This recent presidential election highlighted an intense divide in our nation.
It is now more clear than ever that some people are Democrats, some people are Republicans, some people are vampires and some people are humans who love them.
But the one thing we can agree on across the political and mythical spectrum is that everyone enjoys a good bowl of soup.*
This is why 3-7 nights out of the week you can find me at the Hale & Hearty Soup on 23rd and Madison, taking up an obscene amount of window-seats with a hoarder’s cocktail of bags, coats and empty soup containers, dunking my chicken salad sandwich into a jumbo container of Tomato Cheddar soup with a fervor that can only be described as “NSFW.”
My neighborhood Hale & Hearty Soup is like Cheers! where everybody knows your name, only here absolutely no one knows who you are or gives a sh*t about you, and there is a surly Hispanic teen named Marco whose sole purpose, it seems, is to remind you of this.
The scenes of sexual tension between me and the aforementioned Marco usually go something like this:
Me: Hey there! How’s it going?
Marco: (surly and wearing a hairnet in silence, staring ahead)
Me: So what’s good today?
Marco: (dead eyes, more silence, more staring, thrusts hand at board)
Me: Alright! I think I’ll try a sample of the loaded baked potato! Sounds cheesy!
Marco: (removes lid from vat of soup and slams it down, throws ladle into liquid, slops soup into a tiny plastic cup and skids it across the counter at me)
Me: (catching cup) Woo! Looks good today. (sips) I’ll take a large one of this please! This’ll get the juices flowing for my writing today!
Marco: (rolls eyes and speaks flatly) 7-grain or sourdough
Me: Sorry, what?
Marco: (annoyed) I said, 7-grain or sourdough
Me: Oh, both please!
Marco: (looks me up and down and tosses both breads on counter with disgust)
Me: Thanks bro! (goes for fist bump)
Marco: (systematically denies fist bump and shifts entire body away from me)
Despite this particular love-hate relationship, there is a striking sense of camaraderie among soup-lovers. It seems that hot, savory, liquid truly transcends race, gender, age and sexual preference.
As if to prove this, at the present moment this Hale & Hearty crew* consists of: a serial-killer-esque man in a a trench coat silently watching his Asian girlfriend eat soup in the studious and determined way of someone plotting how to murder their next victim, a 20-something blonde woman in post-workout gear pawing at her lentil soup, and a small Indian child in a stroller screaming for his mother.
As I sit, staring at them from my window perch, with traces of Tomato Cheddar around my mouth, looking out the window at trash bags piled outside on the sidewalk, the dog with three legs, and the woman who looks like she bathed with a can of tuna, I am overwhelmed with a sense of hope and unity for our country.
It reminds me of Obama’s famous speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 where he said, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there are people who like soup and then there are people who are idiots.”
So I sit back, comforted by the fact that I am that small Indian child, I am that creepy white dude, I am that … Ok I am not that girl in workout gear.
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*For vampires, that’s blood soup.
*As I call them. I got us jackets but no one wears them.