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Hatteras Fish Fry

The Hatteras (North Carolina) Volunteer Fire Department has a fish fry every Saturday from Memorial Day until Labor Day. They start selling the fish dinners at 5PM and sell them until they run out of fish. The fish is brought in that day from local fisherman and cooked behind the firehouse.

People start lining up for the fish fry well before five to make sure they get their dinner before they run out of fish. I recently stood in line while visiting Hatteras on vacation. I stepped into line about 15 minutes before 5 o’clock and was behind about 50 people. I was thinking that maybe I should have stepped into line about 15 minutes earlier than I did.

The people waiting in line seemed to be a mix of people on vacation, people who may have had second homes in the area, and people who lived in Hatteras full time. I was standing there by myself and listening to a group behind me who seemed to be there on vacation like me.

It is sometimes hard for me to be standing in a group like that alone and not feel self-conscious. The easy thing would be to reach for my phone and start looking at Twitter. Then I would not feel like the new kid in school who is looking for a place to sit in the crowded lunch room.

I decided to do the harder thing for me and stand there in the sun, look around at the Village of Hatteras, and notice things. The group behind me was talking about a traffic island in the middle of the road across the street from the firehouse that was landscaped in a certain way. They were able to pick out some of the plants in the island but were having trouble identifying one particular plant. I have an app on my phone called “Picture This” and I thought this would be a good time to show it to them. I mentioned it to the woman directly behind me. I showed her how it worked and then crossed the street to the island and took a picture of the plant. The app then identified the plant and I held out the phone to the woman and she saw the plant was “Fountain Grass”.

We then had a nice chat about the app, the plant, and the different guesses we had for what kind of purple plant was sitting in the traffic island. The woman mentioned to me that she is a science teacher and she was going to download the app and use it in her classroom.

After we chatted for a couple of minutes, I turned back around and waited for my fish fry. I was thinking that it was kind of ironic that I made a conscious decision to not use my phone while standing in line and it ended up being my phone which helped me make a connection with another person. In the course of that connection with another, I was also able to help them find something new (the app on my phone) and may be something that they use on a regular basis going forward.

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