Wednesday, November 19, 2008

[The Life of Shaun #296] A nervous plebe

Morgan Stanley announced 10% layoffs in some areas of the business last week and the blood began to let today. Rumours started slinging around the office this morning: traders today, CSRs tomorrow, ops (me) on Friday; then later it was ops tomorrow and CSRs on Friday. As ever, only those-who-know know, but there was some truth to the tales as traders were let go (made redundant in Britspeak) today. As the newest member of my team, I am understandably nervous - as much as I love my friends in Vegas, I really don't want to end up working at Taco Bell on Nellis.

Counterweighting that negativity, I am half way through something I've wanted to do for a long time - a wine tasting class! Five friends from Cass and I are taking it at the Capital Club in the City on Wednesday nights. The setting is sufficiently stodgy and I've learned how to tell red from white -- and that's about it. I should be able to tell old from young, old world from new, fermented from not, but other than the most swinging vagaries, I am hopeless. Kimb'uh took one whiff of one last week and said "That smells like fennel, it's a Sauvignon blanc" or some such impossibility.

The instructor and excelling students are able to distinguish between a variety of citrus and/or fruit aromas and tastes, discern the waxy ones from the viscous ones, and nod knowingly to each other about which ones hug their tongues and which ones migrate bodiless around the mouth. I am told there is lemon scent and voilĂ , there it is! Wait? Earthy? Why yes! It does smell earthy! And how could I have possibly missed that obvious smell of stone?

Nonetheless, I am enjoying it and the time with my friends thoroughly and do feel at least more familiar with wine if not more knowledgeable (sidebar: chardonnay can be good, Riesling is not only for dessert and chavs, and keep your brie away from red). It doesn't matter if it's not quite what the instructor is trying to impress - it's adding a new layer to a libation I love and I've never enjoyed doing homework so much.


Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
London, UK

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