Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Expiration dates cause fear. Irrational: likely. Why: because of our inner self-insecurities. I need to be validated by external sources, and I doubt that I am uncommon in this regard. After watching a sober and yet compelling movie I felt the need for a drink, but nothing too strong. I thirst for beer in times of socialites, or scotch if I am doing something slightly more cerebral. Occasionally wine also fills this need, but it too comes with requirements. Gin and tonic was what struck this night: something with introspection and smoothness, and a hint of sweetness. Not harsh or muddling to the head, just sweet and smooth, with a slow numbness that precipitates from the tongue to the fingertips.
Upon opening the fridge door I spot a bottle of unopened tonic water. I feel satisfied in knowing that I have the ingredients still in place after a lengthy period of being afar. However with grasping the bottle I think back to when last I purchased it. I hesitate at the etched numbers on the side of the plastic tube: 20/10/08. The perforated plastic cap is still intact. A slight fiz is apparent upon moving the bottle. Is it still good though two months have since lapsed?My wife shakes her head and says yes it is good. She feels that these dates only pertain to natural perishable goods; the likes of eggs, meats, and such. I trust her but thoughts of doubt percolate from my gut, an ominous omen of previous poor decisions of my own creation.
I pour the gin into a large tumbler. Two, three or four fingers worth? I’m not counting. The tonic follows, close to doubling the concoction’s volume. Finally the lime juice, which is also expired and should mean that the two will cancel each other out, perhaps. A stir of the finger and a final mixing in the mouth before easing into my body’s cavities.
When did we, or I, become so insecure? The dates on supposedly perishable goods is not a thing of antiquity but rather a recent invention. I have heard, though not clear where from, that this is a ploy by companies to make you buy their products more often. For if an item has a date stamped in authority then the buyer will submit to such evidence of defunctness. Correct? Or are the stamped dates there for our protection? To make our lives easier and to save room on our calendars from making small penciled notes about when a certain carton of milk will go bad? Our parents and grandparents never needed such dates, and I am quite certain they never spent much time fussing about when something was to go bad. Instead they tasted, smelled, poked, prodded, fingered, licked, eyeballed, and fed it to the neighbor’s cat to see if it survived. So how did we, the society of 2008 –soon to be 2009- come to lack these so mundane of skills and instead become insecure and all trusting in an odd and somewhat mysterious date that is stamped to all of our foods? What happened?
At least if we poor more gin into our drinks it should kill all the bacteria that had been fermenting inside our spoiled tonic.
Or at the very least make us numb to our growing insecurities.