Today, I drank the dregs of a box of wine. I bought it in July 2012. Yes, I have had this box for over a year. The last sips were about the same as the first ones, near as I could tell. A mellow, mild, fruity red, slightly sweet. Pretty innocuous.
I got it in NJ. The Fella, MLQ and I had been invited to an engagement party in Marlboro, NJ. It's not easy to get to Marlboro from Brooklyn by public transit. It requires subways, a train and at least one bus. So the Fella hired a Zipcar. We piled in and made our way through familiar yet foreign lands.
We got lost a few times. The NJ highway system can be tricky to decipher even with two people staring obsessively at their cell phones the whole time. (NJ, are you aware of your signage problem? At the very least, you could trim the bushes back so that they don't obscure what signs you have, overgrown Garden State. )
With our detours, we made a few retail excursions; one of these was the Wine Academy.
There is a scene in the movie Tin Men where a guy considers believing in God after going to a smorgasbord. I can't offer a video clip, only a transcription of the scene
. I bring this up because this is what the Wine Academy was like for me. I walked down aisle after aisle of glorious booze. So much. And so many different kinds. In this magical land of spirits, I got a box of this:
It's a humble trophy from a place so grand. In a fit of nostalgia, what I wanted was a box of wine. When I was a wee grad student the best part of the summer was having BBQ and a box of Franzia with friends on a hot summer day. We drank from plastic cups, complained about our lives and mocked each other mercilessly. Boxes of wine, like sheet cakes are not really an NYC thing. These things are not classy. They are big and unwieldy. They are shared at big parties and with large groups of people. It helps to have a car when transporting them. And here I was, in a car.
I have not had Franzia in a long time. Back in the day, they didn't have a Chillable Red. Seemed worth a shot.
I got the box and took it home. It took up a big slice of my tiny fridge. Between that and a giant jar of kimchi, there was very little room for perishables in my fridge or my life. Being a single hermit girl, I mostly drank the box alone. On rare occasion the Fella would join me for a glass. I felt comfortable breaking the rules of wine etiquette while drinking it at home alone. Sometimes I had it mixed with seltzer or with a few ice cubes. Turns out I don't drink a lot at home and drinking at home alone does not inspire me to do so copiously. But it was nice to come home and fuzz out a little with a glass of chilled red.
It would wink at me when I looked in the fridge. "Wanna drink? Drink? Drink?" "Hi. Hi! I am still here. Wanna drink?"
It would pout reproachfully at me when I came home from a night of drinking. "What am I, chopped liver?"
It would companionably observe that I might want a glass of wine with my giant bowl of popcorn and that the popcorn could probably do with a little more melted butter. Both were often true.
Some days, I would pick it up and give it a little shake. Confirming that there was clearly something there, ever present, justifying its continued fridge residency.
On most days, I would try to ignore it. I stacked yogurt cups or leftovers on top of it. Sometimes things would fall behind it. Some were recovered quickly, others were discovered only just today.
I started to wonder if I would ever reclaim my fridge from it. What if I had a never ending box of red wine. What if little elves were coming in at night refilling it while I slept. Should I open up my home so that other people could bear witness to this marvel? Pilgrims carrying their own little plastic cups, queuing before my fridge for their share of the infinite?
But it did have an end and I have reached it. I have liberated myself from this box of wine by drinking it. It is, if not a miracle of infinite abundance, still a miracle of finite abundance and modern retail, no. To have so much at my disposal at such apparent minimal cost and effort is remarkable.
There is only the need to earn, acquire, and consume. Often the earning is considered the challenge. But in some cases consuming, beyond the initial instant gratification and thrill of possession can present its own challenges.
But now I can turn my attention to the question of what else I could be besides a box wine owner and drinker.