I had a nightmare the other night. Those kinds of things tend to happen when you stay up late reading Stephen King novels like a middleschooler, huddled like a baby rat in a den of blankets, reading by the light of a flashlight. Jumping every time the heat comes roaring through the ducts, swinging on my wife when she unexpectedly asks me why I’m still awake. Sleep doesn’t come cheap or easy on nights like those.
In the nightmare, something is chasing me through the woods. Running full out in the moonlight, branches whispering past me, feet digging in the soft earth and all the while the creature bearing down on me, ever louder, ever closer. I trip, as we invariably do in those situations, and he’s upon me. Standing over me full and terrible in the silver light of the moon. His murderous yellow eyes search me up and down and he licks his swollen lips with a black and dripping tongue. I look down at myself only to realize I’m melting. Sticky and melting. A hunger fills his eyes and he lunges at me screaming. I scream! He screams! We all scream…
for ice cream…..
Boom!!!! And the award for weirdest ice cream post goes to…….
Dammit, almost had it.
Anyway, let’s talk about ice cream. The last few weeks I’ve had pretty bad luck with ice cream. I don’t mean that I’ve eaten terrible ice cream, or that I’ve gotten sick from it. Quite the contrary actually. I’ve had some pretty mind blowing confections. Fresh ice cream, inventive ice cream. Kind of stuff that makes you want to go all Banksy on a Baskin Robbins or go around T boning ice cream trucks before they pass frozen lies out to babies. Good stuff.
The trouble I’ve been having with ice cream doesn’t rest in the hands of the ice cream purveyor. It’s my fault. I lose my shit when I think I’m about to eat ice cream and invariably I do embarrassing, emasculating things. Last week for example, I was going to a place called Ice Cream Social, in Tacoma, which is fantastic (or, if you’re familiar with our sliding scale: Shit’s Bomb). I wandered feverishly to the large building that houses Social and a few other businesses, and, smelling ice cream, seeing red, I threw the door open and wandered into what turned out to be the tattoo parlor next door. A man with the words ‘shit happens’ tattooed on his FUCKIN FOREHEAD looked at me over the top of the dude he was scribbling on as I stood silhouetted in the doorway, trying to figure out where they kept the waffle cones. A Cessna towing a banner buzzed through my subconscious. The banner said: “This is the first time you’ve entered a tattoo parlor”. A 747 followed it with a much bigger banner that read, “THE ONLY REASON YOU’VE EVER ENTERED A TATTOO PARLOR IS BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS AN ICE CREAM SHOP”.
Later that same month, Krishan talked me into going to a place called Kurt Farm Shop in Seattle. There was still a big Hello Kitty bandaid on my pride from the Ice Cream Social incident and I was initially hesitant at the prospect of doubling down, but Krishan was insistent. The place had to be tried. So I made a quiet vow to myself that I’d keep it together this time. That I’d Liam-Neeson-Up, strut in there like they kidnapped my daughter, order something badass and eat it with subtle dignity in the parking lot.
Then the smell of ice cream hit me as we got out of the car and I felt the controls start slipping on me, little speed wobble, no biggie. Then I saw the menu by the counter, and the sirens started going off. Finally, Krishan wandered in there and started doing this shit:
And the whole thing left the rails.
First thing I did was start filming EVERYTHING like an idiot. The ice cream in the case, the decorations on the walls, the hallway leading to the actual stand. Everything. Halfway through a slow motion shot of some ice cream being scooped, a former Army Ranger and current heart-eating-face-punching-badass buddy of mine called me and ruined my video.
“You fucked up my shot,” I said into the phone.
“Whoah. What are you shooting at?”
“Oh, no. I was filming ice cream.”
I’m too far gone to feel shame at that moment. I put it in my pocket for later.
At the counter, I ordered a scoop of Flora’s Cheese (which had chunks of real cheese in it) and a scoop of berry. The combo was incredible. Like a berry cheese cake on a cone. My vow forgotten, I ate it aggressively upright in front of the counter. Parents made their kids look away. Somewhere on Kurtwood Farm on Vashon Island, the cow who produced the milk to make the ice cream found herself filled with a profound sense of shame that she couldn’t explain but knew she deserved.
“Together,” Krishan said.
“No man, you don’t have to do that.”
He waved me off, saying,
“Nah, you didn’t even want ice cream, I got this.”
Somewhere, beyond myself, I heard myself say,
“I’m an expensive date.”
And before I could reel that shit back in, the lady patted me on the arm and said,
“Honey, you should be.”
How do I keep doing this?
I look to Krishan for help, and I see him trying to explain that we’re food bloggers and that we’re not on a date. That we have wives at home. He looks her dead in the eyes and says,
Damn, ice cream fever. Got us both on that one.