, and on enjoying the meal.

After the bill was paid, and the tip was administered, I stayed, enjoying the music and the book.  I sipped on my water, totally engrossed in the story.

She came back after that with a pitcher of water, and that ever-present huge smile.  “Would you like some more?”

“Oh that’d be great.  Thank you!” I said.

I finished the water.

It wasn’t until I left the place and began walking to the bus terminal that my brain tapped me on the shoulder.

“Doofus” it said.  “You realize that she didn’t have to come back with the water, right?  She wasn’t smiling for her tip any more – even if that ever was the case.”

I shrugged to myself.  I’ve had a number of missed opportunities before.  This wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

Maybe I’ve learned.  Maybe not.  Who knows.

He dug his hands deeper in his pockets.   It was getting to that ridiculous time of the year, and just like the last time this particular month nodded at him, he grumbled about it.  Inwardly, to himself, of course because there were so many others who looked forward to the holiday season.  And the snow.  And the cold.  And skiing.  And eggnog.

Frowning, he trudged on, neck bent in a vain attempt to reduce exposure to the north wind.   It didn’t matter though.  The capricious breeze danced and teased him, sneaking up against him, in brittle busses at his ear lobes and at the back of his neck.  Even one of his ankles got in on the action.   This was a slutty draft, willing to get busy with any and all comers, turning white skin to red.  A city bus would have been a good idea, he thought.  Or a taxi.  A taxi would have gotten him there by now.

And like that his fickle mind switched gears.  It couldn’t b helped.  A bluesy electric guitar solo had begun to warble in his mind and a grin escaped before he could catch it.  The warmth of the bar, the laughter of friends, and soothing wine all glowed in his memory and his footsteps picked up in anticipation.  The distance didn’t exactly fly by, but it seemed to glide a little easier at least.  Not for the first time he acknowledged that if he suddenly lost all of his senses and became immobile, he knew he’d be okay.  He would have his music, deep in his soul, to keep him entertained and alive.

Soon enough (though not soon enough) he saw the glowing sign of the bar.  A different draft greeted him as soon as opened the huge wooden door and stepped inside.  A woodsy rich warmth enveloped in before he could get his coat off.  Inwardly, he sighed.

Looking around, he realized none of his friends were there yet.  He was early.   There was a set of four thick velour-covered armchairs that were mostly empty, waiting to make him comfortable.  The only occupied chair contained a gentle-faced bearded man, who was reading a newspaper.   He noted that the guy’s stomach overflowed the arms of the chair, precariously pushing the boundaries of his heavily stained white shirt.

After sitting down, he heard a voice.  It was the Beard.

“Excuse me.”

He looked at him.

The Beard’s voice was gentle.  “Hope you don’t mind.  I’m waiting for my students to join me.”

He stood up.  “Oh sorry.  I should have asked.”

The Beard smiled.  “No problem.  I’m using a wheelchair, and they’re …..”  His voice was lost.  Either that or in his haste to find another spot for him and his friends, he had stopped paying much attention to whatever The Beard was saying.

“No problem. I’ll just sit over here.”

“Sorry about disturbing you.”

Disturbing.  That was an odd choice of word.   “No problem” he said again, nodding.

Just as he was sitting down to a table, his friends arrived, laughing and joking.  “Over here!” he said, and they made their way over.

The discussion was just as bright as he anticipated.  Except of course for their cheerful thoughts about the coming winter.  With the exception of one wayward remark “you know – I frigging HATE winter.  So shut up about it already” he mostly kept his opinion to himself.  They would only laugh anyway.   Saying more about it would be redundant.

The wine and beer flowed, and the laughter got a little raucous.   The owner of the place enjoyed a variety of music, which provided a pleasant backdrop to their conversations.  This, he knew, was what set this place against others.  Here, you could talk and expect to be heard.

As the night wore on, he looked over and noticed that The Beards’ students hadn’t joined him.

