In a race that you can’t win, slow it down
Yeah, you only get one go around
‘Cause the finish line is six feet in the ground
In a race you can’t win, just slow it down
“What I know about auto racing could be inscribed with a dry Magic Marker on the lip of a Coke bottle,” says David Foster Wallace, the same could be said for what I know about life, but I have a blog so let’s not quibble over tangential issues (nothing to do with gender), and move on to what really matters.
The invention of wipes. Wipes have to be up there next to sliced bread in my opinion. If it’s sticky, hand them a wipe. Something spills, wipe it up. If it’s melting, here’s a wipe.
I wish we had a sanitized wipe for removing change, which I don’t do well, because it’s sticky, and as a mother, this has been my perpetual nemesis.
I discovered something recently and since it is difficult to keep my thoughts to myself I thought I’d explore the whole viscid situation with you.
My little treasure was found in the midst of a story, as you know wisdom likes to hide in the nook and crannies of life, scrambling off when you get too close.
I call it my Ice Cream Theology, try not to judge, and right now I know three people who are absolutely cringing.
You know who you are.
Deal with it.
Yes, you’ll be glad to know the value of the next several passages is primarily to create suspense, so don’t just skim, Larry, read between the lines.
Here’s the crux of the situation.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE?
I don’t know about you but I have this illusion that I know what I like and when I like it. If you’re running with that thought remember what your Mother said about scissors.
This is important because sometimes we trip over our principles when we should be sauntering, savoring the many flavors of life, smelling the roses if you will.
It’s as if sharpening an entire box of yellow pencils but never using them. You know what I mean?
Our interests are often manipulated by our fears, fear of scarcity, fear of humiliation, fear of losing. For example, don’t you think racing at breakneck speeds around a snake-like track, with 50 other cars all vying for the lead, is the slightest bit crazy?
Well, that’s why we like it, it’s unpredictable, and we like to observe someone risking their neck from a safe distance. Just my opinion.
I’m about to expose my recent life crash, one that kicked me to the curb, and left me questioning my surly disposition.
Follow Your Inner Moonlight
There are perhaps three important things you should consider doing in this life; figure out what you love, figure out who you love, and if you rub those two together, there’s a chance it will result in new life.
What else is there?
Well, there’s ice cream, and this is when it gets sticky.
If you could just comprehend how essential is it to courageously say no to what you don’t want, prefer, or need, then you can say yes without remorse when it is truly what you want, prefer, need at the moment. This was my go-to philosophy but as you can probably guess it’s about to all change.
My entire life my mother warned me, “don’t be cajoled into doing things you don’t want to do just because everyone else is doing it, you wouldn’t jump off a bridge just because everyone else decides to jump?”
If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it says Frank Zappa.
A girl should be two things: who and what she wants says, Coco Chanel.
I’ll change the names to protect the innocent.
So I find myself with the usual cast of characters one faithful night, we’ll call them Sim, Jue, and Carry. I would be Lheryl in this particular scenario. One nondescript hot afternoon we realized we had a wine club pick up on the other side of the lake. It was a nice day for a drive, so we all piled into Carry’s car, and we’re off to the races so to speak.
After spending an hour or so at the winery we stopped off at the Saw Shop in Kelseyville for a bite to eat. It was a delightful evening, finally starting to cool, with a slight breeze as we were seated on the open patio.
It’s all good but appearances can be deceiving.
As we’re making our way home along Highway 29 Sim, Jue, and Carry decide to make an unscheduled stop.
Not that I’m not a prude, much, because
everything nothing revolves around me, and I’m quite flexible all things considered.
This “unscheduled” stop involved a said famous ice cream parlor, renown for their homemade ice cream, and my companions were all in a frenzy to give it a try.
Here’s the deal, I wasn’t hungry.
If you don’t know what you like then for goodness sakes avoid what you don’t like, it’s at least a start.
I may have bemoaned the stop, loudly, and consistently but that had no effect on my companions.
We parked across the street from the “famous” parlor.
The neon sign obsessively flashing open, open, open, annoying me to no end.
Lheryl says, “I’ll wait in the car.”
Carry says, “what flavor do you want?”
“I don’t want any ice cream, I’m full.”
“You like orange sherbet right?”
“I DON’T WANT ANY ICE CREAM,” I may have raised my voice.
Off they go, skipping their way across the street as if a bunch of kindergartners, while I stay stubbornly put, with my seatbelt fastened, and a snarl on my face.
When they returned to the car all giddy with their delicious cups of frozen cream, Carry reaches back, and with all the audacity of a long-married spouse, he hands me a cup of orange sherbet with a bright pink plastic spoon.
Leryl repeats herself, “No thank you, I don’t want any ice cream.”
“Here, you have to try it, I bought it for you.”
I opened the door and set the sticky concoction on the curb. I know, I know, it’s not only childish, but it’s littering. And I never litter! And that was it, right there, that was the moment, as Bridget Jones would say, when everything changed.
Here I was, all puffed up with self-induced boundaries, ready to kick my scruples to the curb, God gave me a voice and as usual, no one is listening. This was a total lack of respect for my unwavering no. Right?
Yes, that’s where I went, lock, stock, and barrel.
But here’s the real deal.
I was wrong
As I said from the beginning, what I know about life could be inscribed with a dry Magic Marker on the lip of a Coke bottle. After weeks of reflection, bouts of unrepentant remorse (that’s a stretch but I did feel contrite), and endless badgering by said companions, I realized I was wrong.
As Maya Angelo says, when you know better you do better, because, in ice cream theology, sharing is the best part of it, connecting, discussing flavors, tasting, smelling, remembering our youth, laughing, smiling, feeling something that was frozen melt in your mouth.
It involves all the senses and is therefore worthy of our participation. You can be present to the ritual, but the only way it can change you is if you participate. It’s true for the sacraments, education, ice cream, and most importantly our relationships.
I was being a curmudgeon on a soapbox with no viable message.
To live is to learn and grow and unfortunately, the only way to grow is to allow for change.
Change requires a shift in our thinking, this is how we learn, it requires exposure, and the only way that we can be exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open, to the curb if you will.
Because life is a race that no one wins, and if you only get one go around, why not slow down, enjoy the unexpected stops? As Martha Graham says there is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, this expression is unique, and sometimes you have to allow your pretenses to melt.
Ice Cream Theology is expressed by the choices we make, because in the long race, it’s the choices that shape our lives, the process never ends until we die, and we get wiped clean.
Previously Published on cheryloreglia.blog and is republished on Medium.