Life Is A Race You Can’t Win

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In a race that you can’t win, slow it down
Yeah, you only get one go around
‘Cause the finish line is six feet in the ground
In a race you can’t win, just slow it down

Thomas Rhett

“What I know about auto racing could be inscribed with a dry Magic Marker on the lip of a Coke bottle,” says David Foster Wallace, the same could be said for what I know about life, but I have a blog so let’s not quibble over tangential issues (nothing to do with gender), and move on to what really matters.

The invention of wipes. Wipes have to be up there next to sliced bread in my opinion. If it’s sticky, hand them a wipe. Something spills, wipe it up. If it’s melting, here’s a wipe.

I wish we had a sanitized wipe for removing change, which I don’t do well, because it’s sticky, and as a mother, this has been my perpetual nemesis.

I discovered something recently and since it is difficult to keep my thoughts to myself I thought I’d explore the whole viscid situation with you.

My little treasure was found in the midst of a story, as you know wisdom likes to hide in the nook and crannies of life, scrambling off when you get too close.

I call it my Ice Cream Theology, try not to judge, and right now I know three people who are absolutely cringing.

You know who you are.

Deal with it.

Yes, you’ll be glad to know the value of the next several passages is primarily to create suspense, so don’t just skim, Larry, read between the lines.

Here’s the crux of the situation.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE?

I don’t know about you but I have this illusion that I know what I like and when I like it. If you’re running with that thought remember what your Mother said about scissors.

This is important because sometimes we trip over our principles when we should be sauntering, savoring the many flavors of life, smelling the roses if you will.

It’s as if sharpening an entire box of yellow pencils but never using them. You know what I mean?

Our interests are often manipulated by our fears, fear of scarcity, fear of humiliation, fear of losing. For example, don’t you think racing at breakneck speeds around a snake-like track, with 50 other cars all vying for the lead, is the slightest bit crazy?

Well, that’s why we like it, it’s unpredictable, and we like to observe someone risking their neck from a safe distance. Just my opinion.

I’m about to expose my recent life crash, one that kicked me to the curb, and left me questioning my surly disposition.

Follow Your Inner Moonlight

There are perhaps three important things you should consider doing in this life; figure out what you love, figure out who you love, and if you rub those two together, there’s a chance it will result in new life.

That’s it.

What else is there?

Well, there’s ice cream, and this is when it gets sticky.

If you could just comprehend how essential is it to courageously say no to what you don’t want, prefer, or need, then you can say yes without remorse when it is truly what you want, prefer, need at the moment. This was my go-to philosophy but as you can probably guess it’s about to all change.

My entire life my mother warned me, “don’t be cajoled into doing things you don’t want to do just because everyone else is doing it, you wouldn’t jump off a bridge just because everyone else decides to jump?”

No.

Absolutely not.

If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it says Frank Zappa.

A girl should be two things: who and what she wants says, Coco Chanel.

The Story

I’ll change the names to protect the innocent.

So I find myself with the usual cast of characters one faithful night, we’ll call them Sim, Jue, and Carry. I would be Lheryl in this particular scenario. One nondescript hot afternoon we realized we had a wine club pick up on the other side of the lake. It was a nice day for a drive, so we all piled into Carry’s car, and we’re off to the races so to speak.

After spending an hour or so at the winery we stopped off at the Saw Shop in Kelseyville for a bite to eat. It was a delightful evening, finally starting to cool, with a slight breeze as we were seated on the open patio.

It’s all good but appearances can be deceiving.

As we’re making our way home along Highway 29 Sim, Jue, and Carry decide to make an unscheduled stop.

Not that I’m not a prude, much, because everything nothing revolves around me, and I’m quite flexible all things considered.

This “unscheduled” stop involved a said famous ice cream parlor, renown for their homemade ice cream, and my companions were all in a frenzy to give it a try.

Here’s the deal, I wasn’t hungry.

If you don’t know what you like then for goodness sakes avoid what you don’t like, it’s at least a start.

I may have bemoaned the stop, loudly, and consistently but that had no effect on my companions.

We parked across the street from the “famous” parlor.

The neon sign obsessively flashing open, open, open, annoying me to no end.

Lheryl says, “I’ll wait in the car.”

Carry says, “what flavor do you want?”

“I don’t want any ice cream, I’m full.”

“You like orange sherbet right?”

“I DON’T WANT ANY ICE CREAM,” I may have raised my voice.

