“Your re-board pass?” He was looking down at me with an air of composed disgust. It wasn’t a unique detestation held for me especially, rather a universal one he felt for all of us who happened to be ridding his bus that particular evening. I was midway threw Nina Simone’s live version of The Rising Sun Blues and had not heard his request. His irritation however, clearly displayed with his creased forehead and pursed eyebrows, was evident and so I removed my headphones and looked up at him with a fatigued smile waiting for him to repeat himself.
It had been an awfully full weekend; jam packed with an exhausting schedule of lactose-laced lectures, demonstrations, and networking. I hadn’t eaten solid foods in three days, only ice cream. If you have ever wonder if it were possible to survive on ice cream alone, the answer is yes, it’s possible, though I don’t advise it.
Here I am tasting samples of vanilla and chocolate that display subtle and not so subtle variation in processing, composition, and flavoring. I was beginning to exhibit some pretty severe signs of sugar withdrawal, brought on by an equally cruel ice cream hangover. Wow, I ate way too much ice cream, I thought to myself as I took in the cheerlessness of my current circumstances.
“ YOUR-RE-BOAR-DING--PASS, THE-ONE-I-GAVE-YOU-IN-HARR-IS-BURG, DO-YOU-HAVE-IT?” He repeated this in a tone and manner that seemed to imply a mental inadequacy on my part. “If you remember giving me a re-boarding pass, then why do I need to show it to you to stay on the bus?” I was asking with sincere curiosity. He didn’t care at all for my response and, flaring his nostrils just as disturbingly as he bulged his eyes, he stomped off to the front of the bus cursing as he went.
It’s probably not such a hot idea to piss of the bus driver. As he jerked the bus violently out of the Philadelphia station, I wondered if we would make it back to New York in one piece. It would be a shame if my last supper came out of a vending machine. Then again, if it were my time to go, at least I had the chance to spend the weekend immersed in the subject of ice cream and surrounded by like-minded people.
Curious what kinds of people decide to take a two-day intensive course dedicated entirely to ice cream? I certainly was. The first lecturer gave me the opportunity to find out when he asked each of us to stand up and introduce ourselves and explain why it was we were there.
“ Hi, my name is Tom. I was a school teacher for twenty five years and am looking to retire and though an ice cream store might be a fun business to get into.” “My name is David. I manage a bank, I love ice cream, and am thinking of making a carrier change and thought, why not an ice cream shop?” etc. Half of the people there were looking to ice cream for retirement or a career change. Five of them were bankers, which amused me to no end. Just think about it, the guy who talks to you about high interest saving and IRAs sitting there in his office dreaming up new and exciting ice cream flavors. I’ll never look at my banker the same way again.
Two women wanted to make ice cream from their own milk, one from her flock of Nigerian Dwarf Goats, and another from her six-legged cow, now if that isn’t a great gimmick I don’t know what is. Many of the students already owned ice cream shops, while others had no intention of going into business; they were there simply on the merits of their deep affection for ice cream.
Then, of course, there was me, “Hi, my name is Madeline. I live in New York and write a food blog that chronicles my adventures in food, and yes you guessed it, Ice Cream.” I didn’t mention that I it was my dream to open an ice cream shop because, even in this crowd of ice cream fanatics, I felt a bit foolish and unsure of myself. As the weekend drew on however, I found myself becoming more and more encouraged as I learned about the ins and outs of the ice cream business. Perhaps this foolish food adventure is not so foolish after all. Now all I have to do is get back to New York, and off this bus, in one piece.