Saturday, August 18, 2007

The ITHA meeting will now come to order

Hi, welcome to Iced Tea Haters Anonymous (ITHA). My name is Fiona Picklebottom and I'm an iced tea hater. Yes I hate iced tea. Unless it's prefaced by the words "Long Island." But that's another meeting.

My hatred of iced tea would have gone by unnoticed, probably for my entire life, had I not grown up in the south. In Charleston, SC, however, it is perfectly acceptable and even expected that one is offered nothing except iced tea to drink, whether in someone's home for an informal visit or at any type of gathering. Which means I must have said, "No, thanks, could I just have water?" about 974,649 times. Enough to have a T-shirt printed with those words to wear to those gatherings. Wish I'd thought of that then.

Iced tea (sweet, by the way, so it's also known as 'sweet tea' in the south) is such an expected part of the southern meal, that people just assume everyone likes it, and it gets served to you sometimes even when you ask for water. They just think you meant water in addition to your tea. I've even been to restaurants where a glass of iced tea was already at your place setting along with the usual glass of water. Or a pitcher of tea was on the table.

And the looks of absolute shock one gets when the words "No thank you," come out of your mouth in response to an offer of iced tea. It's like the person who offered suddenly does not know what to do. He or she is in a complete state of befuddlement. Sometimes their mouths will even open and close like a fish, like they feel the need to say something but for the life of them can't think of what.

The dislike of iced tea in the south is a sacrilege. Kind of like a southerner disliking grits. I go to that meeting, too.

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