This past weekend I was having a stoop sale with my very best friend, Jason. Half way through, I went on an ice cream run at the local parlor to buy cold treats for everyone who was hanging out with us for the day. It had been a great day selling all our old flashy costumes. Most of our friends showed up to hang out and shop, and now the lasty nasties were hanging around to watch the sun go down and help pack up.
I came back from the shop loaded down with a coffee tray full of cones. But in spite of how delicious my ice cream was, my experience in the shop had been absolutely terrible, and I had to share the story with the group.
“You will not believe what happened to me. I went into the store and the guy behind the counter says, ‘Kiki?’ And I said ‘No, I’m Lacy.’ He said he was sorry but I looked just like this customer Kiki who was a regular. They even named a float after her. Then he said if I came in enough they’d name a float after me.
“I said, ‘Cool, the Lacy float. I’d dig that.’
“Then he said, ‘Yeah but you’d end up gaining like 25 lbs.’
“‘Is that what happened to Kiki?’
“’So are you telling me I remind you of the fat girl?’
“Then he got all flustered and told me I was putting him in a tough spot.”
Everyone on the stoop was doubled over laughing at how, on a routine trip to buy ice cream, I wound up getting called fat. Then suddenly a voice popped up from behind one of our racks of clothes.
“I work at that ice cream parlor.”
I hadn’t even noticed, but there had been a bona fide hot dude working his way through all my old neon fringe and unitards. I felt instantly uncomfortable, but also strangely connected to this stranger who had been fingering a lot of my intimates.
He was tall and broad shouldered—so tall that he could drape his arms over the clothing rack and hang there comfortably.
“The thing about the guys that work there is a lot of them are drunk,” he said. “If you ever want to get a little crazy, like if you’re babysitting the worst kid or something, ask them to add whatever bottle they got behind the counter to your float. Believe me, they have a ton, so you’ll have a choice.”
I sat on the stoop with my legs tucked under me and tried to flirt with him: “Oh, yeah? What’s you favorite mix? Vanilla and rum, or coffee and whiskey?”
“I don’t drink,” he said.
It’s always a little awkward when a young person tells you they’re sober. A myriad of thoughts went through my brain: What happened to you? Don’t you think you’re being a tad extreme? Are you judging me for wanting rum in my vanilla ice cream? Is this a test? Do I drink too much? How would we ever have anything in common?