"I just find it ironic," I said. "Your ribs reminded me of the furrows on a ploughed cotton field, before its sowed. "Thats what brought your ancestors here, the white fluff of cotton Have I mentioned that Angela is a member of the beautiful, stout-colored race?
"Come back to earth," she said, angry that I had pointed out something imperfect in her appearance but totally unfazed by my reference to slavery. I would never have said that in front of her brother, who was a militant.
Angela kissed the air, watching her reflection in the mirror, then turned to me, her skin not quite the opaque brown of a stout. Claiming white blood in her ancestry, her skin has that tantalizing ruby red tint of a Midlands mild; it virtually shines. Im in love with her,--she admires herself even more than I do--and continue to thank the string of events I call my life for having made me a brewer, and led me to this very enjoyable early morning menage a deux.
You know, it just occurred to me that with all my talk about Daily Doubles and hat tricks, you might think Im one of those aggressive, salesman-type guys who seduce women like theyre just another sales goal. Im not like that at all; Im just a normal guy whos lucky enough to be in a profession women love. Its not like I have anything against salesmen, either, Ive just never held much cotton to the strategy of playing on female weaknesses, turning self doubt to their advantage. Thats sales, and its always seemed too predatory to me, like a falcon taking bead on its prey and striking. Dont mistake me, the world needs people like that to keep the merchandise moving and its a given that some of their predatory behavior will spill over into the sexual arena. Falcons of fucking, I call those high pressure types. Fifteeen psi and not a pound per square inch less. I dont say this to their faces, of course; theyre usually powerfully built ex sports figures that have transferred everything they learned on the field to sales and seduction. One guy once told me--while drinking his light beer--that if you ask enough women to go to bed with you, youre eventually gonna meet one that says yes. No mention of the fifteen that hes offended. I find that kind of behavior barbaric and was thinking of saying so, but this guy had a set of biceps that could have crushed my head like a muslin bag of flower hops. Funny thing was that his girlfriend of the moment seemed more interested in sneaking out the brewhouse door with me; I suspect "The Falcon" spent too much time working the wrong muscles. But like I said, commerce must continue, and the worlds a more diverse place with a few doppelboks out there, leading the charge with that big horn between their legs.
One thing I do notice, however, is that sales people drink a lot of swill. Theres something about the monolithic thought patterns of the goal-driven that makes them the perfect target for the brewers of swill, the large brewing companies. Quantity is the issue, not quality.
Since Ive hooked up with Angela, Ive learned about a whole new world of quality.
Oh, I forgot to mention, as a guy who has all his basic needs met, I tend to philosophize a lot. They call me The Philosopher in the brewhouse. Hope you dont mind because Im in a philosophizing mood today, what with me laying naked between silk sheets and watching the beautiful African queen Nefertiti admire herself in my bedroom mirror. Im leading to something here, something that strikes me as a parallel between society and beer. Between small-mindedness and diversity. It came to me last night. And again this morning, while Angela was involved in her hour long makeup session--she uses cosmetics like I dry hop my IPA.
In order to develop my grand thesis, I need to tell you about the dinner I had, at Angelas home. Her household was simply amazing, holding a diversity of opinion that can match any large city in the world. Simply amazing.
Angelas from a well established family in the community, one of those Black families that had become an American success story. And while thats what probably made her available to me, I was initially reluctant to go. Its not that I put any false prestige in race or ethnicity; my old mans description of my birth as resembling a messy Bavarian breakfast--hefeweizen, pretzels and me, a bundle of wriggling white sausages whose first act had been to pee all over him took care of that. Its just that I try to avoid seeing people of any ethnicity give up their culture in the quest for success. It homogenizes us, makes us as uninteresting as a mainstream American lager. As much as I love Angela, she is a good example of this. Shes adopted the conservatism of success, bought into the American dream of I got mine as she says, and doesnt about much else. Shes a firm adherent to the belief that all you have to do is work hard and youll be successful.
If I sound a little dissatisfied, its probably because the other day the owner of the place where I brew told me to "make a red beer". Its not easy having to follow the orders of someone as beer disabled as this guy, so when he barges into the brewhouse and demands a non style, I get upset. I think you can understand. I mean, Im as enthusiastic as the next brewer about variety and the challenges that come with sampling differences, but with all the great beer styles in the world out there, he wants something red?
Im getting off track. Diversity is what I want to talk about, but it wasnt what I was expecting from Angelas family, given what I knew of her. To my surprise, they turned out to be as diverse as a row of tap handles in a quality micro pub. The head of the family, who they all call "Father" is a patriarchal Promise Keeper. Enough said about that, he made me feel as uneasy as a bundle of hops about to be thrown into the kettle. I held my breath and my tongue. The real surprise was Angelas older brother, who is a Muslim. Talking to him was more difficult than brewing a barley wine in an undersized mash tun; anything I said came out like an unwanted boilover. Rahim (his adopted name) reminded me of the days when I first tasted a new, different beer style. While I didnt understand much of what he was saying, I sensed that it was my own ignorance, and given time and interest I could learn the philosophy as well as I know the brilliant undertones of, say, a Trappist ale. Thats what it takes to appreciate diversity, by the way, a mind open enough to admit the possiblity of greatness in something youre not familiar with.
Angelas younger sister, Sheba, was another story. She had also chosen Islam, and came to dinner wrapped so heavily in robes that it would have taken a pilgrimage to reach her holy temple. Perhaps it was because she was still young, but her views were hard to take even for Rahim. It reminded me of one of those situations where you sit down to drink a fellow brewers beers that you really dont like. You keep sipping, hoping to come up with something good in the taste, each drink one more fold of cloth leading to a big No Entry stamped on the bottom of the glass. Fundamentally flawed, I call them, because the brewer doesnt know his craft well enough. But maybe Im being unfair, unlike me Sheba had more than sex on her mind.