Ouzo: The Greek Elixir

I don’t believe in past lives; however, I do welcome the concept. If i were to indulge in the fantasy for a moment, I could imagine for myself a very tragic ending to my prior existence. I like the idea of going out in a bang. To me, distinction in death is a very alluring fate. However, it’s not a fate I would ever choose.

I assume that in this supposed past life I kicked the bucket at a very early age. In only the most dramatic manner of course, I left my loved ones so they may endlessly mourn my fictitious execution. If only we had been given more time together! Obliteration of everything around me with the cessation of my final breath, now that is definitely my style. Maybe this past life scenario really did occur. Maybe that’s what lead me to understand the importance of family in this reality. Ever since I was a child, I accepted the position of the son, nephew, cousin, and grandson that kept the family bound. Growing up, I would annoyingly squeeze myself into my relatives lives at every opportunity until they had no choice but to accept my presence. I continued to do this until my relocation to Chicago. I’m still not sure what allowed the sudden change of will which prompted me to move 900 miles away from the most important people in my life. It’s possible that I’m just repeating a subconscious pattern. Most probably, I moved away to finally acquire the distinction I demand. Distinction in life may prove just as rewarding as that in death, and i won’t quit wandering until I’ve achieved it.

I do feel guilt every day though. I feel guilty for being my mother’s only child. I feel guilty for being my cousins’ best friend. I feel guilty for being the grandchild without accomplishment. Hopefully one day I can rectify the regret of leaving my family behind to pursue nothing in particular. Until then, I will write. I will write, and work, and explore and experience and hope that my loved ones will continue to miss me enough to want to visit and create new memories.

Luckily, my Mom was able to come visit me last week along with four of her friends. Unfortunately, my Dad was stuck in the South for work and was unable to join. My parents have visited me together once before and have both fallen in love with Chicago just as I have. I am not surprised as I am a reflection of their personalities–or at least of their strengths and their passions. I have no weaknesses that I am aware of. Just Kidding. Not Really. But Sort Of.

On my visitors’ final night we were all in the mood for Greek. We went to a delicious restaurant called Taxim in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Immediately the women ordered ouzo for themselves. I do not normally drink ouzo. When my grandmother drinks ouzo, she starts to serenade the fence in the backyard. It is one powerful drink. Most fascinating about ouzo is its change of color once ice is added. It immediately turns milky white and almost glows.

Seeing this transformation reminded me of the immortality elixir from “Death Becomes Her”. I’m not sure why, as the elixir in the movie is pink and looks almost nothing like ouzo, but sometimes it’s better to not question the way my mind works. I imagine access to such an elixir would be very beneficial. I could continue my journey with none of the restrictions that time imposes. I would share it with my family, and I would never have to feel my guilts for leaving them again. The amount of new memories I could create with those I love would be infinite. The hypothetical cycle of life after life would halt, and I would have forever to gain my sought after greatness. It’s too bad that this reality doesn’t allow for such magical concoctions. Instead I’ll pretend that I discovered the cure to mortality in ouzo, and I’ll take a quick swig whenever I feel the all too familiar constraints of this reality. Opa to that.





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