I decided to stop by Snookies Malt Shop on my way home from errands Sunday evening. The line led out the store’s short driveway near Beaver Avenue and 41st Street all the way to Franklin Avenue, where the line bent around the corner.
Regular visitors to Snookies expect this sort of wait on a weekend with lovely weather. The night was a warm 75, with the humidity just between leaving the windows down and turning the air conditioner on.
Regular visitors also know that when the line backs up to the lights at Franklyn, cars should join the line on Franklyn rather than block the intersection with Beaver.
That’s what I did Sunday night with my windows down and Creedence Clearwater Revival playing on the car speakers.
The mood was mellow and despite the CCR lyrics, I truly felt like a fortunate son.
A horn blared in front of me. There was a guy with some other people in his little crossover SUV. He was ticked off that a guy in a larger SUV cut into the line by crossing at the light and pulling into the line ahead of the people who were wound around Franklyn.
This is rude by neighborhood standards, but it’s not a hanging offense.
Except this is the 21st century and everything is an excuse for outrage.
The man in the small SUV got out of his vehicle and cursed out the man in the big SUV.
The guy from the littler vehicle complained the guy in the bigger vehicle should go around the block and get behind the rest of us on Franklyn.
The people in the big SUV just looked confused and frightened. That tends to happen when somebody gets out of their car and starts yelling at you in your car.
In other cities, that’s how you get shot. In Des Moines, the guy taking the tongue lashing just rolled up his windows.
I thought about telling the yelling guy to relax and get back in his tiny SUV.
Then I remembered a lesson I too seldom forget: “You can never listen yourself into trouble.”
I wished I could have loaned the guy a copy of my Creedence CD. It’s hard to be in a bad mood listening to Creedence. I recommend it at almost any occasion.
This confrontation lasted only a minute or two, but it felt emblematic of how we behave toward one another these days.
Everyone seems to be looking to either become a victim about which they can complain about slights for all time, or they want to explode into rage so everyone else knows how important and righteous they are.
I don’t know what the fellow in the little SUV was so worried about. We were all in line for ice cream. That’s a treat.
You go to the ice cream store for fun. Maybe you had a crap day, and a sweet confection takes the edge off. Maybe you had a great day, and this is the capstone. Or maybe you just wanted something sweet.
There should be no anger at the ice cream shop.
It is not as if we were waiting for whole units of blood after our chopper went down behind enemy lines in ‘Nam. That’s a life-or-death situation. You triage that to see who needs treatment first.
We were waiting for soft-serve ice cream. If a guy cuts you in line, you’ll only have to wait a few more minutes to enjoy a delicious twist cone. No one will ever die having to wait a few more minutes for ice cream.
I think people in line for ice cream at 8 p.m. on a Sunday have some time on their hands. No one is at the bedside of a relative dying of cancer saying, “Hey, this could take a bit, let’s run and grab some ice cream and come back and see if grandpa is still here, OK?”
No one in line is an ambulance driver whose holding off responding to a heart attack so they can get a banana split.
These are people with a few dollars in their pockets and of the mindsets to have a cool treat on a spring night.
This should be all mellow.
The only time it’s acceptable to get upset at an ice cream shop is if you drop your cone on the ground before you get the first lick. That is a true tragedy.
I get the driver of the big SUV committed a neighborhood party foul.
Maybe the guy’s not from around here. I didn’t always know the accepted way to queue at Snookies.
Even if the guy did jump the line on purpose, I don’t think it’s something to let raise your blood pressure. Remember people, we’re getting ice cream here. This is supposed to be fun.
It took about a half hour for Snookies employees to clear out the line. By the time I got my ice cream, it was almost 9 p.m. The shop was closing.
The guy ahead of me got his treats. The guy who cut in ahead of him did, too.
I pulled over to the side of Snookies lot and turned up my Creedence as the wind blew through my open windows.
I let my trouble drift out on the lyrics of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”.
Figures those guys would have an answer for this silliness:
I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain …
Coming down a sunny day.