The Florida sun was beaming through the windows of the rental car office. An extensive line of customers had gathered. Scott was immediately behind me.
“Oh, that’s cool. But what about the plane ticket I got you?” he asked, barely lowering his voice and shifting a step from the line. “I don’t think you can just give it to your sister. The airline won’t… Never mind. Seriously, it’s no big deal. So, how was the drive?… Tom? Do I know him?… Oh yeah, I remember him. He was at your brother’s party a couple of nights ago. Did he drive or did you?… Did you guys stop anywhere, because, you know, that’s a long drive?… That’s cool. Yeah, I’d have done the same thing. No wonder you got here before me.”
His emerging concern became a settled sigh.
“So, did you miss m—?… I don’t know. I was thinking I’d get us a convertible. I thought we could have some fun this week in a drop top mustang or… I don’t know if they have those. I can ask, though. It’ll cost me a little more.”
I can tell you right now, this economy class rental company isn’t likely to have Porsches. Either of us will be lucky if they give us cars with wheels and seats we don’t have to install ourselves.
“I’ll ask, baby… It’s all going on my Visa. We’re going to have fun this week… Yeah, I’m hungry, too. They didn’t serve anything on the pla—… Okay, I’ll be over, soon… I don’t know. I’m like fourth in line, and it’s moving pretty slowly… Maybe about an hour… No, I can take you. I’ll get the car and… Sure. I can meet you guys there.”
The weary traveler occupying the equally weary agent’s time took his minivan keys and left for the lot. The next in line made his way to the desk, and everyone else took a step forward.
“You should probably check to see if we need a reservation to that place… Baby, I’m in line, and… Yeah, I can call the place… Can you maybe text me the num—?… Sure, I’ll just look it up. If there’s a snag, I’ll call you back… I’ll put the reservation in your name… Okay, Tom’s name.”
Scott shifted a little more to his left while still keeping one foot in the line. Turning away, he fruitlessly attempted to maintain a measure of privacy.
“I’m looking forward to seeing,” he said, nudging at his suitcase with his foot. “Don’t worry about it. I’m taking care of the whole week… I’m looking forward to seeing you. Did you miss me?… Maybe after dinner we could go to the hotel and… Well, I at least need to go there to check in and drop off my… I don’t know if there are shops by the restaurant. Why do you need clothes?… That’s all you brought?… I don’t know if… Okay, I’ll just put it on my Visa… Don’t worry about it. We’ll get you some new stuff… Yes, and some shoes, too… And a swim suit.”
He began to sound tired.
“I can’t wait to see… No, it’s just a regular room, but it has a great view of… There’s not going to be enough room… Baby, Tom is probably going to have to get his own hotel room… I don’t know… I don’t know, but I can check… I’ll call after I make the dinner reservation. Maybe they can bump us up to a suite with a guest room… Can he at least help cover the… Never mind, baby, I got it… Tell him I got it.”
His voice became even quieter.
“I can’t wait to see you… You know what I’m really looking forward to tonight?… Hello? Hello?”
The conversation ended. Scott sighed through his nose and resumed his place in line. I heard a few hushed profanities joined to the name “Tom” as he tapped at his phone in search of the restaurant. I heard a few more expletives while dialing the hotel.
Some people take far more than they give. Baby appears to be one of those people. Unfortunately, Scott is somehow caught in her gravity. I don’t know why, but I certainly feel sorry for him. On the other hand, I’ll admit that his pain had a hand in framing my thoughts of the Nirvana Unpeated Single Malt edition from Paul John Whisky.
Like people, some whiskies are givers. Others are takers. It would seem that the takers, whether wholly or only slightly so, at some point along the way require things of you. Some demand very little, perhaps only a drop of water. Others demand the world, conceivably requiring a gallon of Coca-Cola to make them tolerable. But the givers are all-sufficient, arriving in hand ready to please. The only thing they need is the recipient’s time and a place to dwell.
For the record, I’ve had all of the available Paul John Whisky editions, and I can assure you, they don’t make takers. They make givers. The Nirvana edition, which so strangely carries a near-bottom-shelf price tag, is no exception. Even at around $35, it brings everything one might need for an enjoyable sip.
The nose of this delightful dram is one of malt and salted caramel. Beyond these, it delivers exactly as the distillery describes—“honeycombed bourbon” and “fruitcake.”
The palate gives over wholegrain bread and apples. Another sip whispers a clarification—apple butter on warmed wholegrain toast. There may even be some coffee steaming nearby.
The medium finish leaves behind a winking effervescence of peppered honey and dried fruits. The spice is the last to leave.
Considering all of this, I wish I knew Scott personally. I wish I could sit and share a dram with him. Perhaps I’d find an opening for sharing a little about how wonderful it is to be in a relationship—namely, a marriage—where thinking of the other person first is pretty much the norm. Even better, perhaps by way of the Nirvana edition, I’d demonstrate how big ticket living is not essential for happiness—and neither are life-sucking abusers like the one he calls baby.