Wednesday, March 19, 2008

who's that girl

Today I learned how to spit wine into a bucket, next to other people spitting wine into the same bucket.

I feel like I have more to say about the industry wine tasting I went to today, but I also feel like I spit my brain into the bucket. Which has me thinking I shouldn't have even bothered to spit out the wine. Anyway. It was the first one I've been to, since waitressing and mongering cheese only vaguely qualify me as "industry." Nevertheless, I recognized a ridiculous number of people there. It felt like high school, where I knew everyone in my class, and often absurdly specific details about them, and no one outside of the marching band knew me. Or college, which was pretty much the same story as high school, only substitute crew team for marching band. And now, of course, it's the cheese shop and people I was friends with at my last job.

As I observed the purple-toothed masses from my cozy corner cheese table, it was like the Let's Remind Gina Of Her Lack Of Communication Skills Parade. All the people I thought about talking to but did not talk to because I would've had to re-introduce myself include: The guy whose restaurant was an Eater.com obsession and where my friend's ex-girlfriend works; the nice lady I used to wait on all the time and who once helped me pick a white Burgundy at her wine shop; a former manager with a former regular customer who tried to ask me out and didn't understand how I could be both single AND not wanting to date him and who later consumed six bottles of wine (not exaggerating) one night with a girl who was so drunk she didn't notice the large spider crawling across the table in front of her and which I was able to pick up with a napkin and stash in my apron pocket (ok, there probably would've been no point talking to him other than making him uncomfortable, which actually would've been kind of satisfying); the General Manager of one of my favorite restaurants who is best friends with the General Manager of my old restaurant; the tall white sommelier who dated my friend and ditched her for a tiny quiet Asian chick and always brought her in for very expensive bottles of wine but never finished them and left them for us; the bartender at my favorite restaurant in my old neighborhood whom I met through the dude I used to hook up with sometimes at 5am and re-met waiting on his birthday party and have seen around 85,000 times; the wine empire heiress to whom I once nervously served a funky Northern Italian red called Ros di Rol which she compared to an old Brunello (score!) as she sat on Table L3. I could go on, but I want to watch ANTM on my new favorite website before I hit the ol' hay.

The number of times I've forced myself to talk to someone and had the "oh! you're so and so who knows my friend so and so and you do x y and z"/"um, what's your name again?" conversation has ruined me for schmoozing. I don't know if I wish things were different. But I'm leaning towards not. Aside from the obvious fact that I would be a totally different and probably more sane person, if I were so focused on maintaining superficial connections, how could I have been so happy spending time alone with my bosses, talking to a regular customer/wine merchant with a genuine smile and without whom I never would've gained the courage to go up to a stranger and spit in his or her wine bucket, and reliving all those little stories whether or not anyone else remembers them.