As he came back from one of his many bathroom visits, The Beard said something to him.

He turned back and looked at him.  “Sorry?”

“I wonder if you could do me a huge favour?” he asked.


The Beard’s hand dove into his deep pants pocket, and after a lot of grunting and shifting, he eventually wrestled out a tangle of keys.

“Would you mind going out to my white SUV – just outside the door –  and getting me my asthma inhaler?  It’s in the glove compartment.  I’d do it myself but I’m in a wheelchair…”

He glanced around and couldn’t for the life of him see the wheelchair.  The Beard was large enough to need one though so he let it go.

The Beard continued.  “And I’ll pay you for your troubles.”

He shook his head.  “No problem.  And no need to pay me.”   He took the keys.   “The white SUV, right?”

The Beard smiled.  “Right.   Oh, and you’ll have to go in the driver’s door, because the passenger side is broken.”

He took the keys and went out to the parking lot.  He saw the SUV immediately.   As soon as he opened the door,  a soul-destroying fragrance assaulted him.  His ever-lingering entomophobia raised its ugly head.  The presence of this stink must warrant a party of bugs, he just knew it.   Of course, the glove compartment was nowhere within reaching distance, so he knew he’d have to climb into the driver’s seat.  The stinky, probably bug-filled driver’s seat.

Right away he noticed the piles of newspapers, and all of the unopened packages of meat.  There was a lot of them, all with their store stickers still attached.  He wondered how old they were.  Hopefully The Beard had just purchased them.  If not, this could be the source of the horrendous stench.  It could just as easily be body odour though.  Or bugs.  Millions of bugs.

After finally locating the inhaler, he couldn’t get out of the SUV fast enough.  His skin rebelled as if trying to crawl off of his frame.  He knew his first job after the bar was to jump in the shower.  Maybe his clothes needed to be burned.  He wasn’t sure yet.

As he handed the inhaler to him, The Beard said “oh, thank you.  I’ll pay you.  How much do you want?”

Why was this guy talking about paying him?  Where did that come from?   “No, it’s OK. No pay required.”  He gave The Beard a sick smile.

The Beard smiled back.  “Thanks.   Oh, and would you do me one more favour?”

He looked at him.

“Would you ask the waitress for a pen?  I’m going to do a crossword.”

That was easy.  “OK.  Sure.”

He got the pen and gave it to him.

The Beard said “thanks.  And would you mind asking the waitress to…”

He interrupted him.  “Sorry – I have to get going.”

“Oh” The Beard said.  “Well ok.  Thanks again.”

“No problem.”

His friends were curious.   Jim said “what was that about?”

“Oh nothing.  Guy just needed something from his SUV.”

He didn’t’ mention the stench, or the packages of meat and the newspapers.   He was still trying to process it all.   Something was seriously amiss with this guy.  Evidently he had money, and a big appetite.  And maybe a hoarding problem.  He didn’t know whether to pity him or continue to just be horrified, as he was just then.

“Listen guys.  I have to cut the night short.  It’s been fun.  Catch you later, OK?”

Peter nodded.  “See you later.  You driving?”

“No.  I’ll catch a bus.”

He left, puzzled and anxious to get home to that hot shower.


Posted: March 12, 2011 in Life, writing
Tags: , , , ,

He sat at a table in the bar, a glass of white wine in his right hand, nothing particular on his mind.

The door opened, and a draft of icy air wafted through the place, pushing the warmth on tip-toes into the far reaches of the corners.  Two men followed, grating laughter blatting forth, the result of a pre-emptive drinking exercise.  He could hardly blame them.  The prices at this establishment were just a few dollars shy of obscene.

Both of the women sat at the bar, elbow-deep in excited story-telling.  The blonde glanced over at the newcomers, then quickly back at her friend.   It was too late:  one of the men, the bald one with the overhanging paunch, caught her looking.  A self-assured smile broke out, and he nudged his friend.  Nodded at them.

