When it’s hot during the summer, Custom Box Service takes ice cream to its customers. Or, more precisely, J.D., acting as an agent for Custom Box Service, takes ice cream to its customers. I fill a couple of coolers with popsicles and ice cream bars, and then drive around the Willamette Valley, acting as a sort of Santa Claus in July.
“Do customers really like the ice cream?” Tiffany asked the other day.
“They l-o-v-e the ice cream,” I told her. And they do. They rave about it. They talk about it for the rest of the year. As soon as summer arrives, they begin asking me when I’m coming with ice cream.
Yesterday I drove through Estacada to Sandy to deliver ice cream to a good customer. It’s a long drive, and I soon realized that I was peckish. I’m trying to start yet-another-diet (Diet #774), which makes me feel the absence of the food acutely.
When I stopped to buy the ice cream, I looked longingly at all the tasty foods: roast chicken, Chinese buffet, frozen pizzas. Yum. The ice cream sounded especially delicious. Outside in the fiery heat, I contemplated taking a tithe from a box of popsicles, but opted against it. I made my delivery and chatted with the customer, watching while he opened a fruit bar and slowly slurped down the sugary goodness. I wanted one. Badly.
Back in the car, I realized that what I actually wanted was a lemon-lime Mr. Misty from Dairy Queen. Yum! I thought about how icy cold the Mr. Misty would be. I thought about the sugary water. It sounded like heaven.
I had a mission: find a Mr. Misty.
On the way out of Sandy, I watched for a Dairy Queen. None appeared. “No matter, maybe there’s one in Boring,” I thought. There wasn’t. “No problem. I know there’s one in Damascus.” The five miles between Boring and Damascus seemed to stretch on forever. I imagined the sharp ammonia-like flavor of the fake lime juice. I imagined the inevitable throat burn.
Cresting the hill into Damascus, I smiled at the sight of Dairy Queen’s red roof. I pulled into the strip mall and then noticed: it wasn’t a Dairy Queen! It was a McDonald’s. What the hell?
“Surely there’s a Dairy Queen in Clackamas,” I thought. But there wasn’t. I was beginning to get a little desperate. Luckily, I was close to home, and I knew where the Dairy Queen was in downtown Milwaukie. I drove there quickly only to find that the Dairy Queen had been replaced by a mortgage broker. What the hell?
I wanted to cry, but I refused to give up.
I zipped down 99e at 60mph (in a 45mph zone), willing to risk a ticket. I wanted a Mr. Misty! At last I found a Dairy Queen in Westmoreland. Rather than go to the counter, I pulled up to the drive-thru. It was here that my troubles began. The line did not move for five minutes!
At last the line crept forward. I placed my order: “A medium lemon-lime Misty Slush, please.” When had Dairy Queen changed the Mr. Misty to a Misty Slush? Craziness!
The server repeated the order, confused: “A lemon-lime…float?” What the hell?
“No. A Misty Slush,” I said. “A Mr. Misty.” And make it snappy!
My ordeal was not over. I sat in line for — I kid you not — another fifteen interminable minutes. I was on edge. I was like a heroin addict looking for his next hit. I fidgeted. I played idly with the radio dial. I held the steering wheel in a death grip.
But, at last, I got my Mr. Misty. Green and delicious.
Or was it?
Actually, it was cloyingly sweet and tasted hardly of lemon-lime at all. Had they redone the formula when they changed it to a Misty Slush? No matter, I drove home, slurping it down. My throat burned — such delicious pain.