Trying New Things, Or: Demonstrating My Vast Hatred Of Plants

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 12.06% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

The nice thing about getting older is that you get to keep trying new things, if you want.  I’m well known for my crazy Hawaiian shirt and my hats and my fabulous pretty pretty princess nails, but those are only things I’ve started doing in the last five years. If you’d known me when I was twenty, I’d be famous for dressing only in black (I Neil Gaimanned before Neil Gaiman) and carrying a chair around with me everywhere I went.
So I figure, why not keep trying new things and seeing what fits?
One thing that’s been nice is Woodworking Wednesdays, a tradition I’m starting with Eric Meyer – on Wednesdays, Eric comes over and we attempt to build things with our limited knowledge.  We’re both in intellectual, conceptual professions – web programmers and writers – so making something concrete with our hands is satisfying.
We’re not good at this woodworking, Lord no.  Last night, we spent about an hour making test cuts with a router to try to figure out how the damn thing worked, then spent another ninety minutes endlessly measuring, clamping, and cutting to rout dado grooves for three shelves.  It’s a slow process where we debate approaches, experiment, and then wonder oh Christ, we fucked up this cut by a quarter of an inch, how do we fix that?
But that’s the interesting thing: woodworking skill is largely about fixing your errors. You can measure all you want, but wood is an organic material and tools (at least at the casual woodworking level we’re willing to spend at) are imperfect. The truly skilled woodworker isn’t the one who makes no mistakes, she’s the one who can adjust to the flow of inevitable problems.
And there’s something heartening about that, I think. You’re gonna fuck up no matter how you plan. It’s how you recover that matters.
Demonstrating my vast and enduring hatred of plants.
Demonstrating my vast and enduring hatred of plants.
Then I visited my sweetie Raven down in Kentucky, and, well, kinda fell in love with Kentucky. Or if not Kentucky, I fell in love with bourbon, because going on a bourbon tour will make you at least a little swoony for new beverages.
But her friends are heavily into bourbon and cigars, and I didn’t know much about cigars, so when SB and DK brought me to a fine cigar store, we bought a bunch of cigars to go with the scandalous amounts of bourbon we purchased:
Demonstrating my vast and enduring hatred of plants.
(Before you tell me this is not a scandalous amount of bourbon, this is about 80% of the bourbon we tried in Kentucky, and god damn, the Blanton’s is off the chain.)
Anyway, so we didn’t actually smoke cigars in Kentucky, because we were having so much fun sitting around a fire and talking, so we brought some home with us.  And I had, fortunately, bought a book on “How to smoke cigars” which was highly entertaining because it was referencing a recent hurricane that had destroyed Cuba’s cigar crops, and I realized that hurricane was in the mid-90s, and this book was twenty years old.
But the funny thing is this:
Gini can’t read manuals.
I thought it was roleplaying, where I’d eagerly devour the rulebook and Gini would go, “What do I roll?” and flail around in the mechanics of the game, but as it turns out, Gini basically has a mental block when it comes to reading manuals of any sort.  And so I enjoyed myself mightily in the tub reading all about how to smoke this damn cigar properly, the type of lighter you needed and how to light it properly (you don’t puff madly, you toast around the rim and let it burn), and how to smoke it (about one firm set of puffs every minute or so) and how most cigars turn foul about halfway down.
And so we went out in our garage and got out the bourbon and tried to smoke, and it was surprisingly enjoyable:
Demonstrating my vast and enduring hatred of plants.
Demonstrating my vast and enduring hatred of plants.
I thought I’d like the big dark cigar, but it turned out I liked the lighter Perdomo reserve taste. Gini, however, loved the big dark cigar in her mouth (and get your cheap jokes in now, folks). Cigar smoking is the sort of thing I can’t do too often, as my cardiologist will swing by and kill me, but it’s not as lung-damaging as you’d think – you’re not inhaling the smoke, just swirling it around in your mouth.
I don’t like the taste of cigarettes, but this was different – deeper, a little lusher, more satisfying. Also, because you’re just touching the surface, it’s not all in your throat, it’s just on the tongue and then you breathe it out; I find cigarettes pretty much invade my lungs, whereas this was a visitor in the parlor I could kick out whenever I pleased.
And it was relaxing. When you smoke a cigar, you really can’t do anything else – you just sit there, waiting calmly for the next puff, drinking in between.
Thing was, the cigar actually did turn, and holy God could we taste the difference – we got halfway down, and the smoke turned dragon-dung foul, and I’m so glad I read the manual, because otherwise I might have thought this was the cigar experience.
Again, another life’s lesson: you don’t have to smoke everything down to the stub. Even though you paid well for that stogie, it’s best to walk away when the experience sours.
I’m sufficiently a lightweight that I got a total cigar high – the rest of the evening, I was a little giddy. All the next day I was unable to taste things properly – there was a subtle slick on my tongue that neither mouthwash nor alcohol nor milk was able to remove – but then it went away and we were back to normal.
I could see us doing this once a week, when the weather is nice. It was surprisingly pleasant, sitting out with my wife and just shooting the breeze.
Plus, you know, I get to look like an old-fashioned mogul out on vacation with my ridiculous hat and shirt and now this silly cigar:
Demonstrating my vast and enduring hatred of plants.

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