I’m a child of the South and proud of it. I’ve had as many glasses of tea as the next guy. But thanks to a wordsmith friend, I’m about to rock your beverage world (unless you’ve already thought of this).
A few years ago, a group of us were having lunch and the waiter asked what he’d like to drink. He said “tea.”
Now everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line knows what the automatic response to that it is: “Sweet or unsweet?”
This was not my friend’s first beverage rodeo and it was all he could do to contain himself. But he couldn’t let it go. “You know there is no such thing as unsweet tea, right?”
Insert dumbfounded look by waiter here.
“It’s either tea or sweet tea,” my boy said.
“Just give me unsweet,” he said.
In the months since, he has basically given up the fight. When we have lunch and the same transaction takes place, he just rolls his eyes. “It’s not worth it anymore,” he says.
He thought he was going to change the way the world — or at least the South — ordered tea, one Sweet ‘N Low pack at a time. Tea is tea; you can’t “unsweeten” it any more than you can take the leaven out of unleavened bread.
To him, the question should be “tea or sweet tea?” and everyone would live in harmony. Instead, he has to suffer through the same exchange every time eats out.
I feel for him because I’ve witnessed the pain he feels. But nobody said being a trail blazer was going to be easy. He knew that when he took this on.
The beverage ordering world can often be a lonely place.