As an adult, his gregarious nature secured Nick good paying jobs, as well as a reasonable parade of female partners, which included a first and then a second wife: talk can get you only so far when things aren’t going perfectly at home!
His nature continued to do him good when he was in a position to disarm various alcohol control bureaucrats, but it hadn’t held up well in the tasting room. Just short of two months behind the bar he began to feel that he had enough of tourists. He quickly grew tired of the dump bucket jokes, wondering with each new version whether or not the fool on the other side of the bar can even imagine that his is not a unique attempt at dump bucket humor.
Nick was fast losing patience with tourists who announced their dry palates and then proceeded to pucker at dry wines and swoon over the ones that he personally felt were cloying and insipid. And he definitely felt as if he was running out of retorts against the wine geeks whose aim was to impress with their knowledge of the world of wine rather than to taste and potentially discover something new.
For the first few weeks, he managed light ironic responses, humorous quips, even long yet funny dissertations. But the overall redundancy of the situations and his responses bored and even angered him. He probably would have felt better had the first two months been promising or slightly profitable, but as it stood, he was putting up with the riff-raff while holding onto a dream. Two months remained before that dream would go into high gear as harvest would begin--could he last?
On one particularly annoying afternoon numerous tourists that came and went made him want to scream, which he did at one point after the room had cleared of visitors. About mid day he was alone at the bar and daydreaming of the moment when he could hire someone to work the tasting bar in his place and soon enough a couple came into the tasting room that right away made Nick feel that this visit was going to be a breath of fresh air. He couldn’t pin down why he had felt that way—he just did.
The two looked around a bit, discussed whether or not to try a tasting, and then sidled up to the bar with a twenty-dollar bill. Nick gave them their change of eighteen dollars and proceeded to pour the first of five wines in each glass. Within minutes, the three were engaged in a substantive discussion about the wines of the region and the wines that Nick poured. The man knew a great deal about wines of the world but confessed to being ignorant about the Finger Lakes, which was why they were on the tour. The woman had a good palate—she picked up many subtle things about the wines and that made Nick jump for joy.
After about an hour of tasting and talking, the two walked around the room selecting bottles of wine to buy. Their selection totaled eighty-five dollars. They handed Nick five twenties. When he gave them back their change, the man pointed out that he had given them too much change, but Nick assured them that he hadn’t because his policy was to return the tasting fee when someone purchased wine. They thanked him, even shook his hand, and then they ostensibly moved onto touring the rest of the region.
The episode was so inspiring that it got Nick through the rest of the day without angst.
Each morning, on his way to open the tasting room, Nick stopped at the bank to make a deposit and to get the breakdown of paper money and coins that he needed to seed the register. On the morning after what had become a pleasant afternoon the day before, Nick stopped at the bank as usual. But the transaction wasn’t so usual.
When the teller handed back six twenty-dollar bills Nick looked at him, confused.
“Phonies,” the man said.
If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.
Copyright Thomas Pellechia
May 2010. All rights reserved.
May 2010. All rights reserved.