You Can't Really Explain a Bottle of Wine
By Peter Pastan, Owner, 2AMYS
Apparently, I have an issue with garbage. Maybe it has something to do with working in restaurants. The first task I learned at my first restaurant job was breaking down boxes. I’m still really annoyed when I see a dumpster full of whole boxes.
I started taking pictures of my bottle recycling on March 31, 2013. I was relatively new to Instagram and my DIL had to explain the concept of a hashtag to me. I’m still not sure that I use them correctly, but perhaps it doesn’t matter. There were so many Instagram pictures of trophy bottles — so carefully composed and so uninteresting — that I thought garbage might tell another side of the story, but I really don’t remember taking the first picture. Part of me wanted to push back a bit and find a fun way to tease people about the preciousness of what they were drinking. Unicorn bottles were big then. Initially, my posts were not really reflective of that week’s drinking (I don’t think I ever drank four bottles of Monfortino in a seven-day period), and it took a while to settle on a hashtag (#sundaynightrecycling). It’s become a nice way to remember what I was drinking without silly tasting notes. I’m not particularly good with my phone (iPhone 6E), so many of the pictures are out of focus and the lighting is terrible. I try not to edit much as it seems to defeat the whole purpose and I don’t like wordy Instagram posts. It’s a visual app.
I also have a thing about Roman trash trucks. I love the Roma sanitation department logo, which is a combination of a hand and the sun. I think it’s good to have some specific themes to post: empty bottles, trash trucks, and pictures of just-eaten plates of food. It’s more about the memory than the thing. For a while I took compost pictures (#mondaynightcomposting). I liked the way you could imagine a meal by looking at the sequence of what was discarded. Before that, I took pictures of my striped socks (#washingtoncolorschool) but this didn’t seem to resonate with many people. Twenty-five years ago, I was invited to participate in a fundraiser for a Lawyers for the Arts organization (perhaps the last group of people that needed to hold a fundraiser, but I did get to meet Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus). I made “Mark Rothko” sandwiches (olive paste, anchovy, and a sliver of tuna belly) on toast (I lifted the idea from E A. Carmine, Jr.’s article “The Sandwiches of the Artists,” — October, Vol. 16, Art World Follies (Spring, 1981), pp. 87-101— which I strongly recommend). We were really in the weeds, making all that toast, and people kept asking how we knew it was Rothko’s favorite sandwich. We also had a vat of lemonade with an upside- down, glow-in-the-dark crucifix. We called it Lemonade Christ, which really confused people as well. You can’t really explain a joke, and you can’t really explain why someone should like a bottle of wine. But having shared many wines with many people, I know that when you see a particular bottle in the trash it can trigger memories of sharing that bottle of wine with a particular person. It’s a nonverbal way to connect with friends and remember past joys.