Last week, Oscar and I went to Cold Stone Creamery for our first time in a good many moons. If there is such a thing as dream factories, Cold Stone is undoubtedly the product of said factories. So needless to say I was very pleased to be there.
When we walked in, it was late in the afternoon and a handful of people were waiting to be served. As we neared the line entrance, I noticed there were a bunch of kids hanging out: teenagers (cue “startled organ” music). The worker behind the counter (whom I remember very clearly as someone way too enthusiastic to be likable) cheerily shouted, “Hey guys! What is this, the 4:30 rush?” I grumbled something back, finding my place in line.
The worker was an older guy with very high, red cheeks and small, circular glasses. He wore the white uniform with a white paper hat and had a knack for making goofy comments and trying to make people smile, and other hate crimes against humanity of a similar sort. We’ll refer to him as Cold Stone Santa.
So anyway, there were a bunch of kids waiting, and Cold Stone Santa asked the girl next up in line, “What’s the occasion? You guys get out early from school?”
Oscar was standing next to me, and he turned to me and said with a straight face, “I’m 23.”
I busted up laughing as the girl explained they had a half-day at school. I couldn’t stop giggling until the hooligans standing next to me in line started horsing around. This one girl and this one dude were flirt-fighting, like they were pretending to be karate fighters or something. The one kid ended up bumping into me. After a few seconds, he said “Sorry,” and I just slowly turned to him, gave him an un-amused look, and turned back to Oscar.
Suddenly, all the rascals standing in line decided to sit down at the tables along the wall where the line is, and it was kind of like the sea parted. “Does that mean they’re not in line?” I muttered quizzically, and after deciding I wanted my ice cream stat, I slowly crept forward until I was behind the girl ordering. None of the hoodlums tried to karate chop me, so I figured they didn’t have enough nickels from their allowance money to afford ice cream and we were clear to order next.
Finally, the girl finished her order and Cold Stone Santa had his fill of tormenting her, so Oscar and I were up. He ordered first, asking for a “Love It” size of “Cookie Doughn’t You Want It,” which I don’t know how he said with a straight face. Then it was my turn, and I ordered a “Like It” size of chocolate ice cream with two scoops of peanut butter, because I take ice cream very seriously and don’t have time for tomfoolery.
Of course, Cold Stone Santa is one of those employees who makes comments about what people order, so he said, “TWO scoops of peanut butter? Your boyfriend’s not going to be able to call you ‘Sweetie’ anymore, he’ll have to call you… Peanut Butter! Or Jelly…” I could tell he was running out of material so I did my part and smiled. He kept talking as I thought to myself, “Okay, I smiled. What more do you want? Now quit holding my food hostage for your bad jokes and give me the ice cream.” So I mustered a “Ha ha” and with that, he finally forfeited it to me and we paid.
Oh yeah, Oscar’s cousin Jeeves was with us too, but I kind of forgot about him until we left because he was waiting for us near the door. I guess Jeeves doesn’t believe in happiness because he didn’t want any ice cream.
In any case, Jeeves witnessed the whole thing and reported that the play-fighting that took place earlier resembled some sort of mating ritual to him and he was just as mystified by the whole shenanigan. Jeeves is also older so he is 30% more cynical about young folk than Oscar and I are.
As we walked to the car, the sun beat down on us on that early spring day, and our gaze was captured by the Chik-fil-a atop a majestic hill above us. “Hey, let’s go to Chick-fil-a,” Jeeves chimed. Jeeves is just the kind of person to suggest going to a different food establishment when we are already at one. But Oscar is a good cousin and took us there.
When we entered the Chik-fil-a, there was a crowd of people: screaming toddlers and their frantic parents. We exchanged a look with one another, and went through the drive-thru instead.