I'd actually forgotten how much I both love and hate election years. Hate: I've been tasting my shoelaces a lot these days, since I keep putting my feet in my mouth. I'd just assumed that most of my friends would find Sarah Palin's ultra-religious, conservative social views as despicable as I do — but lo and behold, some of the people I've vacationed with, birthdayed with and otherwise held dear to my heart inexplicably support her. So lately, I've been watching what I say around friends — which means that I save some political discussions for strangers. Love: During the Democratic National Convention, a friend and I went to the bar at Oceanaire to watch Hillary's speech. This beautiful bar is one of my favorites, very big-band-meets-luxury-ocean-liner, comfortable and accessible, with just the right mix of regulars and out-of-towners. We found two stools, and within seconds, I heard groans coming from the fellas to my right. "I can tell you two are Hillary fans," I said, steering right for a rhetorical iceberg as though I were the Titanic. Their response was a priceless guffaw mixed with disproportionate laughter. Clearly, I needed a cocktail if I was going to enjoy this conversation, so I ordered the Pop Rock the Vote Martini ($11), made with Absolut Ruby Red, Cointreau and white cranberry juice — with a rim of actual Pop Rocks. (Oceanaire's general manager revealed that he buys Pop Rocks by the case at his local Blockbuster in order to keep the bar supplied.) I hadn't had the candy in years, and giggled like someone too young to vote when the Pop Rocks fizzed in the drink and tickled my lips. The sensation was almost as delicious as torturing the two Republicans, who soon went down with the ship. Women and children first!
To see where Nancy Levine has been drinking, go to her column online for an embedded map. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.