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Day 43: Wine, Math, and the Impossible Dream

Day 43:  Wine, Math, and the Impossible Dream


# of pages written: 7

# of days left to write 1st draft: 120

On Friday before I left for the wedding, I had a job interview with the owner of Luke’s Liquor Stores. They’re hiring wine representatives to conduct three-hour wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays in the various Luke’s Liquor Stores on the Cape.

I walked into the office and shook hands with the owner, whose name is not Luke, but John. It seemed as if the room had just been sprayed with an entire can of cinnamon-scented air-freshener.

“Wow, it smells like Christmas in here,” I told John. He was a tall man with a shock of white hair and a kind-looking face.

“Does it?” He motioned for me to sit down. “Now, I explained what the job entails in the email, right?”

“Yes.” I smiled. “And I’m very interested. I think this job is just up my alley.”

“Do you have any knowledge of wine?” he asked.

“Well, I’ve certainly been to a lot of wine tastings over the years.”  I laughed. “I’m not an expert, but I’m excited to learn.”

“You do drink wine, don’t you?” he asked.

“Oh, yes!” I wondered if I shouldn’t have sounded quite so enthusiastic, but John seemed pleased with my answer.

“Good,” he said. “Because you’ll need to taste all the wines, too, so you’re able to talk to the customers about them.”

“Oh sure,” I said. “I can definitely do that.”

“And do you have any experience in the wine and alcohol business?” John scanned through my resume, which is filled with math teaching instead of wine and alcohol experience.

“It’s not on there,” I indicated my resume, “but I did work for Southern Comfort when I lived in New Orleans. I was a–” I bit my tongue to stop from saying “shot girl.”

“What did you do for them?”

“I was a promotional model,” I said. “Basically, I encouraged people to try Southern Comfort and talked to them about the product.” No need to mention that I did this while wearing a skin-tight tank top and mini-skirt.

“That’s great,” John said. “That’s pretty much all we want you to do is encourage people to try some wines they might not normally buy.”

“Well I think this sounds like a great job for me. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, and I’d love a job where I can chat with people.” (And drink wine, I thought.)

I stood up and shook John’s hand. He told me he’d be in touch soon. I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but I think the interview went well.

A few days ago, I asked someone, “what would your perfect job be?” I’m always asking these sorts of questions, like “where would you ideally live,” or “what do you wish you could be doing right now?” I always assume that no one is actually living their ideal dream life.

After he answered, he turned the question on me. “What would your perfect job be?”

Oh. Oh my. I wasn’t sure how to answer. Back when I was teaching full time, I would have said that I’d love to have time to write and tutor math on the side. But that’s what I’m doing right now!

Is it possible that I have my perfect job(s) right now? Let’s see. I get to spend all day writing, and I tutor the world’s sweetest boy in my favorite subject of Algebra I. I get to be a bar trivia hostess twice a week, and now I might get to conduct wine tastings. On paper, this seems like my ideal career situation.  Which is sort of frightening.  If I’ve achieved the perfect situation, where do I go from here?

Of course, spending all day writing is turning out to not as dreamy as I thought it would be. It can be very stressful and frustrating, and often my butt hurts from sitting for too long. Plus I’m not actually making money from it at the moment.  Then there’s tutoring, which is great, but it involves a lot of driving.  Talking into the microphone at trivia night is fun, but I’m getting really tired of begging people to play. Last time there were only three teams, and one team left halfway through the game. And now there’s the wine tastings, which seems like a fabulous job with no down sides, but I’m sure there’s going to be something annoying about it. Nothing is ever really perfect

In math we have these things called asymptotes. (Yes, it’s pronounced “ass-em-totes,” and yes, teenage boys snicker whenever I say the word.) An asymptote occurs on a graph when there is an undefined value. Take, for example, one divided by x, which is defined for all x-values except zero. (You can’t divide one by zero. How could you take one thing and put it into zero groups? It can’t be done.)

So the graph of 1 divided by x doesn’t exist at x = 0. But the graph does exist when x equals 0.1 and 0.01 and 0.001. As the graph gets closer and closer – infinitely close – to the impossible x-value of zero, a crazy and interesting thing happens. The y-values start ballooning up to infinity (from the positive side) and negative infinity (from the negative side).

I know I might have lost some of you with that mathematical metaphor, but the point is this. Some things are impossible. Dividing by zero, to name one. Perfection, to name another. No matter how hard you try, you will never, ever reach perfection in your job or your relationships or your life. But you can keep getting closer and closer. You can keep taking teensy steps towards the ideal. But what if, as you get infinitely close to your own personal ideal, strange things start happening?  I’m closer than I’ve ever been to what I thought would be be perfection, and I find myself, on some days, soaring towards positive infinity. And on other days plunging down into negative infinity.

It’s an exciting and strange place to be.  And I think I should keep going.  I know I can never reach the impossible, but crazy and interesting things are going to happen as I get close.


About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

One response »

  1. U. Claudine Minkowski

    You definitely should worry less when it feels like you aren’t make any observable progress and just keep going with it. 10 to 1 you discover a new axis.


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