Intellectualizing Wine…Just Do It!
My golf coach recently confirmed what I think I already knew: "Tom, you’ve got to get out of your head."
Translation: my proclivity to live in my head and to think too much interrupts my need to execute really well a body-driven activity on the golf course.
Thinking about my coach’s advice with regard to golfing, I realized that I’m going to have to work very hard to accommodate him, because I’ve always found much more pleasure in intellectualizing what I do than simply doing.
Wine and drinking is a perfect example. I can’t stand the idea of simply drinking a glass of wine and just letting it flow down my throat, letting the droplets fall where they may without thought. I NEED to think about what I’m doing.
Even today as I heard reports about the coming warm weather later this week and into the weekend, I immediately began thinking about drinking Pastis by the pool. But it’s not enough that I think about that pleasurable moment in the future, note that I’m looking forward to it and move on until I pour my Pernod on Saturday. No, Tom needs to think about the what this coming Pernod Moment means, what it reminds him of, what it says about the changing seasons, how best to enjoy that coming moment. And I’m not talking practical considerations. I need to think about what it means.
It’s a nasty affliction I have, this over thinking things, because it clearly prevents me from becoming a more accomplished Golfer. But I think it’s only a case of being a nasty affliction where physical activity is concerned, not where drinking is concerned.
If you don’t think about your wine (or drink) when you drink it, then it merely becomes and alcohol delivery vehicle. When you think about the drink, at least you have the opportunity to be a contemplative drunk, if not more.
But it’s really the traditions that have grown up around the production of wine and wine’s incorporation into local cultures that have made it the heady, intellectual libation it is today for many. Wine can be a cultural translation tool that happens to also make one wobbly. Any Culture, remember, is an entirely mental construct that starts with language, is grounded to territory and is at its best when translated for those who reside outside of it. All this happens in the mind. Wine is a near perfect translation tool.
It seems to me that to simply gulp the stuff is to negate the higher purpose that wine can serve. This notion might appeal to some as placing wine on a pedestal too high. I can see that view. But I can’t accept it. The fact that wine provides a marvelous springboard to contemplating people, places, dirt, history and taste makes it particularly worthy of being on a pedestal.
Now, my golf swing is another thing entirely. No pedestal for it. No explaining its often absurd lines either. Perhaps if I can learn to leave my head behind as I swing a club, it will create more room inside there for indulging in the pleasures of the mind where wine is concerned.