I know. One should be wary of maniacal grins. But they are intriguing. There’s something else there, buried beneath. You know you’re going to have a fun time, pulled round the ferris wheel, dropped from a high cliff, traversed along the precipice. The Gearhead wears the grin frequently. Perhaps it’s what attracts me. That sense that danger is right around the corner. That I can touch it.
The Gearhead wears a maniacal grin. I have learned to recognize it. Know it means a significant dent in our bank account. Know it means there’s a new vehicle, already tucked away somewhere, slipped between the metal carcasses outside, in the garage or the barn. Perhaps the barn would be better termed a “shop”; it seems to be what the Gearhead likes to do most of all. If I smoked, this is the point I’d light up, lean back, relax and blow it out in front of me, release all that fired up tension in a cloud I could watch disappear. Here’s a poem instead:
The Gearhead’s maniacal grin
equals another sports car.
Orange is about all I can say
about it, aside from expensive.
A neighbor says, “What? A his and hers set?”
I’m too old and frightened to drive; I have children now.
“What does your wife say?” asks another guy, visiting. He coats himself in other people’s misery, like cheap perfume. He awaits the fireworks of domestic dispute with glee.
“She’s cool with it.”
The man’s jaw drops. Silence. Then, extends a hand to rest on the Gearhead’s shoulder, says, “Dude, she’s got another man.”
The Gearhead laughed at the time, but when he relays this story, I see the seed of worry.
[wife edits: hmm.] I see your seed and raise it to an agony of ignorance. What does the wife do with so much spare time? Time for a drink.
What can I say about mixing a Martini?
- Don’t F*#k it up.
- It’s an exercise in restraint. It’s elegance and discipline you can drink.
- Don’t assume it’s an olive you need; a paper-thin slice of cucumber will release the note of rose petals if you select your gin with care.
- Always select your gin with care.
- Use a cocktail shaker filled with ice. But don’t shake it!!! Roll it back and forth, gently, holding the shaker firmly in your hand until the cold becomes painful. If you shake, it splinters the corners off the ice cubes, little shards that will dilute your drink.
- Avoid dilution at all costs. It ruins the flavor.
- Use French vermouth. Drop a thimble-full [geardhead edits: no one sews anymore!]. Okay, fill the cap of the bottle half way with vermouth. Pour it into a martini glass. Lift the glass and tilt and roll it to coat the inside. Empty the remains into the cocktail shaker [wife edits: or the sink. I like a very dry martini.] Add an ounce or two of gin to the cocktail shaker. Roll as directed above. Strain into a glass. Sit back, take a sip, and watch the bead of sweat pop on the Gearhead’s forehead. Blow a smoke ring and smile in celebration. Cheers.