Stories from the Field: Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival.

Let it be known that until Friday night, Yvonne was a virgin. A tequila virgin, that is.

Yvonne grew up hearing stories of house parties where civilised shenanigans evolved into tequila shooting events. Soon after, kitchen sinks, toilets, plant pots would be sought out as the body ejected, sometimes from both ends, a toxin that people thought was fun to drink. Why on earth would Yvonne willingly subject herself to such stupidity, wishing for death whilst peering at a place not designed for a human face, when life was already full of stupidity?

Case in point.

Yvonne believed that the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival was about wine & food. Not so. There was rum, olive oil, scotch, gin, and (as you may have guessed) tequila. There was also something else too.

It had been casual Friday at the University. Yvonne relished Fridays not only because it was the last day of the week, but because it was the one day at work in which she could truly move around in comfort. Hence, she arrived to the wine & food fest in jeans and T-shirt. The festival was formatted much like any other trade fair type event: many booths set out on a concrete floor in one of the big buildings at the Stampede grounds. About half way through their fair route, Yvonne began to notice a high frequency of women not dressed in jeans and T-shirts. Quite the opposite. Platform stilletos, fake & bake tans, platinum hair freshly sprung from curlers, layers of cosmetics, and skirts not meant for winter wearing were common.

“Do people come right from downtown?” Yvonne asked her companion. “I’m feeling a tad under-dressed.”

“No,” her friend, Joy, said. “This isn’t a work crowd.”

Some would argue that one of the more delightful qualities of Yvonne’s personality is her ability to embody extremes. She can go from marveling at how decomposition can consume a corpse to singing and dancing on stage in front of an audience of 200. And while she can often see the whole, cold, hard, big picture of life — even understand and sometimes accept it — she can be naive and blissfully ignorant about what’s going on right in front of her.

“This is a meat market??” Yvonne gaped.

“By the end of the night, everyone is drunk and hanging off each other.”

Her eyes opened, Yvonne looked around again. She and Joy were a minority, two of only a few of either sex not dressed to kill. “And men, they like….” Yvonne nodded toward the nearest droopy shouldered, fake-boobed, teetering and dyed, perfumed-infused female, “….this?”

“I don’t know. Maybe some do.”

Yvonne pulled her jacket closed and felt herself shrink. She wanted to leave. Now.

But then she thought, “Screw this. I’m here for the wine. I want wine!” So she squared her shoulders, straightened her back, and dared any prissy faked bitch in heels to make her feel insecure. Hell, she’d even take on the prissy, pressed, and fake & baked men too.

She had this attitude in mind when they approached the tequila table. “I love tequila,” Joy said. Then she turned to the proprietor, “Which do you recommend?” The man pointed. “I’ll take it.”

Yvonne, wary but determined, said, “Okay. I’ll try anything once.”

What Joy tasted and what Yvonne tasted were two entirely different things. If there was flavour in tequila, Yvonne didn’t taste it. And the alcohol went straight to her head. She was reminded of a story her dad recently told her about when he and his buddy were offered Newfoundland screech back in the day. “Tasted like wood alcohol,” he’d said. Yup. That was pretty much it, not like she’d ever tasted wood alcohol. Not only would Yvonne never let tequila pass her lips again, but her night was essentially finished. “I’m hooped,” she confessed within ten minutes of the tequila. “Gone. Completely toasted.” So much for sampling as much wine as she could.

She did manage to finish the event — walking the last two and a half rows, trying some Belizian rum, and then seeking out some chocolate — but had to put some serious reins on her addled brain. “I need to get to some place safe and solitary before I make a fool of myself.” They were heading for the chocolate. Not ten minutes later, Yvonne was breaking out into a happy dance. In public. And it wasn’t because of the chocolate.

Lesson learned. Yvonne’s venture into tequila-land cost her only 4 tickets (equivalent of $2) and a brief spurt of panic-inducing public happy dancing. Good thing too. There weren’t any potted plants at the event.

Did Yvonne learn anything about wine at the event? (Maybe…) Did she remember anything that she’d learned about wine? (Nope.) Would she ever understand why women go through such lengths to make themselves look so horrible, especially when it looked so damn uncomfortable? (Probably not.)

Stay tuned!

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