The other shoe

Maybe you're the type of person who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Such standing convictions take a certain degree of pessimism, I'd say. And, as sunny a disposition as I have, I must confess I've succumbed to that line of thinking several times in recent memory.

I don't know why I felt uneasy all last week. Maybe it's the fact that I went half the week without wine. That could be it. Sometimes I let my neuroses get the better of me. Sometimes I get so excited and happy about life that I fear the rug will be pulled out from under me as I yell, "No, no, but everything was going so well! I don't need to win the lottery! I don't even need that cookbook I've been eyeing..." and so it goes.

The other shoe certainly dropped on Saturday as I found myself standing in the middle of a streetcar somewhere around Dundas and Spadina, cursing the driver and the zombie walk and the Gardiner closing and everything else that was making me very late for work, and, spontaneously, hopped out into the pouring rain with two strangers, running for blocks until I found a cab to hail to get me to my gig and the others to their destination. As I ran as fast as my legs would go into the building, I thought -- well, hello other shoe! There you are! What GREAT timing you have! I was breathless and panicked and fifteen minutes late, but all turned out fine. I even managed to redeem myself (though only after I accidentally poured hot coffee down the back of a woman's chair/designer dress and had to fanagle her a new chair. Alas. Other shoe, I say!) But the point is, sometimes stuff happens. You do what you have to do. And then you eat dog food for dinner -- almost literally, since we were fed hamburger patties topped with a watery jus, undercooked onions and overcooked mushrooms, and some sweet scalloped potato thing I didn't dare go near. I thought of skipping dinner. It was ten in the evening, I wasn't hungry, and the guests got plump garlic shrimp served with Hollandaise sauce, apparently for the sole purpose of taunting me. But seemingly out of nowhere, I had thoughts of my mother yelling at me for not eating enough. I heaved a sigh and tucked in. Well, as much as one can tuck into a hamburger trying to pass itself off as Salisbury steak. Some things, like a fake Chanel bag, just don't make sense.

Eventually someone will meet you on Bloor and you will surprise them. You'll walk down to Bar Mercurio, have the door opened for you, and face a large man with a white apron who shuffles two bar stools together and gestures for you to sit. A bartender with crazy blonde hair holds out her hand and introduces herself, and you smile back. Suddenly you are sipping on an Espressotini, some kind of Toronto-Italian hybrid of a cocktail that tastes like liquid gold and might as well be. Dean Martin croons from the radio as you wiggle your toes inside your Birkenstock clogs and adjust your glasses. That's the thing. Eventually all fantasies give way to reality. Screw it, you think. Take me as I am and all of that business. If the other shoe's going to drop again and muck up my good fortune, so be it.

Espressotini (or as close as I can get to the recipe without begging)
From Endless Coffee Break

Yields 1 high-voltage martini

2oz espresso (room temperature)
2.5oz vanilla vodka
1oz Godiva Cappuccino Liqueur or Kahlua

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans, if desired. 


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