Happy Valentine’s Day: The Last of the Wine
For those of you who know me well, you know that the title I used here today is also the title of my favorite book, which was written by Mary Renault. You can see two entries I wrote about this book back in May, 2009 (“The Last of the Wine:” Sokrates, on getting and keeping a true and honourable lover, and “The Last of the Wine:” Lysis, on prayer), and upon rereading them I see how everything gets knitted together. Everything is connected. There are no coincidences.
On October 12, 2006 I left my last boyfriend after I discovered he’d defrauded me for tens of thousands of dollars in credit cards he’d opened in my name and in cash he’d removed from various bank accounts. Two years later, On October 12, 2008, I went to the discount wine warehouse store to make a hefty splurge purchase: I wanted to spend $100 on a bottle of wine. At the time it was a luxury that almost crippled me for the rest of the month. But I had a reason for doing this. I had decided that I was going to pay down my debt as quickly as possible, and I began formulating my plan for doing so. I bought that bottle of wine with a very particular goal in mind: “I will eliminate not only this fraudulent debt, but all my pre-existing debt as well, by my birthday of 2012.” I bought a bottle of Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot (2004, Napa Valley) to celebrate my rediscovered faith in the idea that everything would get better. I promised myself I wouldn’t open this bottle of wine until the day my last outstanding balance was reported as ZERO by the creditor in question.
I formulated a payment plan by December, 2008; I implemented in in January, 2009; and I have stuck to this plan religiously ever since. I realized several months later that I’d done the math wrong in my favor: I could have it all paid off by my birthday of 2011! A whole year sooner!! And then, just as I was getting comfortable with this idea, I realized a few months ago that I’d done the math wrong in my favor yet again: I could have the entire debt gone by Valentine’s Day of 2011. This puts me 16 months “ahead of schedule.”
I am writing this now to announce the news: Although I paid “only” $100 for it, this bottle of wine cost me almost $100,000, and it is the best wine I have ever drunk in my life. It is true: The more you pay for wine the better it tastes. And right now I am sharing the bottle with a few friends (who will also be enjoying this nectar of the gods with some gorgeous chocolate that was formulated specifically for wine pairings). This is what freedom tastes like, and it is sweet!