Yesterday afternoon I lost my work flow. It often happens around 3 in the afternoon, especially on days when I don’t have any meetings or coffee meet-ups planned. I pinged Rasmus but he was about to go into a meeting at work, but he said quickly, “take a break, water the plants, go for a walk.”
So I did. Well, I didn’t water the plants (I already had in the morning) but I did grab a few things, slip on my shoes and head out the door, neatly avoiding a lady ringing on every apartment door to do a survey. “Vouz partez?” she asked as I skipped past her. “Oui!” I declared and didn’t stop to let her persuade me to answer a few questions in my limited French. You might say it was divine timing.
I wandered up to a nearby cemetery, long sprawling peaceful avenues of willow trees and pine trees, with the sound of a fountain somewhere in the distance and the place nearly deserted except for eight or so gardeners. I wandered the rows and read the names and wondered about their lives and decided this was a peaceful place to rest.
On the way back down the hill I debated stopping in at one of the four petrol stations within 100m of our house, to buy an ice cream. The negatives are obvious: holiday season is right around the corner and I want to look slim in all my colourful summer outfits and the bikini. But the plus sides are, it’s ice cream. On a hot day.
Ice cream won and I stepped into the second one I came to and after an agonising moment of weighing the many pros and cons of each variety, I went with the magnum classic, a safe but satisfying choice.
There cannot be many feelings more wonderful than the first bite of an ice cream on a hot day. The chocolate cracks beneath your teeth (careful not to loose any – the hidden danger of magnums) and then the sweet vanilla underneath. I started it on my way up the stairs to our flat and then sat on the balcony and watched the clouds skate by as I finished it off.
Ice cream, for me, comes with so many good and happy memories, that it can be an immediate mood booster. I remember my Grandpa, every time we visit, telling is to remind him to take the ice cream out of the freezer before dinner (it being kept soooo cold that it takes hours to soften enough for a spoon to take more than icicles) and, when we were little, making up funny names for the flavours: mint choc chip became slime flavour, chocolate was mud pie.
I remember the glorious sound of the ice cream truck on hot summers days in my home village. You could here the tinny off-key nursery rhymes from three streets away and we’d beg our parents to let us get one today. There was a fudge flavoured ice-lolly that I favoured. Or if I had a few extra pennies I’d go all out for the screwball, which came with a bubble gum in the bottom, forbidden by my parents so extra desirable.
I remember as a teenager, the mother of two guy friends I knew invited me over for the afternoon. Without them there. It was a completely novel experience, to be hanging out with an adult that I was not related to and I loved it, this feeling of someone taking me seriously, wanting to hear what I had to say. We made ice cream together, the first time I can remember doing so, churning it by hand so that my arm ached for hours afterwards.
I remember evenings last summer in Florida, when Rasmus and I would make late-evening trips to the Love Boat ice cream parlour. A rickety old building, tucked between two second-hand boat yards, we’d never have been tempted onto that road unless multiple colleagues of Rasmus’ had not demanded we try it. And oh my was it ever good. I’ve never really minded that shops close early here. My American friends living in Europe complain mightily and I know it must be an adjustment when you’re used to 24 hour convenience, but it makes sense to me, and I like the rhythms of the day and week it creates. But memories of the Love Boat ice cream parlour makes me long for somewhere to make late-night romantic spontaneous trips out for.
So tell me, do you have a favourite ice cream memory?