Monday, April 2, 2007

Impulse and Ice Cream

8:20 p.m. – While wrapping up dinner with my friend (and bridesmaid) Brittany tonight, and we discussed where we wanted to go sit and continue our visit, for we don’t visit nearly enough.

“Starbucks?” I suggest.

“No,” Brittany says, “how about the new coffee place by Ben and Jerry’s, and then we can get ice cream too!”

“Ice cream… hm. That’s nice. But you can get a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at Kroger for $2.50, or you can get a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at the Ben and Jerry’s store for $2.50,” I point out.

This observation leads to a discussion about the expensive ice cream shops in town and reminiscence of Braums, whose service was always abysmal but ice cream was always tasty and fairly priced.

This reminiscence leads to a rant about College Station’s lack of Braums, and how the nearest Braums is in Corsicana (2 hours away from here).

This rant leads to a crazy thought – Let’s drive to Corsicana and get ice cream at Braums! But wait, we don’t do that kind of thing… that would be dumb. After all, the cheapness of Braums ice cream is voided by the fact that you have to buy a tank of gas for $25 to get there and back. That, my friends, is an expensive ice cream cone. Ben and Jerry’s and Cold Stone don’t even dare charging that kind of money.

“Why not?” I ask. “We’re college students. Don’t college do stupid, impulsive stuff? Like drive 4 hours for ice cream?”

Yes. Yes they do. Being such college students (who, I might add, don’t generally do stupid things and decided it’s high time to start), we decided to hit the road and get our Braums ice cream.

After a few quick phone calls to our phone-a-friend contacts (thank you Paris and Jack), we had an address and phone number to the Coriscana Braums. (Although Jack’s side of that conversation went something like this: “You’re doing WHAT?... Why?... Ice cream?...” At some point in this confused questioning I said “yes Jack, I know it’s impractical to drive 4 hours for ice cream. Where’s the nearest Braums?”

Brittany calls the ice cream shop and asks them about their hours. If they close at 10, we can’t make it in time. Brittany does the “woohoo” face and the “yes” fist. 11 p.m. close time it is. Let’s hit the road. We’re getting some ice cream.

8:45 p.m. – We’re exiting Hwy 6 onto 190 and giggling like idiots.
“We’re not even drunk,” Brittany says. “Don’t drunk people do stupid stuff like this?”

Agreeing with Brittany, I pop a top on a cold beer and take a swig as I put on my right turn signal and pull up to the intersection. (Just kidding, kids. Don’t drink and drive.)

9 p.m. – We name off more than 6 ice cream shops located in College Station.

9:35 p.m. – Brittany and I decide that I should hold auditions for all my bridesmaid positions. There will be a talent portion, a pageant portion (where they will show me how good they will look in the dress), a speech (or toast, if you will), and a dancing portion (where they’ll show me they won’t look terrible on the dance floor). It’s a perfect system – “Sorry, Jane. The judges have spoken. Your toast just didn’t cut it.”

9:50 p.m. – I share my amazing invention idea of a prescription clock radio – a clock radio with a prescription in its glass cover to match the prescription of the person in bed trying to read it without their contact lenses.

10:26 p.m. – We are in Corsicana and lost. So close to Braums – we just know it. However, the stark neighborhoods and dark alleys are looking pretty shady. Put another call into my lifeline Jack, and he’s not happy to hear from us. He helps us out and gets us there with only about 15 minutes to spare. Phew!

10:46 p.m. – As we walk into the Braums, I envision all the delighted employees rushing over to greet us, curious as to why we look like we’ve been driving for a while.

“Did you drive 2 hours just to come have ice cream here because you don’t have a Braums in College Station?” a clean young man in a Braums hat asks.

“Why yes! Yes, we did!” I answer, enthusiastically. Brittany smiles and nods in agreement, and all the Braums employees chatter excitedly about the news.

“All the way from College Station! Just for us!” one exclaims.

“Gee! That makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside,” another answers.

“I want to work extra-hard to make their visit special now,” says a third.

“This calls for free ice cream for these two ladies! And all the cake cones they can carry out of here after they’re done!” the young man announces. All the employees begin to cheer. A couple of the girls tear up a little and fan themselves.

“You make my job worth coming to,” an employee tells me above the crowd noise, “and my life worth living!”

Instead, we stand in front of the ice cream counter and no one has noticed us for a good 4-5 minutes, looking at a handmade sign that says “no credit cards.” (This prompts us to dig in our pockets, panicked, for a few minutes, excitedly finding a couple dollars in Brittany’s pocket. Whew!) They are yelling and arguing quite unprofessionally instead. You have to have priorities. Ahhh, Braums. Home of the pissed off teenage employee. You were certainly worth the two 2-hour drives.

10:55 p.m. – We are eating our ice cream and a grumpy old lady walks over to the front door, looks at us, and says “I’m locking this door.” I see a bucket full of water and wonder why she just told me she’s “washing this door.”

“Washing the door?” I ask. Brittany laughs.

“LOCKING. I’m LOCKING the door. We’re closed,” she tells me annoyedly, as if talking to a 3 year old.

Brittany and I look at each other. That was a “get the heck out of the store right now so I can go home” if I ever heard it.

“Alright then,” I tell the lady, and take another bite of peanut butter cup ice cream. Darned if I’m going to let her run me out of here now after I drove all the way to Coriscana for this. Oh, no. I will watch you circle me with a mop with your angry eyes and enjoy my hot fudge sundae.

I decide I’m thirsty and get up to ask for a water cup from the counter. As soon as I stand up, another employee, who is sweeping the other side of the room notices and pops to attention.

“We’re CLOSED!!!” she announces rudely. Really? Because I’m pretty sure I’m already inside. Calm down there, Sparky.

The guy who is wrapping up the ice cream containers in plastic trash bags hands me a water cup and she eyes me as I walk over to get my water. That’s right, missy. Got me some water.

11:10 p.m. – We’re headed back to College Station, satisfied with our tasty ice cream and crappy service experience. Good stuff. Thanks, Brittany.

From: Dad
Date: Thursday, April 05, 2007
Time: 08:57 AM


One weekend when I was in college I was out of money and bored. I sold my car a semester earlier (it was that or stop eating) so I had no way to leave, and yet I decided it was time for a break. I hitch hiked to Scottsbluff Nebraska, went to a K-Mart, bought a plastic drop cloth (to protect me from the snow) for just under a buck and a half and slept in a stubble field (that's where the corn stalks have been cut down for you city folks) near the sugar plant. I don't really recall how I got back to Sidney that trip but probably had to hitch hike back to school. I write this because I'm proud that my kids have surpassed me in their college experience. I was impressed when Shane left the county in pursuit of a Slurpee and scared to death (early in the story) that Mandy would have decided to be practical enough to skip the 4 hour road trip. I rejoice that we raised the kids right. I rejoice that God has blessed them with cars so they didn’t have to ride with a stinky guy and listen to him talking about 26 ways to cook squirrel. I pray they will never stop doing things that don’t make any sense because the things that are most reasonable in our lives are seldom good enough to find their way into a blog

From: Shane
Date: Monday, April 02, 2007
Time: 01:21 PM


I left for Houston one night at 10 PM with Lauren and Nathan just to get a real Slurpee from 7-Eleven. There are no 7-Eleven's in Houston, although the internet says that there is one 7-Eleven in Houston. It is a freaking lie. We got back to College Station at 3 AM without any Slurpees. I hate you, Houston.