Saturday, November 21, 2015
Why I Don't Drink White Wine
If you've ever read an entry in this blog or followed me on Facebook, you're surely aware I have some affinity for wine. Red wine, mind you. White wine has not set well with me since my college days. And since my previous entry was pretty gross, I think I'll stick to that theme here.
Fall 1977: I was a freshman at college, and a very fresh freshman at that. It was only a few days into the school year, and I had just joined the college newspaper staff. The professor who sponsored the paper decided to open the year with a nice wine and cheese party at his apartment.
I'm sure you can guess where this one's going.
Prior to the party, the sports editor for the paper and I went to the student cinema to see the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was the first time I had seen it — in fact, it was one of the earliest movies of its ilk that I experienced, and I have to admit, on that first viewing, Texas Chainsaw Massacre disturbed me a bit. It was quite the send-off to a hoity-toity wine party, I can tell you.
As I mentioned, I was a freshman.
I didn't drink much at all in those days, and when I did, it was usually beer. No one had informed me that, at a rather classy little soirée, one should not get into a race with the sports editor to see who could chug the most wine the fastest. For a little while, at least, I was convinced Sauvignon Blanc was nectar of the gods. I was a feeling great, and there was a lovely young woman who appeared to be taking interest in me. College life was going to be awesome! For some time, I sat comfortably at the dining room table with the young lady pressed close to me, the wine flowing, the almost-adult world looking finer than I might have anticipated.
Next thing I knew, a fellow named Gary was shaking me, telling me it was time to leave. I looked up, and the young lady was gone. In fact, most everyone was gone. Really? Seriously? Dismayed, I started to stand up, and as I did, I felt something moving about in the inner regions that really ought not move about. Yeah... up it came. All that wine, flooding the professor's dining room table, and sending people scurrying in panic. My buddy took me by the arm and dragged me out to the balcony, where I leaned over the railing and urped onto the downstairs neighbor's terrace for quite some time. When I finally managed to take a breather, I drew my car keys from my pocket, handed them to Gary, and said, "You drive."
I have vague recollections of arriving back at my dorm, though I don't remember Gary recruiting another helper, which he apparently did, because when I hit the bed, I realized it had taken two people to drag me from the car to my room. Gary put some aspirin on my nightstand and said, "Take those now. You're not going to want to wait till morning."
Sound advice, I discovered in later days, but on this night, I was too far gone to get those pills down. I was out like a light and didn't stir again until sometime late the next morning. Upon sitting up, I swore then and there I would never, ever, ever drink again, and I realized that, just then, my life depended on getting some fluid into my dehydrated young body. I guzzled a bunch of water, but every move, every breath, every sound was a vivid sample of hell on Earth. Despite this agony, which was unlike any I had ever experienced, I was starving. I made my way to the cafeteria, a quarter mile across campus, every footstep sending blazing steel daggers into my brain, only to find that breakfast had just ended. No food for me! The cafeteria lady took one look at me and said I could have some orange juice.
Have you ever drank orange juice after a prolonged, violent urp?
If I'd had any voice left, I would have screamed. As it was, all that came out was a hiss and a ragged moan, and I staggered back to my dorm, sans orange juice, swearing again that my drinking days were done forever.
Much to my surprise, the professor whose table I had surely destroyed never mentioned the incident to me or in any way indicated that he considered me a damned young fool. Now, I don't know whether this is true because it's only hearsay, but I was later told that, during the fateful urp episode, he had already gone and passed out in his bedroom. He didn't know the culprit was I, and no one snitched. I sort of have my doubts, but, then again, that night was far from the last time I saw the good professor in his cups.
Since then, my fondness for wine has been limited to dry reds. Now, I had plenty of bad drinking experiences in my college days (though I did uphold my temperance pledge for three whole days, when I might have overdone it a bit with Miller High Life), but this being the first and most extreme example, I guess it had the most notable impact on me. Live and learn, you know? I certainly came to understand that white wine was not my drink of choice. I'll drink a little every now and then, mostly at wine tastings, and though I no longer have flareups of physical revulsion, as I did for many years afterward, the stuff just doesn't do it for me. So if you see me drinking red wine with fish, or some other vittles for which white wine should be the preferred accompaniment, It's not simply because my habits are gauche.
I don't drink Miller High Life anymore either — not due to any lingering aftereffects but because it's an affront to decent beer.