sometimes i think my life is like a pint of ben and jerry’s. well, not just any pint.
once i got a really wicked sweet tooth and bought a pint of ben and jerry’s cinnamon buns ice cream. this was unusual because i am not generally the sort to purchase ice creams not of the fruity sorbet variety. occasionally i will get vanilla, and if i ever do get a chocolate craving, usually while pms-ing, i will get rocky road or something. i almost never deviate from this, since most fad ice cream flavors tend to be disappointing (curse you baskin-robbins rainbow strawberry pop rocks sorbet!).
anyway, i bought the cinnamon buns ice cream at the 7-11 by joe’s old place right when we first started dating. it was late at night and we were watching a movie with the AC blasting, as this was right in the middle of last summer’s heat wave. i started in on the pint, completely forgoing the formality of a serving dish. you will note the early level of comfort i felt with joe. upon my first bite, i knew something was wrong. the ice cream wasn’t creamy at all, but rather icy, emitting a slight crunching noise as a dug in. i took this to mean it had been over-frozen, and surely beneath this glacial crust i would find a world of perfectly frozen, silken cream, with a caramel swirl and tiny balls of sweet, spiced dough dispersed throughout. i dug and dug with my plastic spoon until the slushy sound of spoon meeting frost became almost deafening, but still i had encountered not one single precious bun. my mind was racing. what could this mean? had they mislabeled the ice cream? was it so ancient that the buns had disintegrated into sad, sticky pools of cinnamon? was joe sitting on the other side of the bed discretely watching in horror as i tore into the pint with increasing urgency?
at this point i was no longer placing spoonfuls into my mouth, having abandoned all hope that the icy texture would ever give way. still, i plowed along, pushing the ice cream with the back of my spoon, with no idea why, really. it was then that i discovered my first cinnamon bun, then another, then another, until i saw that they all lay entombed at the bottom of the frigid pint. i had my answer. clearly, the entire thing had at some point melted, sending the suspended pastry nuggets careening to the bottom, and had then been re-frozen, causing the ice cream to become unnaturally hard.
this is how i think of my own existence sometimes. there was so much potential in the beginning, then at some point i lost all control, seemingly losing all things good, which in turn caused me to become hardened and doubtful. for several years now, i feel like i have been trudging along, digging through the refuse, finding ribbons of sweetness, but still searching for something substantial, something that would give me meaning and indicate somehow that it wasn’t all for nothing.
the analogy is imperfect, for in reality, at the end of my ben and jerry’s journey, i was grossed out by the realization that the ice cream had once been a melty mess, refused, of course, to eat the disgusting wads of dough at the bottom, complained about it to a completely understanding and compassionate joe, and even considered angrily marching back into 7-11 to demand a refund or replacement. unfortunately, in the case of life, there are no refunds, and i am hoping that when and if i find what i’ve been looking for, it will be awesome and delicious, as opposed to a sticky mess. some days, i think my time for “cinnamon buns” will never come, that i will never figure out what career i’m supposed to have, make any money, or live up to my fading potential.
then, i think maybe that’s not what the point is at all. maybe the point is amassing in one’s life a certain number of people who you would not be ashamed to sit in front of and lay waste to an entire pint of ice cream, cursing all the while, just to find one stupid fucking cinnamon bun that might not even be that great in the end. these people will be there to listen, love you through it all, and maybe even walk you back to 7-11 with the receipt, should you be so inclined.