Friday, December 5, 2008

Over a Bottle of Wine

I was in a fairly good mood last night so after closing down the office and finishing some paperwork (that I so absolutely hate), I went to the mall and treated myself to a nice dinner. Because of the Christmas rush, my natural aversion for crowds was immediately triggered so I decided to finish my little date with myself in the comforts and solitude of my own apartment. I figured a bottle of wine would be perfect to cap the day so I went to the supermarket and got myself a bottle of 2006 Shiraz.

When I arrived home, I proceeded to get busy with my bottle. Corkscrew in hand, I paid close attention to my Shiraz. Excitement building, I ripped off the plastic seal and suddenly… Uh-oh… I had this awfully horrifying realization that after 7 years of medical school and 4 years of residency training, I do not know how to open a bottle of wine!

I found this to be such a disgraceful and appalling thought. I have quite prided myself with the fact that I probably have acquired more alcohol dehydrogenase in my liver than usual females my age. I can drink beer like water. I have mastered the art of opening a beer bottle using a spoon. My dad has taught me how to open a bottle using another bottle (but I never learned it, and no, I will never open one with my teeth!). I have joined rowdy old men over shots of Tanduay, Ginebra, Emperador, Gran Matador, lambanog, tuba, whatever spirit is around.

But I can’t open a bottle of wine! Well, my taste for alcohol is probably a valid excuse. I’ve always been a beer drinker and all the rest that I really ever drank was simple: turn the cap, pour, gulp, and burp. I enjoy wine, but it has always been served in a wineglass, ready for the taking. That I can’t open a bottle of wine, it’s a humbling idea.

I took my corkscrew, turned it around the cork, and pulled and pulled. The cork didn’t even budge. Is there a right way of pulling, of turning, of holding the bottle? I did it all over again: turn, pull, push. My fingers were already warm and red. The cork budged a little, about half an inch. I turned the corkscrew around again and again, and pulled and pulled while pushing the bottle down. I even intensely analyzed the mechanisms and the dynamics of a cork and a corkscrew. I twisted and turned, pulled and pulled until I was flushed and sweating. My right hand finally gave up.

The bottle of wine remained unopened.

I brought up the white flag and laid the bottle down. I went outside to the nearby store to get a couple of good old reliable beers. I stared at the beer bottles with their crowns that I can easily jerk open with a spoon. I looked at the beer cans with their easy flip-pull-and-open lids. Hmmm, too easy for me.

I changed my mind about the beer and went home. I laid down on my bed, tired. Then my eyes strayed over to the still unopened bottle of wine on my bureau, corkscrew still stuck in the cork, cork already mangled but still very much stuck in the bottle. The full, unopened bottle of 2006 Shiraz stared back at me in all its vain and obstinate glory.

I smiled at the bottle. “You got me this time kid.”

I went to the kitchen to get myself a cup of tea.

If anyone can show me how to open a bottle of wine, please do share this bottle with me. A bottle of wine this hardy is too grand to enjoy on my own.

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