Sometimes in life you have to do things that you are uncomfortable with. Since starting to work at the university the wife has always wanted to attend the annual wine festival hosted by the university’s foundation. This is a big week long celebration in which all the activities center around wine and food. The university brings in several big name chefs for seminars on wine and food. Then on the last two days they set up a huge tent, bring in wineries, caterers, and a host of other wine-related items for a big two-day blow out wine tasting party. The cost for each night’s tasting is $85 a person—a little out of my league. Ever since she learned about this event she has wanted to go. So . . . when the dean of the College of Education (which my department falls under) offered free tickets to attend one of the nights, I took a chance and asked for two tickets. Lo and behold, I got two tickets. Last night we attend the wine festival in all of its glory.
Talk about a person out of his element . . . I felt lost and overwhelmed at the festival. I felt way out of place. First of all, I am not a wine person. I am no connoisseur of wine, fine or not. My experience of wine is drinking whatever it is that is offered to me by the wife before we eat a meal. But, I do know one thing about wine—at least for me—and that is that it must have a cork and not a screw on cap. Otherwise, wine is wine. The festival was a haven for those who love wine, like to drink it, like to talk about it, and like to run around swirling their wine glasses and sniffing the contents. It was a far cry from my familiar stomping grounds of beer festivals.
Second of all, it was crowded. Being an introvert among a huge crowd of people I did not know, I was overwhelmed with people. There were people everywhere . . . people drinking wine . . . people eating food . . . people talking . . . people squeezing around people-made traffic jams . . . all under a great big tent. And, it looked like they were all enjoying themselves! Just made me uneasy being among all those people. I felt like I was in WalMart . . . just a classier crowd than your typical WalMart. Everyone seemed to stop right in the middle of the aisles talking and blocking the path for everyone. Everyone crowded in front of others even though it was plain to see that there were lines of people waiting their turn. Yep, just like Wally World only classier and with wine.
Third of all, it was hard to hear. With all of those people yakking away I had a hard time hearing anything that was being said to me. Now, I cannot blame it all on the people or the wine. Years ago I worked building grain bins—I was the guy on the inside with the impact wrench. It was a very loud and noisy job and way before OSHA required hearing protection. Long story short—I pretty much sacrificed part of my hearing to that job years ago and it is difficult for me to hear in large crowds. Basically I spent the evening nodding my head up and down. I have no idea what was being said. I probably ended up agreeing to something that I will regret later. But, hey! There was probably nothing important being said as the whole evening centered around wine.
My experience at the wine festival has proven—once and for all—that I am not a wine snob. I am not some sophisticated, well educated, well dressed and groomed individual who basks in the glory of fine wines . . . or even has delusions of doing that. Nope, it is just not my element. I am a beer snob through and through. I don’t need a fancy glass to drink my beer as I can do that straight out of the bottle—which is something that wine snobs frown upon. Wine is fine, but beer is my comfort zone.
And so, I fulfilled my husbandly duty and took the wife to the big wine festival. She had a wonderful time as she got to sample some mighty fine and expensive wines that we would have never been able to afford. I survived . . . I survived because it was a wine festival. They served wine. The wine eventually took the whine out of me. It was an educational experience and one everyone should experience at least once in his or her lifetime. I am not sure if I will ever do the wine festival again—even with free tickets, but if the university’s foundation ever decides to host a beer fest . . . count me in! At least I won’t feel out of place! Ah, the things we do for love!