Sunday, December 14, 2008

Max, The Anarchist

13 December 2008

Now for another pre-adventure adventure. Jon and I moseyed (Wow! I just learned how to spell this word) on down to St. Augustine yesterday to celebrate his birthday (better late than never, I always say). We started out in the late afternoon at our favorite bar, The Milltop, where we enjoyed a nice pint of lager. Even though it was quite chilly, we sat outside, because we love the view of the Old Fort lawn at sunset. I wasn’t really feeling the beer vibe though, so we moved on to Stogies, a wine and cigar bar down on Charlotte Street. It is very dark in there. It smells of a humidor (not a bad scent). It is not unpleasant in the least, especially since we made the acquaintance of the barkeep, Max, a young man baring a striking resemblance to Jonny Depp (in his skuzzy days; although having to point this out is probably unnecessary because when has the man not been skuzzy?). We ordered our wine, which Max poured from a new bottle (huge pour) and took a seat on the cozy leather couch in the corner. Upon ordering our second glass of wine, we began chatting with Max, as he was the only other person in the place. Boy, are we glad we did!

There are many things I learned in the two hours we spent in Stogies. First, Max is not a stingy bartender- he had to open a new bottle to fill up both of our glasses the second time! Next, I do not like being in an establishment that allows smoking, something I realize I will have to get over pretty darn quick what with moving to Paris where anyone who doesn’t smoke is regarded as a complete social incompetent (I’m doomed). Next, contrary to previous thought, I like fancy beer. I learned this because our friend, Max, began to chat about brew with Jon. Now Jon knows a thing or two about beer. Realizing this, Max offered to share with us a bottle of Unibreu’s 16th anniversary vintage. When poured into a glass, it had a red color and the taste… sublime. I actually liked it!!

The next thing I learned was that our new friend, Max, is quite the character. He is 21 and completely off the grid, so to speak. He doesn’t have a driver’s license, a t.v., or a phone. He grew up in the Arizona desert. He’s a philanthropist and, did I mention, an anarchist? He told us he spent several months in New Orleans helping to gut houses after Katrina hit. Doesn’t that seem like an oxymoron? A philanthropic anarchist? He had some crazy stories, many of which centered on the interesting things that happened to him because of his association with this anarchist group for whom he was volunteering. For instance, he was not supposed to show any ID to the cops because under the martial law in force at the time they could arrest him just for working with these people! Needless to say, our conversation with Max was the most interesting one we’ve had in quite a while.

In the end, I learned from Max that meeting new people is going to be one of the great experiences of our adventure. So, here’s to Max, the anarchist. Thanks for teaching me a thing or two.

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