"You can bottle it in late January", quoth the gentleman behind the counter.
It now being mid-February, and my tobacco-free nerves for some reason acting up like it was Day 3 and not Day 21 with staccato burgs of drug-lust coursing through my veins, sending my adrenaline levels into orbit, I decided it would be best if I got out of the apartment and so I dropped my bathrobe and hauled on some pants and a shirt, before donning what's left of my down-filled parka, then power-walked north along Roncesvalles.
The long, narrow store-front, chock full of pointless wine accessories was dim and seemed empty, despite the unlocked door.
I moved toward the back, got halfway before a voice answered mine.
A young, long-haired man made his appearance. I explained that I was there to bottle my wine, that I had ordered it in December and that it was supposed to be ready mid-to-late January.
"Did David call you?"
I shook my head.
"Well, usually, we give you a call when your batch is ready."
"Nobody called me," I said. "But it's 3 weeks past when it's supposed to be ready." I gestured towards the shelves groaning under the weight of a parade of glass carboys flaunting violet liquid. "Would my name be attached to any of those?"
Long-hair shrugged. "I don't know. I'm just part-time."
"Why don't you take a look. My name's Dow." I tried to sound reasonable, but I fear my withdrawal gave my voice a desperate junky's edge; I could feel my jaw clench and my nails dug into my palms.
I took a deep breath and tucked my arms into a cross-chest, armpit fold, drawing myself to my full 5'6" (or 5'5" or 5'7" - whatever) and took a step towards the shelving and their fragile containers.
He made a show of looking, though not a good one. I doubt he actually read a single tag before returning to the illusory safety of having the counter between me and him. "I don't see it. I'll get David to call you. Tuesday morning."
My body language was far from polite but - even in my semi-lunatic state - I wasn't going to pull a Don Cherry on the poor, lying bastard.
"Fine," I gritted (yeah, yeah, I know: I grew up in the 30s, so fuck off) and offered a fed-up shake of my head by way of farewell.
I slammed my open palm into the door and hurled the door open before me, the set off down Roncesvalles before violent expletives overwhelmed my civilized facade.
Like a local lunatic, I muttered and shouted my way crosstown, to the liquor store on Brock, just one of Parkdale's regulars, except for my occasional admonitions that I was, really, making a big deal out of small change. "It's not that important, It's not that important, It's not that important, It's not that important, It's not that important ..."
Coming home from the liquor store, I picked up a video copy of Freddy Got Fingered (only $3.99, so get off my back), then stopped it at one of my former watering holes to calm down, thinking I would be safe now that smoking has been outlawed in my fair province. Little did I know that Mezzro's has chosen to allow its regulars to puff away to their heart's content.
And so I left, a little the drunk for wear, but proud I had not given in to such vicious temptation.
It's been three fucking weeks: How long, oh Lord, must I suffer?