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March 26, 2003: I is for Ice Cream

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Near our hotel there are enough strip malls and large chain restaurants (and a mall) that we have dubbed it Business Travelers Road. One of the smaller strip malls includes a Panda Express (average Chinese food takeout), a little Mexican place, a Starbucks, and a Cold Stone Creamery.

Naturally, I frequented the Starbucks on a regular basis - either on the way home from the training site, or for breakfast. And several times in the past few weeks we've stopped by this little strip mall to get orange chicken and fried rice to take back to the hotel, when we're just not in the mood to try to coordinate a large group dinner.

One of my coworkers has become a Cold Stone regular as well, and kept raving about their ice cream. I pondered it, and Richard and I even made tentative plans a few evenings - but we were always too full or too tired. So last night, I finally broke down and went in.

So many choices! I had them mix sweet cream ice cream with pecan pralines, Oreos, and caramel. It was divine. I took it all back to my hotel room (the Starbucks coffee, the orange chicken, and of course the ice cream), and sat on my bed with my laptop on my lap and ate it all, slowly. And then I pondered whether or not to admit that I'd already had some when Richard called on his way home (because today was his last day in Merced, even though I've got one more day in Stanislaus) to see if I wanted to meet him there. The lure of the ice cream won out over both the lack of hunger and any embarrassment over admitting to having ice cream twice in one dinner. This time I had them mix in sponge cake. Oh, it was delicious!

I've been teasing my coworker, asking her why she didn't drag me, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the store any earlier than this. She, in turn, has very good-naturedly pointed out that I kept spurning her offer, which unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) was the case. She was a recent addict herself, having spent the week before I even arrived in Stanislaus county consuming ice cream and coffee for dinner nearly every single night. Considering that she actually lost weight while doing this suggests that my theory (that both ice cream and caffeine are required food groups) might just have some validity after all.

In retrospect, it's probably for the best that I managed to avoid discovering the joys of Cold Stone Creamery until tonight, when I have run out of time in which to indulge this new craving. Tomorrow night I go home, the last day of training mollusks in Stanislaus county, and thus the last day in close proximity to the store.

Of course, the Cold Stone Creamery store *is* just off the freeway, and I'll have to pass by that exit in between leaving the training site tomorrow and reaching home. Even as I sit here, far too full from far too much ice cream goodness, I am still weighing the difficulties of eating ice cream while driving versus my need to feed my latest addiction.

Or perhaps I'll simply find the willpower to wait it out until I get home, and then talk Richard into going out to Ben and Jerry's, and do my best to put the Cold Stone Creamery out of my system. At least until the next time I find myself near one. And then all I can promise is that if you stay out of my way, you won't get hurt. There's a cup of sweet cream ice cream in there, with Oreos and caramel and pralines, which has my name on it.

This has been an entry written in the spirit of AlphaBytes.

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