“Nah.  Leave them alone.  Let’s just get a spot”.  The taller one with the long dark hair started heading toward a table.

“Dude, I’m telling you – she wants me.”  He grinned again and began to make his way to the bar.  The taller one sighed and followed his friend.

The observer sat completely still.  Waiting.

“Hey ladies.  What’s happening?”   The bald guy smiled at them.

The women ignored him, continuing their now-brittle discussion.

The bald guy frowned.  Looked back at his friend.

“Hey.   You don’t have to be so rude” he said.

The dark-haired woman turned slightly in her seat.  Half looked at him.  “Sorry.  We’re not interested.”  Turned back to her friend.

The observer’s eyes glittered.  Anticipating.

“I didn’t ask if you were interested, did I?” said the bald guy, a little louder.  “I’m just making conversation.”


“You know what?  You’re both a couple of bitches”.  The man’s face was now pink.

The tall guy grabbed his arm.  “C’mon Jerry.  Let’s go sit down.”

Jerry shook his hand off.  “No man.  I don’t think there’s any need for this.  I don’t take shit from bitches.  Ever.  It isn’t right.”

The observer sat back, watching.  He could feel the saliva gathering in the back of his mouth.  His arm and leg muscles tensed.   His vision narrowed.

The man’s voice got even louder.  “But I guess bitches gotta be bitches.”  His face turned ugly with rage.  “Right, bitches?”

The bartender walked up.  “Sir, I think you’re going to have to leave.”

Jerry glared at him, fuming.  “Oh I’ll leave.  Just as soon as I get an apology from these bitches.”  Turned back to the women.   “How about it, bitches?  Hey?”

The women had stopped talking.  They weren’t looking at him.  They just sat there, rigid.

The friend spoke.  “Jerry, come on.  Let’s go.  There’s another bar down the street.”

Jerry whipped around.  Glared at his friend.  “Pete, fuck off.”  Turned back to the women.  “I asked you bitches for a fucking apology.  What’s it going to be?”

The observer stood up, scraping his chair loudly on the floor.  All of them looked at him.

He slowly sauntered to the bar, empty wine glass in his hand.  Stood between Jerry and the woman.  “I’d like another glass of wine, please.”

“Hey asshole.  You’re in my way.  We were talking.”

The observer put his hands down to his sides.  Turned and stared at the bald man.  Said nothing.

Jerry looked at him.  Huffy and upset.

The observer felt the growl, deep in his chest.  Clamped down on it.  Continued to stare at the bald man.   Every muscle was pulsing.  Ready.

A few seconds elapsed, as they stared at each other.  The bartender backed away.  Reached into his pocket.  Probably to get his cell phone.  Jerry’s eyes began to dart back and forth.  Confused.  He dropped his glance.

The observer looked at his friend.  Nodded.  The friend gave a slight nod back.

“C’mon Jerry.  Let’s go.”

Face entirely red, Jerry shrugged.  Both of them turned away.

The observer watched them leave the bar.  Felt his muscles and face relax.  He could feel his heart slowing down.

The bartender gave the observer his glass of wine.   “This one’s on the house.”

The observer nodded.   Grabbed the wine.  Turned back to go to his table.   The dark haired woman touched his arm.

“Thank you.”

The observer turned.  Smiled.  “I didn’t do anything.”


Guilty Pleasures

Posted: March 17, 2010 in humor, Life
Tags: , , , ,

“So, what do you do in your spare time?”

The question was number 583 of the typical first date question list.  I knew this one by heart by now.

“I like to read a lot.” 

(My subconscious whispered “when I’m not killing aliens on my Playstation 3”.   My subconscious does that a lot.  Provides the inappropriate answer when I’m talking.  Sometimes it blurts it, actually.  And sometimes my mouth gangs up with my subconscious and some of the alarming stuff make it to the open air.  I like it when that happens.  Sort of.)

“Me too.  What do you read?  The classics?” she asked.

