Posts Tagged ‘gentrification’

Whar’s the Rocky Road ice cream!
Whar’s the Rocky Road ice cream! Whar’s the Chocolate Mint!
He stood bending over the ice cream freezer, rifling through the cartons, looking like a mountain man come down from the hills looking to replenish his supplies. Hairy, bearded, unkempt. In his left arm he clutched a matching dog, who watched calmly as its master became more and more agitated.
His accent was decidedly authentic, old-school Texan.
Whar’s the Rocky Road ice cream!!, he yelled again, his frustration evidently growing. Don’t yuppies eat Rocky Road ice cream?
No one answered.
I got in line with my purchase, an Apricot Ale, a decidedly yuppie purchase. He finally got in line behind me, a pint of ice cream in his off-dog hand.
Don’t yuppies eat Rocky Road ice cream! he yelled from his spot in line.
Again no answer.
When people yell you tend to think they’re angry and you’re inclined to want to run the other way, which was my initial reaction to him. But when I thought about his use of the term “yuppies” — a word I haven’t heard used in more than 20 years – and where we were geographically — I started to see the ice cream as a metaphor for his life. Yeah, he was loud but maybe this is a guy who is trying to express his frustration about losing things he knows in an area of the city that is transitioning. rocky road horizonMaybe he’s lived here all of his life and now all of these people with money are moving into the neighborhood. Maybe these yuppies are not only displacing his friends and family but they are also trying to replace everything with which he is familiar, like the ice cream he grew up with, with those yuppie flavors like Sea Salt Caramel Truffle.
Maybe it was something about his quest for Rocky Road in particular that hit me. When I was much younger that was my favorite ice cream flavor. Whatever the reason, something compelled me to turn around and address him.
I turned and asked, What kind of ice cream did you settle on?
He didn’t look so angry, standing behind me with that pint of ice cream in one hand and the dog in the other. He seemed surprised that anyone had acknowledged him.
Oh, he said.  Much more subdued. Chocolate Dutch, he said. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Yeah, you do, I said. I turned to the counter and paid for my purchase.
As I left the store I watched him approach the counter.
Don’t yuppies eat Rocky Road ice cream!? he yelled toward the clerk.
Still no reply.