Meeting the Green Fairy

I went into it completely open to any new experience that might visit itself upon me. It was late, and I went around the living room lighting candles and switching off the electric lights. I put the Chopin nocturne on the stereo and went to the little bar area that sits between the dining room and the kitchen...

It had taken me a while to figure out some things. I don't have an absinthe glass, so I used a crystal martini glass (I'd looked around on the web enough to know that the spirit needs a conical shape in order to release its herbal fragrances), and in lieu of an absinthe spoon, I used a fork, one from my grandmother's silver.

I opened the bottle like one might open Pandora's box. What rested within this sleek, black bottle, just waiting to  unleash itself upon me? I wasn't quite sure how to pour the ice water over the sugar cube that sat on the fork (that lived the house that Jack built...). How do you regulate drops of water? I'd chilled the water in a martini mixer, and getting it to come out slowly was a trick. I did it though, and the green liquid swirled in the glass, turning a milky white. Immediately, the scent of anise filled the area, and I was reminded of Nyquil. To shake that association, I thought of how my dad and I used to sit up late on Saturday nights watching Chiller on TV and eating strong, black licorice.

I took my glass into the living room and sat down. By this time the nocturne was over so I put on Jefferson Airplane's Coming Back to Me, from their Surrealistic Pillow LP. I held my glass aloft and, out loud, I thanked RW and wished Chopin a happy 200th birthday. Then I drank. I expected to hate it (I don't like booze), but it was love at first taste. "Oh, yeah," I thought. "This is going to go down easy." By the middle of the glass, I was feeling a slight exhilaration that I liked.

I really can't say how I passed the next few hours, not because I don't remember, but because I didn't DO anything. I sat, listened to music, drank, and thought about things. The biggest impression is that absinthe truly is lucid (I was sent the Lucid brand). My thinking was clear, not fuzzy and, when I talked with Nettl for a few moments, she observed that I didn't slur. I have a slight speech impediment that only reveals itself when I'm nervous or drinking; one drink and I sound like I've had three or four. I listened to more music.

At one point I took a sip, concentrating on the fact that what I was actually tasting was history. "This is what Oscar Wilde, Franz Lizst, George Sand, and Vincent Van Gogh tasted." Sort of the same pondering thought I sometimes get looking at the full moon ("Shakespeare looked at this," etc.).

I wrote a little while, surprised that I could. As I said, my thoughts were clear. I quickly learned that I prefer absinthe with only the tiniest bit of sugar. I think I used one cube for three drinks.

I drank four glasses and finally went to bed sometime before dawn. This morning (noon, actually) I was tired, but there was no bad stomach or headache. I was ravenously hungry though, uncommon for me when I first wake up, and I was pretty thirsty.

So there you have it! I'm no longer an absinthe virgin. Will I drink it again? Hell, yeah! Next time, with friends.