Last night at the Laundromat, Andrew went out to get something from our car and had an encounter with a combative Sacramentan. “Nice bumper sticker,” the guy said, climbing out of a car whose backseat was stuffed with piles of newspapers. He was referring to our “Keep Tahoe Blue” sticker and not, as you might think, our “The Christian Right Is Neither” sticker that graced our bumper when we bought the car.
“Thanks,” Andrew said. “It’s for a good cause.”
“Yeah,” the combatant said. “But I wish they’d’a done the sticker right. The lake isn’t blue, it’s clear. It should say ‘Keep Tahoe Clear.’”
“Actually, the lake is blue,” Andrew said.
“No, it’s not. If the water was blue, there’d be a problem. Do you drink blue water? Do you? What color's the water you drink--blue?” He got up close to Andrew's face, then turned and touched the sticker as though he was considering pulling it off.
I must point out here that Andrew and I have never been under the impression that the water is blue, that if we scooped water into a cup it would resemble a cup of Gatorade Ice. The water's clarity allows it to reflect the sky and environment dramatically. “But it looks blue,” Andrew said, rolling up his sleeves, preparing to Mix In.
“But the water isn’t actually blue,” the man insisted. "It should be 'Keep Tahoe Clear.'"
Having reached this impasse, Andrew rolled down his sleeves and instead reached for his MBA and his patented Littell Shrug-and-Smile. “It’s marketing,” he explained. “It just works this way. If it said ‘Keep Tahoe Clear’ I wouldn’t have donated to the cause and gotten the sticker. You see? Keep Tahoe Blue. It’s good. It’s good marketing.”
The Sacramentan bowed his head with a frown and continued on his way to—oh, who knows, a strip mall, or a recycling plant for his newspapers, looking out for his next worthy battle. Andrew rejoined me in the Laundromat, searching desperately for five—five!—missing socks, and announced he’d just gotten into a fight in the parking lot. We finished our laundry. The socks weren’t actually missing, just inadvertently folded in with other things. Just another night in Sacramento.