Cynicism comes in many flavours; just like the bittersweet taste of the cheap Mojito shared with Chad talking about his recent gap year in Cuba. The chalky mint seems hell-bent on attaching itself to his front tooth, and I can’t stop staring at the green speck when he progresses to an explanation of the drinks origin and a ‘Did you know?’
He lists the five ingredients, carefully counting each element with his fingers, one by one, somehow confusing lemons with limes, and using each interchangeably, he seems adamant to educate me. Chad’s patronizing commentary turns my stomach as much as the sweetness of the drink. My nausea deepens with his tone of superiority. Unable to see beyond his own ego, his complete lack of awareness seems to fuel his assumption I’m interested in both the recipe and him.
He doesn’t notice my confusion as I watch him purse his lips to taste it like a fine wine, smacking his lips to try to establish the brand of Rum they used. The barman overhears his assessment and rolls his eyes for the second time since Chad decided to correct him on how to pronounce Mojito, emphasizing the word with a Spanish accent that was, without question, offensive.
Taking an exaggerated and unnecessarily long sip, I try to plan an escape route from the purgatory of our conversation. Drinking the cocktail down I look sideways beyond the barrage of poor one-liners and pick up tactics. The barman eyes my unnatural lean as I swallow the jagged ice caught in my throat. It suffocates the politeness on my tongue that begins to wear just as thin as the diluted taste.
I’m surprised to find Chad ordering another after mentioning to the Barman he’d found the recipe ‘well below standard.’ My disappointment is palpable. He hands me a full glass as I suffer the growing stab of brain freeze in my temples. Taking the glass I grimace with defeat, secretly wishing the pain behind my eyes signaled the onset of an aneurysm.
My head throbs even harder when Chad details the ‘significant impact’ he’d made in Havana. His stories about teaching English as a second language requires me to restrain myself from screaming into the ironic hackysack Tshirt. It rubs me just the wrong way when he talks about his father’s business as a ‘corporation,’ twisting my stomach with curdling douche-baggery. It’s obvious he’s one part privilege mixed with two parts condescension and it pains me to think of all his students getting the names for lemons and limes confused.
But what bothers me the most is despite all this, despite my unmistakable taste for pessimism and resignation to our conversation; is that on this night, after this drink, I might just go home with him.
- Take one part self loathing,
- Mix two parts condescension
- Pour the mixture over crushed dreams and filtered lowered standards
- Stir vigorously to remove the taste of minty cynicism
- Enjoy while you stare at a Che Guevara poster the next morning
Amy-Jean Muller can be followed on Twitter @muller_aj.