13 October 2009 L’Absinthe Noir
On the night before I left for nine months in London, in August of 2004, an old hippie whispered into my inbox the location of what he claimed was the only place in London that (illicitly) sold black absinthe. And so on my first day in sweet Londontown, I walked to the place, spoke with the vendor, bought an unmarked green of the foul liquor, and split it with a like-minded Russian I’d met only hours before. I was, of course, ill-prepared for the intense takeover the wormwood launched on my brain & body. This led to a near-episode while drooling, ducking, & shouting gibberish in the queue (which at the time, I still called “the line”) at a tastelessly Americanized locale called the Sports Cafe.
After being evicted from the queue by several of my classmates whom I had never before met, I was shuttled by taxi back to my flat where I passed the-fuck out terrified in a corner until 3am. It was then that I woke up jet-lagged and tripping my ass off and couldn’t go back to sleep. The only reasonable thing to do, it seemed, was to leave the flat & get as lost as I possibly could in my new home city. Four hours later, I emerged from Covent Garden just as my hallucinations melted into a calm euphoria. It was then that I first set eyes on the great Trafalger Square.