Banana Splits For Dinner

And no cherry on top.

Delicious ice cream crafted with apathy and topped with obliviousness.

In my family we have a tradition of having banana splits for dinner on the first day of school. I’m not sure how the tradition got started, but it always took the sting out of having to go back and sit in a classroom (usually) with no air conditioning in the hottest part of August after a summer of playing outside and going to the beach.

Originally the tradition was to have the ice cream instead of dinner: there was no requirement to eat ones vegetables first. The novelty of eating a meal entirely of ice cream lasted until high school at which point we would sheepishly ask if we could have, you know, normal food first. And in college the tradition became impractical. None of us went to school locally so the first days of school were typically spent moving into a dorm room which was not conducive to elaborate ice creams.

In all honesty I don’t think I’ve had a banana split in years. Not a proper one, anyway: if I’m going to have ice cream why louse it up with a bunch of fruit? After being given an ice cream maker as a gift I have become a complete ice cream snob as well: only the richest and creamiest will do. None of this low fat low sugar slow churned artificial texture enhancer versions will do. (Incidentally I recently read the ingredient list on non-dairy creamer: it’s horrifying!)

Anyway, when it came to grad school I was a bit nostalgic to reinstate the tradition. Sadly my first day of school was so long that by the time I got home I was in no position to be eating a lot of rich dairy products so I compromised with myself: I would enjoy a banana split on the weekend after surviving the first week of classes instead of just the first day.

This plan turned out to be a good one. We had received notice that today would be a planned power outage so that the power company could work on updating the local infrastructure. From 5am until 5pm we were to be without power and were expected to plan accordingly. True to their word, at 5am we were awakened by the sudden thunderous silence of all our box fans falling still. The sun hadn’t risen and the morning was already warm and without the slight breeze we had cultivated with the judicious use of fans it quickly became oppressive.

What possessed the powers that be to choose the hottest day of the hottest month of the year to accomplish this is beyond my capacity to understand. We decided to go out to breakfast so that we could avoid cooking and avoid opening the refrigerator and so we could benefit from someone else’s air conditioning for a while. Eventually we had to return home, though, For several hours we just sat very still and tried to think cool thoughts and nap only to wake up to find imprints of our bodies on the bed and couch in damp outlines of sweat.

We considered our options: we could go and see a movie which would pass several hours and allow us to be in a cool place. Suddenly it became very apparent why movies were so popular in the thirties when air conditioning was uncommon in homes. We didn’t really want to spend that kind of money, though. The Curmudgeonly Lion suggested that we go out for ice cream and find a place we could sit and just watch the world go by. This eventually led us to The Mall in search of a Dairy Queen.

My experiences of malls in general and the local mall her in town in particular have not been good. The service is almost universally bad. Today’s service was an exceptional low. Every time I go to the mall I take my wedding ring to the jewelers to have the setting inspected to maintain the warranty on the stone. The process takes less than five minutes even with the “ultrasonic” cleaning that they give it. We waited at the counter for ten minutes for a sales representative- any sales representative- to make eye contact with us.

I was glad that I’d brought a book.

Eventually they took the ring and told me it would take thirty minutes. We were in no rush, but didn’t say so. Stay with me, I’ll make a point eventually.

We meandered down to the food court to where the Dairy Queen was. The counter had two registers but it quickly became apparent that only one of the representatives behind the counter was fully trained.

“I’d like a banana split.” I asked of the fully trained employee.

He didn’t wait to take the Curmudgeonly Lion’s order. Instead he immediately began to demonstrate to the trainee how to construct a banana split. He brought it to the counter.

“Four ninety nine.” He said.

“Well- um-” I pointed to the Curmudgeonly Lion who was still waiting to order.

A woman had walked up to the space between the registers beside us. She waved a bill at the cashier and asked if she could get quarters. The cashier nodded and took the bill.

“He’s going to get something too.” I tried to pull the cashier’s attention back to us. I wondered if we were wearing tee shirts that secretly read: Ignore Us Please.

“No, actually I’m not.” The Curmudgeonly Lion said. “We walked all the way over here looking for a Dairy Queen, but clearly you don’t want my business.”

The cashier mumbled an apology of questionable sincerity.

I paid.

We left.

The Curmudgeonly Lion elected to get a fully loaded Frozen Yogurt from the stand fifteen feet away. So it was not the most savory ice cream experience we have ever had, but I did manage to have my celebratory banana split


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 31, 2013.

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