Can you hear Carly Simon singing? Ever since my babysitters brought their vinyl records over to my house, I have loved her. “Mockingbird” I made my ex-uncle, who was between wives, play over and over on a ski trip to Tahoe as I penned my name to valentines in the 4th grade. My mother made me give valentines to each of my classmates, even the boys I hated, those who punched me in the arm daily. Boys like Ronald Zipper (not his real name – this is a variation) whom I always thought was destined for life in prison. The Vixen, a former roommate, and I played Carly nonstop during finals in law school. In any event, “Anticipation” has been playing in my head non-stop as I prepare to get out of Dodge. We have gone into party/shopping/cleaning overdrive. It’s keepin’ me wakin’ ….
“Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder,” Mr. Understanding purred the other night as the sugar cube above the cute little slotted spoon was carmelizing on fire at the Glamour Bar. Rarely does Mr. Understanding make me laugh. This is because my sense of humor is so far superior and refined to his. I do not hold this against him, in fact I rather cherish his role as straight man. Having said this, I bust out guffawing. We were at a going away party, held at a bar, and some yahoos ordered the beverage for all around, curious to taste the forbidden fruit. Not readily available on the Piggly Wiggly’s shelves or your local package store, “the green fairy” is illegal to produce or sell in the US (but you can hop over to Canada if you are really jonesing for a slug). Reputedly hallucinogenic, absinthe was the beverage of choice for the literati of the late 19th century. Van Gogh, it is surmised, whacked his ear off under it’s influence. So it would not be understated to say that I was leary of the drink. Already I am not sleeping well and hallucinating now would be downright inconvenient. So I took just a wee sip.
Most unfortunately, there are few alchoholic beverages I do not enjoy. Most of you know of my predilection for aged scotches, martinis, and margaritas. Absinthe, however, is just plain ghastly. A mere swig tasted like I had dipped my tongue in a vat of melted, moldy black jelly beans. I was tempted to take a cocktail napkin and rub the taste off, it was so bad; the flavor lingers like the smell of dog poo squashed in a child’s tennis shoe.* God. But I was in the Glamour Bar, surrounded by chic people, and it would have been unseemly.
Many expats in Shanghai are packing up for good, leaving a vacuum that will soon be filled with newbies and divas vying for their very own crumbling castles at even higher rents than last year. It is the slippery slope of expatdom: those you want to stay, leave, and those you want to leave, stay. For me, I am just happy to be pulling out the suitcases, headed towards our summer island life less than a week away.
*Cheese Fighter’s latest scrape.