Before writing this I made sure to look up the definition of “transcendent” just to make sure that my story was accurate to describe a truly transcendent ice cream experience. It is defined as: exceeding usual limits, or extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience. Well I’d say this was an experience…or more so a person, that was far out of the ordinary, that was definitely involving ice cream.
In 2007 I was living in a small beach town on the Oregon Coast. Not many career opportunities were offered to me there with it’s population of around 1,700 and small businesses that closed at 6:00 pm. I tried to apply at a few art galleries around town. I love art immensely, but apparently I wasn’t snooty, I mean cultured, enough for their liking. I then thought of my second love, and applied at a quaint mom and pop ice cream / candy shop.
It seemed like an easy gig, scooping ice cream and refilling bins of taffy. Perks of the job were access to samples and one free cone of ice cream a day. The only drawbacks were being on my feet for hours, the potential pounds from that free daily scoop, and having one arm buffer than the other from scooping. One of my friends worked there as well so it was pretty fun and tasty for a while…at least until the boss’ son who was managing the store started coming around.
One could not attempt to reason what behooved this young man to be who he was. An almost 30 year old male, who’s closet boasted of an unlimited number of pastel polo shirts that were all a size too small showing his tummy, gold chains, product filled and highlighted hair that was in the process of falling out, and a beige minivan with the automatic sliding doors. (Because who has time to open and close doors manually on your minivan?) I hate to stereo type but we had always thought that he was a forever in the closet type. I mean what straight man gets that many spray tans and pairs of shoes?
We also wondered why he stuck around this small town where there was little prospect for much to happen other than old ladies trying to eat taffy. (Highly entertaining to watch by the way.) Maybe he liked the beach, or the carefree lifestyle of a small town, turns out it wasn’t the beach that was keeping him around. It was the ladies. One afternoon as we were closing up shop, and as I was scooping up my serving of Tillamok Peppermint Candy ice cream he cornered me. “Hey, Aubrey, can you stay after for a second I want to talk to you about something?”
My heart leapt, not in the good way, but in a, did he find out how much butter popcorn taffy I “sampled” today and now I’m getting fired, kind of way. I finished wiping the counters, gave my friend a panicked look and told her what was going on. She promised to wait for me outside while my impending conversation was happening. I walked over to put the broom I was using away and braced for impact. “Are you free on Thursday night to hang out?” he inquired. I froze, realizing this was not the conversation that I had anticipated, and also that he might have been curling his eyelashes. “Ooooh um, well… I have a thing going on, all day, Thursday… it’s a Bible study thing so, …yah I’m busy. Sorry.” backing away from him as quick as I could, dropped the broom and bolted.
However awkward this interaction was it would not be his only attempt. He asked a few more times, then after being deflected he got crafty and tricked me. “What night are you able to do something then?” he asked. There was no clever and diverting way to softly back out of it. Then, unfortunately, my friend popped into the conversation with an invite to see a movie that night with all of us. Before I could get a handle on the situation, he accepted. Though I was slightly relieved to not have to spend time with him alone, I became uncomfortable with the prospect of him being in any kind of close proximity to me while in the dark.
We all packed into the minivan, let the automatic doors work their automatic door magic, and headed towards the 7:30 show time of Blades of Glory. We watched him hopefully during any scenes involving gay humor to see if he showed any signs of solidarity or interest, but mostly it was just glances at me he fancied. Most of the night was uncomfortable for me but I made it through without him trying to hold my hand or ask me on any other dates. This might have been because I awkwardly avoided sitting next to him and in general most of the night. Sometimes you just don’t know how to react to some peoples advances and you pull a Nick Miller “moonwalk” type move while not making eye contact, and nervously giggling. Sometimes being an awkward individual pays off. This time it kept spray tanned, manicured 30 year old hands off of my pale 19 year old body.
After that there were no more invites and my behavior proved successful. He’s probably still there in that small town, popping his pink collar, dispersing his good patch of hair over the rest of his head and bating young college girls out on more minivan dates with the promise of taffy and a 401K…and hopefully not reading many blogs.