Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lover's Leap or Lover's Lane

Growing up as a teenager in America has meant, or at least used to mean, for lots of people, getting a car. The car was America's symbol of the freedom--the freedom of the road, the freedom to go where you wanted, and--in our youth--the freedom to interact, without supervision or oversight, with the opposite sex. In high school, a lot of the anticipation of growing up meant qualifying for your driver's license, and then either having the use of the family car, or somehow acquiring a vehicle of one's own. When I was growing up in 1950's, many boys dreamed of owning a car, and customizing it into a "jalopy."Jalopies were older cars that one rehabilitated into a "hotrod" or a cruiser. Owning and being seen driving one's own car were marks of distinction, particularly among lower class boys, whose interests tended toward the mechanical, rather than the intellectual. Auto shop class existed to prepare boys to become professional mechanics, but it wasn't just an "elective" shop--it was almost a way of life. America's romance with the automobile has been going on for the last century, though the decline of American automobile companies has dampened some of the excitement that it once enjoyed among American youth. And the computerization of automobile technics has made amateur tinkering with cars very retro. 

Every small town in America has had something akin to a so-called Lover's Lane, a place where kids in cars could go to park, and "make out" (or neck, or . . . well, you know). The slightly illicit and forbidden aspect of teenage romance made growing up seem a little naughty. Smoking, dressing in a certain way, fighting, going steady--these were things that parents tended to frown on. One could be put on probation by parents for indulging in these kinds of behaviors. These were things associated with growing up, though acting truly mature, we always knew, wasn't simply about cigarettes and manly competition, or (heaven forbid) condoms. Growing up, becoming adult, meant taking responsibility and pursuing serious goals, accepting civic and family and perhaps religious duties. 

Sexual dalliance is probably a "gateway" drug to getting into the really serious addiction of begetting children. And reading was probably my personal gateway drug into advanced education, and a life-long interest in literature, design, travel, etc. Drinking beer was another of those tacitly "forbidden" indulgences of the teenage years, so beer was probably the gateway to alcoholism, though I didn't grow to like beer until I was middle aged, and when, coincidentally, the boutique beer business really got going.       

The notion of taking a leap--as with a leap of faith, or an intellectual leap--suggests a fatalistic risk, whereas the idea of going down a lane might seem less dangerous, though not necessarily altogether safe either. Wandering down a pathway could be simply a misdirection, whereas jumping from a precipice would suggest an ulterior gesture, like suicide, or a relinquishing of some commitment, perhaps of the despair of love spurned, or love lost. I'm not sure what to call this concoction, but if it has to have one, let it be Lover's Leap. But enough of this!

"He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument." --Shakespeare (Love's Labor Lost)  

Here's a love potion to twirl on your tongue. Swirled and served up in the usual very cold (freezer cold) cocktail glasses. By proportion, if you please.

3 parts Jack Daniels
1 part drambuie
1/2 part creme de noyaux
1/2 part amaro
1 part lemon juice

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