“Um, no.  I read espionage thrillers.”

“Oh.  Spy novels.”  Her disappointment was acute and embarrassing.  Evidently I was definitely not the super-intellectual she had mistaken me for. 

(“As evidenced by the placement of the preposition you decided belongs at the end of  the last sentence.”) 

(Note to subconscious: Ok shut up.  Shut up now.)

I’m pretty sure that was the turning point in our date.   She was not impressed, and I wasn’t impressed with her either.  Ah well.  Let’s see if date number 241.5 works out. 

(“Why the .5?  You didn’t date any midgets did you?”) 

(Subconscious:  they’re not called midgets.  They’re little people.  And no.  And once again: shut up)

So yes, I read spy novels.  Notably: books by Brad Thor, Alex Berenson, Daniel Silva, James Patterson, Vince Flynn and Barry Eisler.  I’m sure there are others out there – I just need to find them. 

(“Tell them why you read these”.)  

(Dude, seriously – you’re distracting me.  I’ll get to it.)

I read them, partly because my brain just loves shiny things – action, constant movement, attracts my attention and keeps me somewhat focussed.  Focus is a problem, so reading stuff like this, where the conflict and tension keeps rising is like a soothing balm to my psyche.   

I also read them because they satisfy, to a degree, the side of me that longs for justice.  

(“You’re not going there.  You’re not getting serious are you?”) 

(Yes.  Yes I am.  But only for a moment or two, aiight?)

Post-911, it seems that western society at large wants to have a freaking dialogue with terrorists.  The images of those towers falling and people falling or jumping from them remains a permanent fixture  in my memory.  A good friend of mine – a doctor, who lived in the U.S. but has since moved to Panama – told me right after 9/11 “just you watch:  this will all fade from American thought within two to three years, and people will go back to wanting to ‘just talk’ with Muslim extremists”.   To my horror and outrage, he was right.   Oh dear Lord, I could write a monstrous treatise on all of this and about how wrong-headed we are, but that would be another blog, and THIS one isn’t about foreign relations or terrorism or politics.   There will be one though, so you’ve been warned. 


So anyway, my guilty pleasure is that I read these books for the fiction-based sense of justice they bring – where the good guys *know* (because they’ve investigated and found evidence) that the bad guys want to blow up stuff.  And, knowing that American politicians want to see the terrorists tried in open court and then jailed if found guilty, only to be let free to terrorize again eventually, the good guys take care of business.  I know it’s juvenile, and I’m OK with it. 

There were other guilty pleasures.  Like chocolate – the Achilles’ Heel to my Jenny Craig protocol. 

(“See?  You’re not a stumblebum: you used an ancient reference.”) 

(Yeah, I wasn’t worried.  You, on the other hand – well you said ‘stumblebum’ didn’t you?)


(Oh that’s ugly.  Put your tongue back in your mouth.)

Also wine.  There was a time I drank wine every day.  I liked it so much that I worried about liking it so much, and so I stopped just to make sure I could.  Didn’t drink it for a month.  Satisfied myself that I wasn’t dependant on it.

Oh and let’s not forget gadgets.  I LOVE my gadgets:  it started off with my PalmPilot…..



Anyway, then I purchased anything and everything that was electronic, computerized and new.  When the iPhone came to Canada I was the first in line at my local store to buy one.  And the next year when the iPhone 3G came out, once again I was first in line.   There’s a rumour that there’s a new one this year too, and I plan to be first in line.  Plus, I plan to buy an iPad, which will replace the Sony PRS-600 ebook reader I bought just a few months ago.

(“Why you aren’t fending the babes off, I’ll never know”)

(It’s not the gadgets, dude.  It’s the fact that you’re talking to me.)

(“Yes, and that you’re answering me”)



So…there you have it.  My guilty pleasures:  gadgets and reading.

I’m certain YOU have some guilty pleasures.   Mind telling me what they are?