Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”
This week: Take a closer look and Follow directions.
Two things thrilled me as a kid- a helium balloon from the Balloon Man at the mall and a Slurpee from 7-Eleven. My mom reserved these special treats for Extra Good Behavior or an Extra Special Occasion. Maybe my brother and I had successfully managed not to kill each other on a non-school day. Balloon Time. Maybe I turned off the television and pretended to read a book when my mom walked into the room. Slurpee Time.
A few months after moving to Texas, my parents got a new car. A Volkswagen Quantum. It was fancy. All four windows worked, and there weren’t any cigarette burns in the front seat console.
To celebrate, my mom took us to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee.
I got my usual- half Blue Raspberry and half Wild Cherry. I never used the scoop straws 7-Eleven provided for my brain freeze enjoyment. Instead, I saved the extra sporks we got from our meals at Kentucky Fried Chicken and brought one along each time we went for a Slurpee. I made a game of trying to get the extra generous portions into my mouth before the slush drizzled through the short prongs.
Too bad the excitement of a brand new car made me forget the spork. Damn. I begrudgingly took a scoop straw and began enjoying my little treat. Then, I noticed the picture logo on the side of the cup.
Oh, hmmm, I guess I need to “pitch in” with my red scoop straw to get maximum benefits from my frozen delight.
As soon as we got inside the car, I started “pitching” the straw up and down inside the Slurpee. I took a sip. Not bad. Maybe all that agitation was bringing out the flavor. So I “pitched in” a little more. Before I knew it, all the straw action created a hole in the bottom of my cup, and Slurpee began to bleed out of the bottom onto my floral bike shorts and all over the upholstery. I yelled for napkins.
My mom turned around at a stoplight and saw the mess. Without saying a word, she pulled into the nearest gas station, got out, opened the back door, and gave me a whack on the head. Then another. Then another. Hair was flying everywhere and flecks of Slurpee were getting all over the backseat. When I explained that the logo on the cup was responsible for the mess, she took a good look at it and yelled that had I taken a closer look, I would have realized that it was a picture of a person throwing a piece of trash into a trash can as a reminder to throw away my cup. Which she did.
The Slurpee left a sad little red trail all the way to the dumpster. I knew I was going to get a spanking when I got home, so I spent the remainder of the car ride licking my fingers and scooping up the bigger dollops of Blue Raspberry Wild Cherry on my biker shorts. It was a celebration Slurpee, and I was determined to enjoy it…in a cup or on my pants.
Have you ever gotten in trouble by not taking a closer look or following directions?