Yesterday evening we decided to have a picnic dinner in the park by the river. We stopped by Popeye's to pick up some fried chicken. That's when the trouble began.
We ordered. Then we waited. Then we waited some more. Other people ordered. They waited. The AC wasn't working. It was hot and smoky. An alarm kept going off intermittently. There was no ice. There were no onion rings. There were no napkins. They had mixed up the spicy and the mild. More people ordered. More people waited. The kids started climbing on the tables. This went on for a very long time. After a while, the whole restaurant was full of people standing around, waiting for chicken.
And no one got mad. There was a bit of sass, to be sure, "What are you waiting on?" "I'll take whatever you got, darlin'" or "They gotta go catch the chicken," but there was no overt malice. About half an hour rolled by. Finally, we got some semblance of our order and went on our merry way.
Something about this scene strikes me as quintessentially New Orleans: an acceptance of that over which one has no control, a willingness to take life's setbacks with easy good-nature, a (possibly excessive) tolerance of the incompetence of others, and a determination to do whatever it goddamn takes to get good fried chicken.