Saturday, June 1, 2013

SnoBall Logic at the Most Diverse Spot in Town

Photo Credit: Bill Arthurs
Waiting in line at Pandora in mid-city, I ponder my decision using SnoBall logic.  The choice isn't easy, but the process is always the same.
  1. What do I have to do later today? Is it OK if my teeth, lips, and tongue are green?  
  2. How much time is there between now and the next thing I have to do for which my lips, tongue and teeth cannot be green?  Will I be relatively back to normal?
  3. (If I cannot have a green face in my next appointment) Should I try the clear flavors?
  4. No.  They can't be as good.  The color is what makes it taste better.
  5. Maybe if I get a cherry or black cherry or strawberry or pink lemonade, people will think the color is just a healthy glow
  6. Maybe I should try a completely new flavor!  ....but what if I don't like it?
  7. Screw it.  I'm getting lime.
I order the small lime in a medium cup so I can bring it in the car, then move myself into the group of people waiting for our tasty treat to be announced by its flavor and size.
But then....
     8.  Oooh that guy's looks good!  I wonder what flavor that is!  

I turn and ask this perfect stranger, who looks totally different from me and with whom I would otherwise not  have any reason to interact, and from whom might even shy away, and boldly ask, "What flavor is that?"
He gives me a friendly smile, lets me know its vanilla orchid, and even offers me, a perfect stranger, a taste as he goes to the window to get a fresh spoon.
     9.  "SMALL LIME!", the window says. I shrug my shoulders as a 'thanks anyway' to the man. 
           Maybe next time.
    10.  Lime. Mmmmmmm soooo goooooood....

This is the tradition here in New Orleans, to bring the kids, your mom n'em, your co-worker, your tourist friend, your family, or just yourself to get in line and wait as long as you have to for our favorite summer treat.  During this visit, I took a moment to notice people.  I could tell that each of us in the group had a common goal, but drastically different lives.  There was an older couple getting out of a Mercedes to get in line with the rest.  They didn't ask for special treatment or jump the line privileges.  They wait in line like the rest of us, alongside a pregnant woman in her slippers with a gaggle of small children in pajamas who walked there to get an affordable treat for her family.  The gay couple in line next carry two small matching dogs in their arms. They let them down now and then to sniff the syrup spots on the ground next to two men in suits talking business and making deals. Behind me, a group of teenage schoolgirls flirt playfully with a group of teenage schoolboys.

Notice I didn't mention the color of the people. Color of skin seems to blend together, here, with the colors of the flavors we choose.  In this place, that woman is not black.  She's wild cherry with condensed milk. The couple with the dogs are not two white gay men with Pomeranians.  They're Tiger's Blood and Pina Colada with a small plain ice.  Everyone is hot and has no place to sit, but there are no grouches in this gumbo.

Could it be that the SnoBall stand is the most peaceful place on earth?