i got into some kinda rum party for flor de cana

Elle took me along with her to a promotional event at the Ritz Carlton last night, Key Biscayne, for the 130th anniversary of a brand of rum I’d never heard of, called Flor de Cana, but which according to her is the go-to among Nicaraguans (she’s Nicaraguan herself, and her grandfather is said to’ve drank four bottles during a recent visit).

Everybody at the event was dressed nicely, professionally, and there were models dressed in 1920s outfits and posing for photos (I’ve asked why, and received no answer; Elle works in marketing and says that such models get about $300 for four hours of work, which was interesting) but there wasn’t much conversation. I got the vibe that everybody who was there had to be there.

There was a short guy with reading glasses hooked around his neck who was magnanimous and went around shaking people’s hands, making small talk, and who later turned out to be affiliated with the brand. He went up to the front of the room and commanded everybody’s attention at one point and held up some rum in a little aperitif glass and encouraged everybody to do the same (I think this was the fancier version, aged 25 years or something; I don’t do rum, so I didn’t drink any; I got some dirty looks, actually, for stepping outside to the hotel bar and coming back with a beer).

But so everybody’s raising their little cups and doing as the Flor de Cana guy says.

            “Hold your drink up to the light and appreciate the color,” he says.

            And so people hold it up to the light and appreciate the color.

            “Now put the cup to your nose and inhale the aroma.”

            And so people put the cups to their noses, inhale the aroma.

            “Let it infiltrate your senses!”

            People begin to sip, daintily, allowing their senses to be infiltrated.

            “It will conquer your palate!”

            People are beginning to trade glances over their cups.

            Elle’s gone to the front of the room so she can film what’s unfolding and I’m way in the back with three older people. Appear to be in their fifties. They’re drinking the appointed rum, their collective senses infiltrated and conquered, when suddenly they raise all their little glasses for a toast. I raise my plastic beer cup. A tall older woman to my left has a face pulled taut with Botox and she leans into me and says playfully, “OK, no kissing!” and then does something undulant with her lips and eyebrows that appears to be inviting kissing.

I forget when we left or what occasioned the departure but we stopped at an 8th street Wendy’s along the way, my first visit to a Wendy’s in two years, and as we were wrapping up our meal she got teary-eyed at the sight of a very-old woman wiping tables.

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