I participated in something called a “wine grab” at a charity thingamabobber a few months ago: I paid a set amount of money (ten dollars? twenty dollars? I can’t remember, but it all went to a good cause) and then chose a random number from a list. Then I matched my number to a “mystery bag” that contained a bottle of wine. It could have been a fifty dollar bottle, or it could have been a seven dollar bottle.
I ended up taking home a Merlot with a cool label, and even though it was more of the seven-dollar-bottle variety, I was excited: with this cheap bottle, I just knew that I would finally master the art of opening a bottle of wine.
No. Not even close.
Crimes against children and animals are probably the only thing that makes me angrier than trying to open a bottle of wine. I could not be a server in an establishment where I’m required to do this regularly.
Julie: Could I interest you in a glass of our Blah-de-blah Pinot Noir?
Guest: Actually, I think we’ll take a bottle of your Something-or-other Shiraz.
Julie gasps, her eyes widening in terror.
J: Oh… well… you’re sure you wouldn’t like to try some Mumble-mumble Sauvignon Blanc? It’s quite good, and… you know… it’s already open…. I just ask the bartender to, you know, put it in a glass for me and….I bring it to…you…
G: We’ll take the Shiraz and three glasses.
J: Oh god.
Twenty minutes later…
J: Well, here are your entrees!
G: And our wine?
J: Oh? I’m sorry?
G: We ordered a bottle of the Shiraz. Quite awhile ago.
J: Oh, that? Ha-ha! Thought you were, you know, not serious. Like when you saw me break into a cold sweat when you ordered it, I thought you might, you know, change your mind. That shit’s terrible, by the way. The wine, I mean. Wouldn’t touch that crap with a ten-foot pole. Or a six-foot Lithuanian! Ba-dum-ching!
The table stares blankly at Julie.
J: Not in the mood for jokes, huh? Well let’s just get y’all some fucking wine then, huh? Huh? … For real, though? The entire bottle?
Julie returns to the table, her face pale, sweat dripping from her forehead. She sets down the glasses on the table.
J: Well, here are your glasses. Last chance to, you know, get something better. Might I sugges–
G: Just open the wine. Please.
J: Ha-ha! Sure thing! On the double! Right away! See? I’m doing it right now! I’m going to let you look at the bottle here. You’re sure this is what you want? Read the label carefully. I can get your a flashlight if you need it. Or glasses? Want me to find you some reading glasses?
G: Just. Open. The. Wine.
J: Okay! Here I go! Opening it right up for ya! First I’m gonna take this pointy end and slice this seal – One fluid motion, eh? Just…cut… right… through…
G: Is that blood? Did you just cut yourself?
J: Oh! That? Ha-ha! That’s just, you know, seal juice. Leaking from the bottle. I, uh…
G: Your thumb is hemorrhaging.
J: Yup. It does that sometimes. Silly thumb!
G: No, seriously. That’s a lot of blood.
J: Oh, no-no-no. I’m fiiiiine. Just gonna get this…fuuuucking seal…off, and…
J: Well, it just doesn’t want to slide off there, does it? Maybe if I…. work at it…
Julie stabs at the neck of the bottle with the blade.
J: Mother! Fuuuuuuu—
Julie brings bottle to her mouth, tearing at the seal with her teeth.
J: There! There we go! Time to… open ‘er up!
G: Uh. Are you ok?
J: Oh. Yup. Just, you know, thinking about my plan of attack here!
Julie inserts the tip of the corkscrew into the cork and presses firmly, twisting like she saw in that YouTube video she watched fifty times- the one that made it look so goddamn easy.
J: So what brings you out tonight?
G: I think maybe you don’t need to put it in that far…
J: Hey-oh! That’s what she said! Huh? Am I right?
G: No, you’re going to have a hard time getting—
J: Hey. You’re the one who had to have this fucking bottle of wine, asshat. Just please. Allow me the pleasure of opening it for you.
J: Ho-kaaaaay…. Now I pull with a firm, upward motion to remove the cork, and–
J: What the fuck?
Julie struggles with the corkscrew, which is now firmly imbedded into the cork.
J: Oh, god, cork. Don’t you do this to me. Don’t you fucking do this to me. I swear to the almighty freeeeeaking god I will end you. Did you hear me? I will END YOU.
G: Um, you know what? Think we’re just gonna take the check and be on our way!
J, now speaking in a deep Satan voice: NOOOOOOOOOOOO. I WILL OPEN THIS WINE AND YOU WILL DRINK THIS WINE AND IT. WILL. BE. DELIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!
Julie breaks the cork.
J: Fucking hell!
Julie removes her apron and storms out of the restaurant.