Note on Surge: À la recherche du pop perdu
Surge was a citrus-flavored soda pop launched in the US by the Coca Cola Company in 1996 as an American variant of the Norwegian Urge. It had an advantage over 7-Up and Mountain Dew in lacking a syrupy aftertaste, although, like them, it essentially tasted like what a kiwi fruit might urinate, if it could do so. What really killed Surge, though, was an insipid ad campaign, intended to evoke “extreme” sports, but instead bringing to mind rioting and a failed educational system. If you want to drink Surge today, you have to know a Norwegian. (Perhaps an extreme Norwegian)
But, in 1996, free bottles of Surge were offered up at many outdoor festivals and rock shows, and I was the right age to attend them. Coincidentally, that summer, I was wrapped up in the first great love relationship of my life with a tempestuous, beautiful, charmingly amoral, keenly sensual, intellectually exuberant, and deeply challenging young woman- a relationship that would burn high, flame out viciously and forever alter my views about love and the opposite sex; it undoubtedly prepared me in some sense to be with my wife, who is all of the above but more so. Surge barely outlived that young relationship.
Surge would be my equivalent of the madeleine in Proust, were it not discontinued. For me, the memories bring back the taste, instead of vice-versa. It’s strange, but years later, I can still remember that taste, along with the sense of being alive in my body, in love with someone who loved me, and for the first time feeling that I belonged in exactly the time and place I was. You’ll therefore forgive me if, perhaps, I remember the girl, the drink, and the relationship as all tasting a bit sweeter than they really did.