How am I going to last the next 5 hours and fifteen minutes? That’s my question, to you, and my Self. I could fall asleep on the counter, on the floor, out on the grass. It’s not busy today, no one would notice. Jack approaches me with a slight simper. “I read your blog. You’ve been up since 3:30 this morning? What’s wrong? You okay?” he says, walking away then loading boxes into his car to take up to the shipping area.
“I’m alright, just couldn’t go back to sleep. Can barely keep my eyelids up, bro.” I say.
“Were you really considering drinking an energy drink?” he asks, laughing like he’s caught me in scandal.
“Well I’ll be right back, man. Gotta take this stuff up the road,” he says, closing the heavy glass door behind him. My thoughts go back to the long slab of struggle ahead. There’s no way this day could be like either one of the barrel tasting shifts. Can’t believe I survived that. Wait, it wasn’t that bad, yesterday.
Man from Tennessee, back with wife. He came in yesterday, wife didn’t as she was sick back at the hotel. He’s a nice man, completely unfamiliar with any spec of specificity concerning wine. He’s in town for a cotton convention. A cotton convention, what?
Alice made cookies, brought them in unannounced, for the crew. Hopefully I’ll get some, one, maybe two. Oatmeal raisin, my favorite. Need to get away from the bar, steal some before the Room’s crew devours more than a few.
Viognier. Taking a sip. Probably shouldn’t. May make the author more fatigued. Sip one...lovely. Spilling the rest out. I shouldn’t.
Jack walks into the Room. He looks annoyed, maybe frazzled, or drained. “Shipping is officially not of my favorite things in the world today.”
I nod, look at the people entering. “Hi, how are you?” They barely smile, acknowledge my positive hospitality. You know what, I hate greeting people as they walk through the door. Sounds so scripted, forced. Come to the counter, I’ll greet you then.
Young group, four girls. 20-somethings. All are sure of their presence, royalty. I have to pour for them, and I will, as I am beneath and should be thankful for the honor. One of them, with a fold to her face affirming superiority, lets me know that she is Elli Vendingher, daughter of the “elite” Vendingher family, proprietors of Vendingher Winery & Vineyards. I’m glad she told me, frankly. Now I have a face to associate with mediocre wine.
Looking at the clock. Stan saw me. He says, “I’m right there with ya, buddy. Five o’clock yet?”
Lady approaches counter, with a guy about her age, mid 30-something. “Hi. How are you? I’m a club member and I was wondering what you have open...” I pour her solely artisan wines, red, many of them blends and Zins. She laughs frequently, and repeatedly relays that our wines are the best in the state, in the country, world. “I don’t even know what to say. You know, three of the girls that work with me at the Ritz are club members here too.”
“Oh, that’s great. You should bring them up next time,” I say.
“They don’t ever come up here, too hot.” Not really sure what to say to that, it’s like 71 degrees on the other side of the doors, no clouds. How is that objectionable?
4:33p. All gone. I don’t believe it. They ate my wife’s cookies. I know she brought them for the crew, but I only delighted in one. Deconstructing this tires me. Moving on...
4:49p. How did I do this? Jack walks up to me, eating a cookie he hid, I guess, informs me that the promo’d bottles have been entered, and that Mark and Stan affirmed we’d be separating from the Room in no more than ten minutes after 5. I sip the Vio’. Again. Again. Yes, one, two more tips of the foggy glass. Why is this glass foggy? Not thinking straight, so I’ll sip more, hoping it gets better. What am I doing? I shouldn’t. Pour out the remainder.
Bell rang five times. As I wrote in one of my stories, “DAY OVER.” Not sure how I feel, now that this seemingly simple struggle has suddenly ceased. When home, no wine. Just stillness, me and Alice, and hopefully a new group of cookies. Don’t think I’m in the mood for wine. Will probably wind up spilling out the other night’s Barbara.
Still recalling moments from the barrel weekend. The man and woman by the barrels, pouring for themselves. Stan said something like “Where’d you get that wine, folks? I don’t see a bottle.” The man was so sloshed he replied, “What bottle?”
Need to wipe down counter and take out bottles. Everything heavy, even this paper towel. Till the shift next...
At home, finally. Loving the Barbara, and oatmeal raisin morsel. How’s that for a pairing?