We’re sitting in Fuze Burger, munching on crab burgers and green fries.
At the table behind us, a group of African Americans are placing an order. One of the men orders sweet tea.
A few minutes later, the waiter returns with the gentleman’s drink. As he passes by our table, it occurs to me the young man is carrying the archetypal glass of tea.
The lip of the glass is crowned with a slice of lemon. The beverage itself is the color of fresh honey. In the center of it all, a core of ice spins slowly.
But when the waiter deposits the glass, the customer takes a test sip, makes a face, and pushes the drink away. “I said sweet tea.”
The waiter hesitates. “This is sweet tea.”
“This ain’t sweet where I come from,” the man says. “Bring me some sugar.”
The waiter returns with a canister of white crystals. The customer takes it, points the chrome snout downward, and pours a long, sinuous stream of powder through the air. Seconds pass. In the bottom of his glass, a mound of sugar slowly becomes a mountain.
He gives the concoction a stir, sips it, and nods with satisfaction. Beaming, he toasts the waiter. “There’s sweet,” he says, “and then there’s ghetto sweet.”