This Fourth of July, instead of dealing with the fireworks down the street, the husband and I ran away from our perfect-spot-to-view-the-fireworks neighborhood and went to a movie (especially easy given that Kids #1- #3 had been deposited in the Ohio homeland.) We wound up at the Angelika Theatre, (possibly the MOST expensive movie ticket in the city – which means the most expensive IN THE WORLD!) We were there to see Begin Again, a “love letter to New York” sort of movie musical from the director of the utterly charming (yes, the use of the word “utterly” is totally necessary in this context) musical/movie Once.
I definitely recommend it – but don’t go in expecting your life to be changed. Go in with low hopes, expecting something just slightly more entertaining than a neighborhood overrun by fireworks gawkers. But be open to a sweet reminder of when you were young and free and willing to let a single song change your mood, your evening, and maybe…just maybe… your entire life.
Yes, that sounds a little bit sappy. And maybe it’s just me, but I remember those songs. I remember what they sound like – what they felt like.
And I remember what I was drinking when I heard them.
It was before I worked in a wine shop. Before my glamorous days in the “New York wine industry,” when I was still in college, the only one of my friends taking the wine tasting class at school. Because of my assumed “expertise”, I was the one handed the wine list at the restaurant whenever a parent was in town to take all the housemates out to eat. There was money to be spent. Multiple courses to be consumed. Free booze to be drunk in an oh-so grown-up way. Oh, the pressure! What to order that everyone would like? That wasn’t too expensive. That would make me look adult and sophisticated and in-the-know enough to justify the thick list in my hands. (OK, we were in Ithaca.. the lists weren’t that expensive, but still.)
The choice then wasn’t all that difficult: riesling and gamay. Grapes that would make a visiting parent’s wallets happy. That would charm the palates of a table full of friends just discovering the beauty of wine. That had the added benefit of also being what I actually wanted to drink (and still want to drink.)
This was long, long, long before Instagram and Facebook and the relentless pursuit of the latest, greatest, coolest of cool-kid wines. This was before wine was my job – it wasn’t something to stay on top of, a trend to stay ahead of. It was something to drink, to make the night a little better, the stars shine a little brighter. It was something that just made people happy. It hasn’t changed all that much. I still find myself craving riesling and gamay. Fresh wines. Happy wines. Wines that speak of some place and someone and the time they were grown and raised and bottled.
And like the songs in the movie reminded me, a certain bottle on a certain night, like just the right song, could make the soul sing. But it’s not really about the bottle, or the tune, or the lyrics. It’s about who’s at the table, holding the glass, making the music, making the toast. It was simple then. But really, it’s still simple now.
Keep it easy. Keep it simple. Drink something real tonight and keep the camera in your bag. You don’t need photographic proof. You’ll remember. If it’s worth it, you’ll remember.