(I wrote this yesterday, FYI)
I’m going to tell a story-within-a-story in pictures. Vegans, take note: it’s not a happy story. People who loved my old hair style: ditto. (But please know that the picture of it below doesn’t showcase its awesomeness fully. For one thing, it looks best when it’s not behind my ears. For another, it usually doesn’t look so…Egyptian!)
So I went to the new New Paltz Farmer’s Market outside Robin’s.
The problem with being an aesthete, a perfectionist and a giant, giant snob (in my head I pronounce it the French way: “snoob.”) is that the deeper you get into how amazing things could be, the worse you realize things are. I don’t want to stereotype, but 95% of all the gay men I’ve ever met understand this deep in their bones (Carmen who used to live in Teaneck NJ, you are the exception that proves the rule.), which is why decent awesome straight women tend to immediately like decent gayboys.
This is neither here nor there.
My pal Billiam was there along with Anne and her husband Dave (not pictured) and it was all Billiam-style: prettiness and flowery and just gorgeous.
I just wrote a long post about how annoying this day has been (a truffle scammer, annoying emails, a weird flirty dude, all starts and no stops with nothing to show for doing chores all day—the standard stuff), but you know what? I’m not even going to post it. It was a bundle of curse words and negative energy, and there is just no reason. Instead, let’s talk about tonight. It is 5:30 PM. In the next 2 hours, I am planning on doing one of those magical TV-style stopping time things so I can mow the lawn, change my clothes, answer 30 emails, pay a stack of bills, make my shopping list for the weekend farmers markets and about 100 other things, then I am going to take the night off and go to dinner with a pal, then a girls’-night-out sort of a thing.
And Billiam brought two of his goats, newborns just five weeks old: Salt and Pepper. As I was petting them and inviting them to my place to eat all my poison ivy (goats like poison ivy!) Billiam tentatively sidled up to me. “So….um…I’m a real farmer now…the goats just keep having babies, you know, and…” “AND WHAT? And you’re going to spay and neuter them, RIGHT?????” “Well, um, actually….Iwasgoingtoeatthem HEY! Your hair looks SO GORGEOUS! Did you get a hair cut?”
I’m excited to see my awesome ladyfriends at the bar tonight. It’s not my typical scene, but it’s so nice once in a while. I’d love to seriously drink, too. It feels like a night I should drink just the tiniest bit more than I should, which for me means one Manhattan. Instead and because I have to drive home, I will drink one granny smith hard apple cider when we first sit down then will sip water for the next two hours like the lightweight that I am.
And anyway, I can’t get the sort of Manhattan I want at any bar in New Paltz. I don’t blame the bars in New Paltz: except for a handful of ultra fancy places in big cities, no one really cares about quality drinks. So bars can’t afford to literally pour money down the drain on people who don’t care about or know the difference (of course, all this applies to food too). What do I mean by a quality drink?
“You know how I keep my hair so healthy, Billiam?” “Um…you don’t eat your pets?” “YES. How did you know? Oh Billiam! Salt and Pepper! Really.” And we kidded (with the kids) and I tried not to be sad or to be that annoying vegan everyone hates, but what can I do? Billiam clearly feels how he feels, and he clearly feels what I feel too. And we’ll still be friends, and he’s not running a factory farm or anything, and blah blah.
Let me write a dream sequence inspired by an actual dream I had a few nights to explain:
I walk into a bar. (It is exactly the bar in the season two finale of Mad Men.) I order a Perfect Manhattan.
The bartender is sweet yet serious and about my age. He pulls an old-fashioned glass from a shelf behind him.
“Oh man,” I say, “I’m so happy you’re using a rocks glass. Most of the time people make Manhattans in martini glasses, and I can’t stand martini glasses.”
A lot of the farmers I buy produce from kill and eat their animals, though I of course give preferential treatment to the veganic ones. I survive. We mostly don’t talk about it.
“Well, I really believe most drinks are better in old-fashioned glasses,” he says, all businesslike and proud. He pulls out a big, clear, crispy block of ice from a lowboy freezer and begins to crush some to put into a shaker.
“You make your own ice, too? That’s really wonderful.”
“We got rid of the ice machine about a year ago. Most commercial ice is just too soft, as well as cloudy.”
I just beam at him. He measures Tuthilltown Manhattan Rye Whiskey into the shaker and adds a practiced amount of both sweet and dry vermouths (thus making a Perfect Manhattan). He gives the mixture a few stirs (not shakes!) and pours everything but the ice into the glass. He skates just a bit of Fee Brothers old-fashioned bitters and a twist of orange peel over the top.
But a vegetarian always feels that disconnect with their meat-eating friends, don’t they? I mostly pretend not to think about it, but it often drives my mother crazy. She will go out to eat with a new friend or something and report back: “Isn’t it weird? You think you like someone…but then you see them eating a chicken piece or something, and you just think—why am I friends with them? How can this be happening?”
“Oh! I have those same bitters! My sweetheart bought me a set for my birthday, they are so tasty.”
“They really are. We use artisanal products from small companies whenever we can. And,” he says as he carefully unscrews a jar of brilliantly red cherries, ” we make our own brandied cherries from local fresh fruit in season. These have pits, though, so be careful. Not pitting the cherries means that—“
“That the flavor doesn’t all leak out into the jar!”
“Yep. Here you go, enjoy.”
And I so do.