Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ice Cream, Light Bulbs, and the Loss of Innocence

My first job at the Park was in Fitzgerald's Ice Cream Shop in Cobblestone Village. It boasted a broken waterwheel and a sign that advertised homemade ice cream with Belgian waffles. We had neither. There was a constant influx of optimistic guests who really thought they might get a fresh, hot Belgian waffle with vanilla ice cream melted on top. Sounds good, doesn't it? I had to tell them that we were "fresh out." It was June and it was my first job. At 14, I did what the 18 year-old supervisor told me to do. For a while, at least.

One time, a customer claimed that she was "seriously pissed" not be getting a waffle. This disturbed my co-worker, a disappointed British exchange student who had come to "see America," or New York City, at least. It turned out that just getting a ride to the A&P was a big deal for him. Anyway, my Brit friend, being a Brit, took "pissed" to mean "drunk," and thought we'd have this reeling, beer-soaked wench screeching about waffles. Alas, no. But we chuckled over the language barrier.

The summer went on without incident. Other than the waffle controversy, and the fact that I was feeling increasingly guilty about the "fresh out" lies, things weren't bad and I was an obedient little food&bev girl. And then.

The skies opened one evening in August and we had a rush of campers in the shop. They were shivering and soaked, but they wanted ice cream. I was madly scooping when a flourescent bulb in the ice cream case burst, sending shards of glass and some powdery substance into the open containers of butter pecan, vanilla, and chocolate. I called over my 18 year-old supervisor.

"We need more ice cream. A bulb burst into the case," I told him.
"Scrape off the top and serve it. We don't have time."
"No, you don't understand. There's glass in the ice cream."
"And I'm telling you to scrape off the top and serve it." He gave me a threatening stare. It was the threatening stare that did it. Because while he attempted to intimidate me, I realized that I wasn't intimidated. My "boss" was just a kid, and a stupid kid at that.

"If you want these children to eat glass," I announced, "then you serve it to them." And I thrust the scoop into his hand.
One of the counselors overheard us. "There's glass in the ice cream?" she asked.
"Yes, Ma'am. You may just want to go get pizza next door," I told her.
"How about you just give me a waffle with no ice cream?" she asked. Silence.
"Ma'am," I replied, glaring at my supervisor, "I have never even seen a waffle in this place."


therese said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
therese said...

The power of your glare is truly amazing. I'm glad you use it for good.