Crushing Dreams While Running Errands

Josh Augustine, May 27, 2014

It was a lazy Wednesday afternoon in the Car Stereo Department at Best Buy. In fact, it was a lazy Wednesday afternoon throughout every department at Best Buy. Sure, there was the usual amount of traffic flow on the suburban highway against which this Best Buy was nestled, but nobody was stopping in to Best Buy, nobody stopping to talk shop with Bradley as he overlooked the Car Stereo Department.

He walked to the outer edge of his department, the edge nearest the center of the store. He glanced over at Doug in the video game section and sighed. Doug did his best to offer consolation from a distance, offering a sympathetic shrug, but Doug couldn't understand what Bradley was feeling. Less than an hour earlier Doug had sold a copy of the latest title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise to a sweaty thirty-something with a wispy goatee after a spirited conversation on the merits of PC gaming. Doug was satisfied. Bradley wasn't sure at this point that he'd ever feel satisfied again.

Bradley turned away and surveyed the flourescent horizon. He spotted, in an aisle in the distant east, the lone customer in the store at that moment, an elderly fellow feverishly attempting to decipher a carefully scrawled alphanumeric string that would eventually lead the way to the proper replacement cartridge for a Lexmark inkjet printer. Bradley turned back into his department and scanned the faces of two dozen car stereo faces, LED displays blinking excitedly, hoping to catch the glance of a passing consumer. "Don't get your hopes up today, boys," he muttered solemnly as he adjusted the treble on the Kenwood DDX271.

Just when all hope was nearly lost, a glimmer of light appeared in the form of an unkempt man in a beige button down work shirt and faded relaxed-fit Wranglers. "Ha! We got one!" was the thought that Bradley attempted to communicate telepathically to the wall of flickering stereo faces. The dissheveled savior of the day approached tentatively, cautiously, but Bradley was there to put him at ease. "Hi there, can I help you with anything today?"

Bradley had used this line as an opener to virtually every sale he'd ever made. It was classic, reliable, tried and true as a set of Pioneer speakers. Bradley's mind ran wild with the possibilities, envisioning the foreseeable dozen or so minutes giddily discussing amperages and subwoofers, wattages and mount depths. This would be just the bit of lively discourse he needed to jumpstart the afternoon. "Eh, not really, I'm just looking around, but I'll grab you if I need anything." Classic! Bradley had played this particular game of chess before, and this mark had just made the G4 equivalent move on his way into a fool's mate.

The beige-clad warrior unwittingly plunged into the depths of the Car Stereo Department at Best Buy, and eventually weaved to the shelf under a banner that read "Accessories". Bradley had keen eyedly noted every movement made, maintained an appropriate proximity, and mentally calculated on the fly an appropriate route to bring himself toward the aspiring consumer just as the mark was about to decide to make a purchase.

The aloof stranger who was singlehandedly validating Bradley's entire existance in this moment reached toward the rack and studied the packaging on a few different items. The time to strike is now! Bradley quickly positioned himself in the path of the muss-headed champion, grinned and went for the checkmate, "You still doing okay, or can I..." "Yeah, found what I came for, thanks," said the stranger as he brazenly strolled right past the screen that Bradley had so carefully crafted. What is this? A stunning coup d'etat coupled with bold escape strategy? Not on Bradley's watch. Maybe he wouldn't send one of his glimmering electronic bretheran home with this rugged master strategian, but he would not be denied a bit of genteel conversation. He glanced down at the item that had been snatched from the Accessories shelf, knowing he'd be able to latch on to some technical detail to parlay into conversation.

However, upon seeing the cassette deck adapter being firmly grasped by the mysterious visitor, Bradley's demeanor changed. His mind was screaming at his face, pleading with it to maintain an enthusiastic disposition, but his heart had siezed all control of his neurons. His expression sunk. A cassette deck adapter? What the hell is this guy driving anyway, a '93 Oldsmobile or something? Fighting to mask the revulsion that coarsed through his veins, Bradley finally had to accept that he was not going to be finding joy in the Car Stereo Department at Best Buy on this particular lazy Wednesday afternoon. "Oh. Good. Have a nice day."

It's probably better this way. Bradley may never truly be able to take solace in the idea that it's probably better this way, but deep down he knows, whether or not he's willing to admit that he knows, the knowledge is inherent. The enigmatic dynamo which had visited him on this day had no worthwhile insight to offer, no meaningful contribution to make to Bradley's version of the universe. This was made apparent by the nature of the eventual purchase that was made, that purchase of the cassette deck adapter, that willingness to overpay for an outdated audio experience. But Bradley couldn't help but ask himself, "What if..." What if that abstruse venturer was looking for more? More than just a means by which to utilize a mobile electronic device to listen to Bob Seger's "Against the Wind" through the shoddy speakers in his early 90s model General Motors vehicle while traveling to purchase a sloppily constructed but culinarily adequate spicy chicken Po'Boy and a bottle of Boulevard Brewing's Saison Brett?

Bradley loves Po'Boys. He thinks "Against the Wind" is kind of boring, but he wants it to sound good on your car stereo. He's never tried Boulevard Brewing's Saison Brett. He hopes you understand.

Boulevard Saison-Brett
Appearance: 4.4 Poured into a snifter, pours a hazy darker-than-golden-but-not-quite-orange color with very thick, pillowy head. The Brett yeast is clearly still alive and well in this one. Even pouring with caution will likely result in a glass that's mostly head to start with.

Smell: 4.8 Sharp horse-blankety farmhouse funk is the primary aroma. Some floral and clove notes are buried in there somewhere.

Taste: 5.0 Grassy, earthy, plenty of funk, basically exactly matching the nose. It's not quite tart, but it hints at tartness.

Mouthfeel: 4.8 Creamy and smooth at first, tiny bubbles give a prickly feel in the middle and then smooth back out to finish.

Overall: 4.8. This beer is one of the gold standards of the style, in my opinion. Complex, but not overwrought. The flavors are interesting, bold, and complex, and are nicely rounded and blended by the smooth feel.

Josh Augustine sometimes says things of little import on Twitter, and somewhat reliably informs the world what he's drinking on untappd.