Hey dudes. How’s it hangin’? It’s me, Seven. I’ve got another frowback for you. Frowing all the way back to Twenty Aught-6. It was, for me, a time of despair. I had not yet discovered world travel, had no notion of relocating to Thailand, and was trapped in a prison of misery (prisery for short, copyright BKK7) in California. My only escape came in a dark bottle of red elixir.
“Tuesday, January 17, 2006 Current mood: thirsty
3 Great Grapes That Taste Great Together
So the wine I’m sucking down at present is not my usual preference. First of all, it’s Australian, and nothing against the land down under, but most of the wine tastes scorched to me. Like the grapes got cooked or something. It’s also anomalous because of its blend. It’s called a GSM. Stands for Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. It sounds ambitious coming from south of the Equator, but it’s surprisingly marvelous. You wouldn’t think anybody but the French could wield a worthy Rhone blend, but hats off to these Aussies. They’ve done a fine job.
Velvety on the tongue, with ripe round fruitiness (plums and blackberries), hints of spice and chocolate, vanilla and oak, and a long even finish of. . .black cherries? Hm. Maybe. I’m guzzling it like a two dollar hooker, mainly because of my present bout with horrific back pain. I’ve found that wine works better than any prescription or ice pack, and helps relax the brain in the process. An old friend used to say he had a drinking problem–whenever he wasn’t drinking, it was a problem. I know to the prudish, untrained eye I must seem the same, but not so. Not so, I say! The wine is merely a means to an end. And sometimes that’s all we really need, America. A crescendo, followed by a falling curtain. As eyelids closing. No no no, come on now, it’s not what you think. Spare me your Psych 101 analysis, it’s not a cry for help. It’s a shout, a polite obscenity, a mouthful of spit in the third eye of the universe. That’s what’s right with America. That’s showin em who’s boss. Wham! Pow! Right in the kisser. Because who doesn’t want to pick a fight every once in awhile? Even if it’s one you can’t win. Liquid courage, do your thang.
Though truth be told, there’s really nothing worth fighting for anymore. And isn’t that what we’re all trying not to admit? The harsh truth we’re clamoring not to face? That when push comes to shove comes to bloody nose and knuckles, there IS no deus ex machina to pluck us from disaster. To dig us out of whatever hole we’ve just dig-dug into. That it’s merely our wits that either will or will not preserve us for another day. That success and profound failure are close cousins and only a hair’s breadth separates them in our lives. What does the next moment hold? How will scouring the past help or hinder its passing? What is life except a giddy, sick-sweet gamble with the odds stacked squarely against us? Why is alcoholism considered a disease? Could it in fact be the only SANE route of passage?????
I am fading. Like pictures in an album, I am fading. Bleaching at the brightest spots, becoming one color, the hue of an 80s Instamatic photo. Like recollections of a 5th birthday party. With hats and noise makers, cheap ice cream and bad presents from the sale rack of the local toy store. Like underwear with faulty elastic. Like puppy love and the first lickings of the heart’s first wounds. This was life. Back then all I could hope for was something else–something better. Good news to overtake the heart-breaking truth of the moment that wrung the senses like a wound-up locker room towel. But that blind hope, hope for some unseen messiah, has drowned in the Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre. Has been baptized and resurfaced to preach anew. This is life. It always has been. That moment at age 5, complete with horror and hope, has been frozen in time and is still the same, only a little faded. Like Kodak. Let the wine breathe color into it again. Let it all run red. Like a blush. A realization. A reckoning, a renewal. It is not a dream.”
Out of fairness to Australian wine makers, I should say that in the 13 years since penning this diatribe, either my palate has become more refined or the Aussies have gotten better at making vino, because there’s a long list of fantastic vintners from that part of the world who’ve been producing amazing wine for many, many years (My favorite being Two Hands).
As for the rest of this verbal pity party, it’s pretty evident where my life got twisted to the point of breaking, and how close I really was to the end of my rope, before boarding the escape pod and bailing out to Thailand, where there’s nothing but beauty and bliss. The complete opposite of life in LA. I don’t know how things would’ve turned out if I’d stayed. I’d probably be dead by now, do to the despair and total absence of any hope that life would improve. But it did improve, the moment the plane lifted off the tarmac. And I’ll never, ever go back.
Check back on Sunday for the weekly, and cheers to all of us who found our way out of the darkness and into the warm, welcoming sunshine in the greatest country on Earth—Thailand.