I’ve been a real slacker the past month about Chasing Hubert. June was filled with activity – graduations, weddings, engagements, new jobs – and I had barely enough time to sleep much less search for my mystery artist. I took a fatalistic approach to my Hubert hunting. If I were destined to find Hubert then surely one of the numerous emails I sent out would respond to me. In my sleep deprived state I rationalized that after spending the past nine months chasing after Hubert perhaps now it was time to throw it up to fate and see if Hubert would come to me. Illogical maybe but it was self-justification for my slacking off.
Instead I entered a dead zone in my hunt for Hubert. I would probably still be in that dead zone were it not for the drink contest I participated in on July 4th. The drink contest I refer to is a contest for creating – not imbibing – a winning cocktail (although one does have to sample one’s creation to perfect and produce a winning entry.) My worthy opponent began to experiment a month ago testing combinations of ingredients until he arrived at the perfect concoction. He proceeded to work on his presentation, purchasing real coconuts and laboriously hollowing them out to serve his creation in, adding fresh fruit swizzle sticks, an island-themed stirrer, and finally layering the coconuts in nests of Hawaiian leis. It was the Mona Lisa of alcoholic beverages.
I, on the other hand, formulated a recipe in my head and, whistling “Que sera, sera” the night before the throw-down, ran around town searching for the vital ingredient of my creation – a bottle of coconut vodka. I never imagined how many versions of vodka there are on the market. Nor did I imagine how difficult it would be to locate the coconut version. Finally, with minutes to go before the last liquor shop closed I chased a salesperson down and he located what was probably the last bottle of coconut vodka in the state – a thirty dollar bottle of Ciroc premium coconut vodka imported from France (in my Hubert dominated world amazingly all things lead to France.) The next afternoon, an hour before the contest, I attempted mixing various juices to create a layer that would resemble a sunset. Scientifically, this has something to do with juice density about which I know nothing so all of my juices melded together. My presentation consisted of dipping the glass rim in shredded coconut which unfortunately didn’t fully adhere to the rim, then inserting paper drink umbrellas cast off from a previous party.
I forgot to chill the glasses and when the drinks were brought out for the competition my drink was served at room temperature which, considering it was an outdoor barbeque during the recent heat wave, was 95 degrees. Not only was it not refreshing but my glass was raining melted shredded coconut over my paper umbrellas causing them to wilt. Needless to say, my opponent was declared the winner. Surprisingly, I didn’t lose by a landslide and my drink was actually quite tasty but my fatalistic approach of leaving it up to chance cost me first prize.
Somewhere in my drink is a moral. So I decided to take a cue and begin anew Chasing Hubert, this time leaving nothing to chance. I contacted a French teacher to assist with translating notes attempting once again to elicit a response from the bouquinistes of Paris, I emailed an art museum that specializes in prints, I’m pursuing the Art Appraisers of America, and I sent a follow-up email to the charming print expert at the New York Public Library. You could say I’ve gone from slacker to tracker…