Yesterday, for the first time in my recorded memory I had an ice cream cone that bored me.
Both Bill and I are on a diet. However, yesterday I decided to give ourselves a little treat. After dinner, I asked Bill is he would like to get an ice cream cone. We have a dairy farm about a mile away that serves fresh, home made ice cream. This is not low calorie ice cream. When you're on a diet, the only way the diet works is that you have to give yourself a little treat every now and then. Yesterday was that time.
So I rev my new Subaru Forester and we take off Dairy Cream Road (yes, that is the name of the road to the dairy farm - very original.) The time is about 6:30 pm, the end of another of our seemingly endless long, hot, and humid summer days. The dog days of summer. A perfect time for a cold ice cream cone.
We get to the dairy farm and I see a problem right away. The place is packed. I find in my older years, that not only does the extreme heat and cold bother me more but crowds also stress me out. Especially crowds with a lot of antsy kids running about and screaming. Yesterday was no exception. I walked right into the Trap.
I park my Forester and get out and head to the ice cream stand which is located immediately to the left of the cows in the barn. This being the end of another hot and humid summer day, the odor of the cow poop was particularly strong. In fact, the fresh Farm Smell was making me light headed. That along with the families with the little kids and all those baby voices talking at once and scooting around the place was causing me to think I made a Big Mistake.
I go to one of the windows. There is a family of about 15 at that window. They want every concoction and different flavor of ice cream that the farm made. I wait patiently. Finally, after the last Little Darling got their scoop of creamy goodness, it was my turn. The young girl at the window was pleasant enough when she said to me "Hi! How are you? What would you like?" Well, this was different. When we used to go for ice cream last year I was always waited on my some faceless young girl (why is it that only girls work these ice cream stands and not young guys? Just wondering.) She usually gave me a tired look and said "Yes?" Maybe business dropped off because of this kind of sullen customer service and someone advised them to perk up the customer service angle. Whatever.
So I tell her "I would like a double dip of black raspberry." For me, brings back memories of my childhood when after picking raspberries with my Mom and Pop and brothers they would treat us to an ice cream cone at a local gas station on Rt. 322 right outside of West Chester, PA.) I told her I wanted a double dip of banana ice cream for Bill.
She scoops out the ice cream and gives me my cones. Already they're melting in the summer heat.
I quickly go back to my car where Bill is waiting for me. I hand him his cone through the window. I stand outside and lick my cone because I don't want to take a chance on any black raspberry ice cream dripping on my new gray car upholstery. I didn't dare ask Bill to step out, I didn't want to get into an argument tonight.
As I was standing outside my Subaru, a local, tattooed, flabby red neck brushes by me and says something to me. I didn't understand what he said but I sensed by his tone of voice and body language and the way he looked at me it wasn't something kind or complimentary. I turned and looked at him and he gave me a sneer and look at Bill. "What's his problem?" I thought. Then it dawned on me. Bill and I were the only couple there that was male. Well actually he was there with three other guys who were seated at one of the picnic tables and were looking at us. Uh oh. I think I know what was going on. Bill and I were out of our Safety Zone and now in Straight Country. Only families need apply.
You see, Bill and I live on the east side of Rt. 1 in a new development in a diverse community. In our community there are four gay and lesbian couples that I know of. There are several black families. Our neighbor directly across our house are a husband and wife doctor team who happen to be Muslim. Most of our other neighbors are retirees I only know of two families in our neighborhood who have small children. In other words, we live in a "mixed" neighborhood. And today we ventured into Sussex County. We crossed over Rt. 1 and then Rt. 9 and deep into Redneck territory. We were out of our element. Apparently what my tattooed friend said was a reminder of that fact.
I wasn't in the mood for THAT attitude yesterday. My Mom's dying, this heat and humidity this summer has been brutal, I'm trying to stretch my retirement income and part time job income into paying every increasing bills and this Sussex County Yahoo is going to remind me that I'm out of place? I glared back at him daring him to say anything else to me. I wasn't going anywhere.
Here in our little area of Rehoboth Beach we have what is called Camp Rehoboth. They like to think that they have made the area safe for gays and lesbians. That's what they LIKE to think. In reality all they are is a clique of mostly Washington D.C. gays and lesbians who like to go to each others parties and raise funds to keep Camp Rehoboth going. They're more interested in drag shows and their various faux causes in Rehoboth than the real life I encountered at the dairy farm yesterday. I reality I faced down my very own display of homophobia yesterday deep in Sussex County. Not to brag on myself but this is what I have been doing most of my adult life (since I came out at 21 years of age.)
I have to admit that I was lulled into a false sense of security and safety living as I do in our diverse community east of Rt. 1. Yesterday was just another rude reminder that homophobia is alive and well. Even in "enlightened" southern Delaware.
As a result of this drama yesterday, for the first time in my life the ice cream I ate was tasteless. Oh, it tasted like black raspberry ice-cream. It was cold and creamy and had the fresh taste of black raspberries. But I was bored eating it. I wanted to throw it away. I didn't. I finished it. But I didn't enjoy it.
Maybe I'm getting too old for this blind hatred I have endured all my life from ignorant and hateful people like yesterday. I am just so tired of them.