[I have to admit: this is one of my favorite features of our host’s blog, and I’m eager to continue it in absentia. Maybe because I suggested the idea a long time ago…]
“Solitude is beautiful…when you have someone to say that to.” (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)
I am currently on sabbatical from my regular job, which is largely a good thing. I get some time to recover from the very real physical and mental demands of my profession; I get to reflect on my life (in the peak of typical mid-life crisis time); and I get to write about topics that I wouldn’t normally have the time to explore. So it’s largely a win-win: my employers will hope for a regenerated and reenergized Fuz on my return, and I’ll feel like my professional life hasn’t gone in an unsatisfying direction–that I still am doing the kind of work that I trained to do, that I’m still working on complex and fascinating problems that I find relevant.*
The problem with this theory? My place of work is small, and in a small town. So I don’t have a rich life outside of work–nor, for that matter, do I have many friends outside the office. So sabbatical means a withdrawal both figurative and literal. While this means I’ve avoided interminable meetings, it also means that I’ve avoided meetings, contact with other people. Many is the day I don’t bother to get dressed, because I won’t see another human.
Which is why I was happy to have lunch with a colleague today. She, too, is away from work, but for the best of reasons: she has produced a small human, and all without the use of CRISPR. Small Human was fortunately given to dozing, so we were able to visit in peace.**
The beer we visited over? Howe Sound’s Total Eclipse of the Hop. And it was enlightening to hear my colleague speak about–well, many things, to be honest. What I gleaned from our conversation was her nostalgia for this beer she had chosen. Not this exact beer, mind, but this style of beer. She spoke fondly of Ontario IPAs as the beers she grew up with–which she mentioned were more properly English IPAs, as opposed to the hop-battering NW IPA, or even the murky and citrusy NE IPA. That the Ontario IPAs were more malty, had a stronger body against which the hops were contrasted. And she also mentioned that this was as close as she could get to the beers of her youth, given where we were.
What she was thinking of was a kind of beer that is not quite like what we were having. I haven’t had this particular beer for a while, and I didn’t find it the same as the last time I had it. Given the coloration (see photo) and my history with this beer, I was expecting a richer, more syrupy bottom note that both worked with and against the hoppiness of this DIPA, carrying the notes of the hops, yet muting their harshness. But this time, the notes were too stark–bitter was bitter, the beer was beer, and there was nothing unctuous about the base. That I missed as well.
I also have missed my colleague. It was good to see her.
*Which isn’t to say that my current work isn’t relevant or important. It’s not what I’ve trained to do, however.
**When awake, Small Human looked like a perpetual reaction GIF. Needless to say, totally adorable.