A few days ago, I was sampling lots of nice food for free and wondering whether 'restaurant reviewer' should be added to my list of the only jobs that are really worth doing.
One of the dishes was an orange and absinthe sorbet, which led to a discussion with the nice restaurant PR lady about la fée verte and its various cultural connotations. She knew that the stuff had been banned in many European countries for much of the 20th century, and that Kylie Minogue had played its spectral manifestation in Moulin Rouge; but not, apparently, that its renaissance in Britain was partly due to the efforts of someone who'd once been the drummer in The Jesus and Mary Chain.
And we talked about 1915, the year in which France prohibited the production of absinthe, and the resulting invention of pastis; literally a pastiche of absinthe, a half-hearted impersonation, a fuzzy photocopy of the real thing. And it was only then that I realised that a drink such as Pernod was, for much of its existence, a perfect simulacrum; a copy of something that didn't exist.
But I didn't say anything; I refrained from pontificating about Baudrillard and Deleuze and The Matrix to someone who really just wanted me to write nice things about her restaurant. Maybe I don't need to see Baudrillard in everything, like someone finding the name of God in an aubergine; maybe, as with my bubblewrap moment, it's a sign that I'm finally joining the human race. Although I still shared it with you, I suppose. Maybe that's different.
We moved on to the paprika-smoked Ahi tuna, and jolly nice it was too.