Wednesday, September 28, 2011

make that absinthe please

I was taken to Beekman Bar and Books last night by a very congenial, continental and erudite gentleman - he's even read Russell's Principia Mathematica - how many people can make that claim? - and I lost my absinthe virginity, finally.

So what is absinthe like? It's very... anise-y. Like Italian Christmas cookies. I liked it, even though I'm not fond of anise as a flavor. My date had Scotch, and he insisted I try a sip. I did not tell him what I really thought of the taste - that it reminded me of paint thinner. No, I just do not get Scotch. I bought my ex-boyfriend a 30-year-old bottle of Glen Morangie scotch for Christmas seven years ago, and that reminded me of turpentine.

Give me a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc instead, any day.

I don't remember why I became so fascinated by absinthe, now, but I put a reference to absinthe in my adaptation of "Jane Eyre" although it's mentioned nowhere in the original. That's very unusual for me - I rarely take liberties with my classic literature adaptations unless absolutely necessary. Perhaps I was inspired by Rochester's often referring to Jane as a fairy, and absinthe is known as "le fee vert" - the green fairy.

Beekman Bar and Books is right near the United Nations, so I got to have a walk down memory lane... or Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to be precise. I haven't been there since my ex-husband and I hitch-hiked to New York so we could participate in a No-Nukes rally in Central Park. After that we joined up with a hard-core No-Nukes faction to do a sit-in at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and we all got arrested for civil disobedience. Good times.

I'm not sure why DHP was selected as a good location for a sit-in. It isn't even within viewing distance of the UN, although the neighborhood is full of various national consulates and the like. When they arrested us they put us all on buses parked by DHP and made us wait a couple of hours while they processed us.

I was pregnant at the time and after we were released on our on recognizances I desperately had to use the bathroom but was turned away by the nearby bar - nothing as fancy as Beekman B&B, but the proprietor was apparently too genteel to permit a the scruffy likes of us to use the facilities - so genteel that she claimed they didn't have a bathroom and when we enquired what she and her patrons did when nature called replied "we drink our piss!" Welcome to New York.

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza sure looks different when it isn't full of hippies though...