I am a very sentimental person. I have a 30 pound box full of keepsakes I have collected since being a young child. I have playlists of music separated by emotions and periods of my life. I have kept all of my movie and event tickets for the past 10 years. It’s disgusting. I could probably be classified as a mild hoarder simply because I cry easily and if anything makes me the slightest bit weepy with nostalgia I cannot seem to get rid of it.
With these personality traits you would expect me to love traditions; however, I have recently come to the conclusion that traditions are just a way of convincing yourself that you can relive the happier times of the past through something that presently causes very little joy.
Take monkey bread for example. My family makes monkey bread every Christmas morning after reading the Bible and opening stockings and before opening presents.
We have been doing this for as long as I can remember. We have also only successfully made monkey bread about 3 times that I can remember. This past Christmas we burnt sugar so bad it caused the fire alarms to go off and the whole house to fill with smoke. Yet we continue to make it.
I am not saying that the tradition itself is a bad one. I thoroughly enjoy that time I get to spend with my sisters- while we each play our designated role in the construction of the desert (let’s face it, it is only pretending to be a breakfast food. Also I am always on biscuit cutting duty, which is the best duty tbh). I am saying however, that sometimes it is time to admit that the tradition should be annulled. Or at least modified…(Maybe our tradition can be almost setting our house on fire each Christmas).
Despite what I just said, not all traditions are bad. Some traditions should remain in place for all eternity if only for the karma that will inevitably punch you in the face if you attempt to divert from the plan.
My grampa has been taking me to Dallas Maverick basketball games since I was 5 years old. Once Ava and Edie came along (and turned 5) they got to come too. This was much easier when we lived in Dallas, but even since being in Austin, we have gone once a year.
This past weekend was our annual game. I drove the girls to Dallas, while we un-apologetically listened to the Jonas Brothers for the majority of the trip (their reunion has been the happiest thing that has happened to me in a month. Which is probably pathetic. But also they were my first concert 10 years ago so I’m sorry not sorry).
We made it to Dallas, hung out with my grandfather, ate Chipotle (another tradition), then headed to the game.
When we got there and found our seats, we decided to get our game snacks. Here is where yet another tradition rears its head. Except we chopped this head off mercilessly, resulting in imminent retribution.
Our game snack for 15 years has been cotton candy and soft serve ice cream that is mostly made up of M&Ms and served in a basketball bowl. Yes, I acknowledge these snacks are flawed. I also acknowledge that this tradition probably stemmed from my grandfather trying to placate a crying grandchild so he could actually watch some basketball, so no judgement from me.
Here is where everything went wrong. American Airlines had installed a Slurpee booth since our last visit. (You should know upfront that my sisters and I love Slurpees so much that we would prefer for Slurpees to take the place of the blood in our bodies).
That is when we made the decision to get Slurpees instead of soft-serve. (I ended up not getting one because they only had Coke and I am a Dr Pepper drinker FOR LIFE). We left the stand, the girls each holding a 32oz cup of frozen sugar syrup, and we made our way back to our seats.
The game started. I was excited to finally get to see Luka Doncic play after hearing all of the hype. Around the second quarter they decided to drop parachutes out of the sky in the stadium. (For those who have never been to a Dallas Mavs game, they tend to shoot t-shirts out of cannons, and drive around blimps inside, and parachute goodies to the fans). This game, they just so happened to start dropping boxes of Tiff’s Treats cookies from the rafters, sending my sisters into a sugar-induced frenzy.
They hopped up out of their seats screaming “COOOOKIES,” as they dangerously reached over the glass barrier in front of us trying to catch a package. As they flailed their arms, their sweet tooth taking over their actions, Ava accidentally knocked the remaining 28 ounces of her Slurpee straight into Edie’s seat.
Edie’s jacket filled with sticky, sugary, syrupy juice. Her chair soaked up what little managed to miss her ONLY winter coat. In the freezing Dallas weather.
Edie proceeded to gripe at Ava for the next 10 minutes, complaining about her inability to sit all the way back in her seat, and about the stickiness on the bottom of her shoes.
Me: “At least you didn’t get any on you.”
Edie: “Yeah but my jacket is sticky.”
Ava: “Well I didn’t get to finish my Slurpee, so who’s the real loser here…”
Literally the *second* Edie got over it, and back into the game, she jumped up to cheer and knocked HER 32 ounce Slurpee into my seat. While I was sitting in it. With all of my belongings.
My jacket, in the cruelest twists of fate, was coated in the same way as Edie’s.
My left thigh was soaked with Coke syrup.
My sparking personality was extinguished as I jumped up to avoid any further damage.
Ava: (laughing) “At least its not cold outside”.
At this point all of the people around us either felt sorry for us, or hated us. Or probably both. I grabbed our jackets and Edie’s hand and we went to the bathroom to try to wash what we could off of our coats. I ripped paper towels out of the dispenser for about 5 straight minutes then we weaved our way back to our seats, apologizing profusely to everyone we passed and accidentally grazed with our wet, sticky jackets.
I placed the paper towels at our feet, trying to mop up the syrup river than was snaking its way to our neighbors seats.
That is when I noticed that the gentleman next to me had TAKEN HIS SHOES OFF. In the stands. In the middle of the basketball game. IN PUBLIC. With the ground coated in liquid sugar.
I pretty much decided then to just accept the fact that this was quite possibly the most uncomfortable game I had been too so far, but foolishly hoped for redemption of the evening. That’s approximately when the Mavs began to play one of the worst games I have seen in the 15 years of attending pro basketball games. Not only did they play embarrassingly terrible, they proceeded to lose to the Grizzlies by 30 points. We left after the final buzzer and I audibly heard fate laugh at us as we passed by the soft serve ice cream stand. It had been shut down.
It was raining as me and Edie walked back to the car, adding wet to the long list of adjectives currently describing our physical states.
As I trudged through the mist I thought about monkey bread and traditions and realized that maybe traditions are not solely for the wave of nostalgia they produce, but for the assurance that familiarity drastically reduces the chances of everything hitting the fan.