Bad Apple

500I’ve recently moved to a quaint smaller town, and one of its redeeming qualities is that there’s a taproom within a few miles. The owners already know me by name, so I shuffled in with a nod, and plunked down at the bar. I settled on a pint, and smiled absently at the guy next to me.

From the way his eyes swam he was already drunk, and if I didn’t know for sure then, then I knew it when the next words out of his mouth were, “I’m feeling just fine.” He tried to level a gaze at me. He failed. “How are you?”

“I’m fine.” I took a gulp of my cider.

“What do you have there?”

“Cider. Hopped.”

“Ah. I like the….” he gestured vaguely, “the berry one.”

“Atlas?” I made a face.

He grinned. “Yeah. What’s wrong with it?”

“Nuthin’. I simply prefer my ciders to have apples. No other fruit.”

“Berries aren’t fruit,” he said.

I started to laugh, and then stopped. He was serious, and I didn’t really know what to do about that, so I got nervous. “Well, technically, berries aren’t true berries, but they are fruit. Aggregates. And an apple is a pome, or something.”

And then it hit me. This man was trying to flirt with me, and I’d not only confused him, but embarrassed him. Did I stop? Politely excuse myself? Perhaps apologize? No. If anything, I got more nervous. “And really ‘vegetable’ isn’t a technical term for anything but plant parts. A fruit is anything with ovaries, so a tomato is a fruit, and so is a cucumber….” And I kept going (and managed to say ovaries two more times… in a taproom in the middle of farm country).

His face was beet (tuber) red, and I felt a bit shitty. We ended up clinking glasses, but I doubt I’d made a new friend. Oh well. Cheers.

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