29 degrees outside, pelting sleet, but what I needed was frozen yogurt.
So, I left the motor running when I jumped out of the car and crossed the parking lot, whispering profanities as I found myself torn between moving slowly while being sliced by silvers of ice, or dashing across the tundra with the risk of falling and splitting my chin on the pavement.
“Welcome to Zinga!” the little girl shouted from behind the counter. I recently discovered that, in my estimation, any female under 25 was a “little girl.” This one had curly black hair and a smile that was possibly reflective of her true personality, or the result of having had one too many cups of coffee, or both.
“I love frozen yogurt,” she said. “And it’s not just because I work here. Can I help you?”
“No thanks, I’ve been here before,” I said. I picked up a “medium” tub and walked over to the vanilla machine, hoping that she’d recognize my familiarity with the process and leave me alone.
“Seriously, it’s not because I work here. I really love frozen yogurt. I always have the same thing, every single time. I have Triple Chocolate and I put on some raspberries and then I drown it all in whipped cream. That’s what I always do. Except last week when I had Mocha Mist and did the Oreo Dirt with hot fudge and rainbow sprinkles but I didn’t get whipped cream, which was too bad because that’s when I found out how much really I like whipped cream. Whipped cream is the bomb, isn’t it?”
I looked down and found myself in the act of squirting whipped cream on my sundae, so I couldn’t keep ignoring her. “Yes,” I said. “Whipped cream is very good.” I put down the can and waited for her to start talking again. She took a deep breath, clearly revving up for another raucous soliloquy, and during the pause I heard Rick Springfield on the Musak. “Rick Springfield,” I said. “Wow.” I picked up a pair of tongs, plucked a red cherry from its basin of goo, and plopped it on top of my sundae. “I haven’t heard this one in a while.” That was a lie. I’d heard the song the day before yesterday; it was in one of my playlists, the one I listened to every morning on my way to work.
“Yeah, right?” the girl said. “What’s this song called? Oh, yeah, “Jessie’s Girl.” I guess he was like a one-hit-wonder?”
“Actually, he had a couple of songs, and he was a soap star…,” I said.
“Oh, yeah, sure,” she said. “I remember now. You know what other song I like? I like ‘Dancing Queen’. That’s one of my favorite old songs.”
I set my cup on the scale. “Now, that one is really old,” I said. “My Mom used to listen to that one.”
“They’re all old to me,” she said.
I handed the little girl a five, told her to keep the change, and raced out to my car.