Off they go, skipping their way across the street as if a bunch of kindergartners, while I stay stubbornly put, with my seatbelt fastened, and a snarl on my face.

When they returned to the car all giddy with their delicious cups of frozen cream, Carry reaches back, and with all the audacity of a long-married spouse, he hands me a cup of orange sherbet with a bright pink plastic spoon.

Leryl repeats herself, “No thank you, I don’t want any ice cream.”

“Here, you have to try it, I bought it for you.”

I opened the door and set the sticky concoction on the curb. I know, I know, it’s not only childish, but it’s littering. And I never litter! And that was it, right there, that was the moment, as Bridget Jones would say, when everything changed.

Here I was, all puffed up with self-induced boundaries, ready to kick my scruples to the curb, God gave me a voice and as usual, no one is listening. This was a total lack of respect for my unwavering no. Right?

Yes, that’s where I went, lock, stock, and barrel.

But here’s the real deal.

I was wrong

As I said from the beginning, what I know about life could be inscribed with a dry Magic Marker on the lip of a Coke bottle. After weeks of reflection, bouts of unrepentant remorse (that’s a stretch but I did feel contrite), and endless badgering by said companions, I realized I was wrong.

As Maya Angelo says, when you know better you do better, because, in ice cream theology, sharing is the best part of it, connecting, discussing flavors, tasting, smelling, remembering our youth, laughing, smiling, feeling something that was frozen melt in your mouth.

It involves all the senses and is therefore worthy of our participation. You can be present to the ritual, but the only way it can change you is if you participate. It’s true for the sacraments, education, ice cream, and most importantly our relationships.

I was being a curmudgeon on a soapbox with no viable message.

To live is to learn and grow and unfortunately, the only way to grow is to allow for change.

Change requires a shift in our thinking, this is how we learn, it requires exposure, and the only way that we can be exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open, to the curb if you will.

Because life is a race that no one wins, and if you only get one go around, why not slow down, enjoy the unexpected stops? As Martha Graham says there is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, this expression is unique, and sometimes you have to allow your pretenses to melt.

Ice Cream Theology is expressed by the choices we make, because in the long race, it’s the choices that shape our lives, the process never ends until we die, and we get wiped clean.

I’m Living in the Gap, life is sticky, let’s pick up some wipes?

Anecdotes:

  • “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde
  • “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Dolly Parton

35 Comments

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    1. So you saw right through my disguised characters! Bahaha, it was actually a fun night, I was teased about leaving my ice cream on the curb but later we landed on the patio, sipping wine, moon gazing. If I have lessons to learn this is the way to go! Warmly, C

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I get not wanting to have ice cream and setting up your boundaries. I don’t think you’re wrong. I’ve found on our vacation this week in Summerland that we have friends who insist we do stuff with them all the time — and force desserts on me after a huge dinner. I’m setting my boundaries and scheduling days and nights for just me and my hubby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our friends are probably thinking they need sometime away from us! Larry’s always the lead on late night ice cream stops, they’re just a lot better sports about it. I could have taken a small bite and passed it around but I was in a mood. Hence the lesson! I could do better but I agree holding boundaries is important! Thanks for the kind support Elizabeth, 💕C

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  2. Well I am not a fan of ice cream anyway so not the best person to be impartial in this story. But no-one could ever make/persuade/cajole me into having something I don’t want. You do you and I’ll do me and we’ll all be happy bunnies! Especially orange flavour ice cream. Really? That’s a thing? What happened to Rum n Raisin? Now there’s an exception to the rule!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Leigh, I much prefer popcorn, heavily buttered and salted for dessert, but I see the merits of tasting, smiling, and obliging the ice cream crusaders! Thanks for the kind words, C

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    1. Hi LaDonna, sorry for the delay, my sweet cousin has been in town and I’ve enjoyed devoting all my time to her for the past week! Thanks for your kind comment, I agree, we all have our moments! Thankfully I amended my ways and I have to say we’ve been enjoying a dollop of gelato ever night since. There’s the path to growth! Bahaha, warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rebecca, I know, my companions that evening were absolutely flabbergasted that I left my “skinny cousin” behind. What can I say, I was in a mood, but thankfully I came to my senses. The funny thing is we’ve since been enjoying gelato, the “fat cousin” almost ever night! I learn my lessons well! BTW when can I order your book? I’m sure you’re almost to the finish line! Warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If only we could all learn our lessons well! Sometimes it takes a few times for me. My book–well, I’ve finished draft 1 and read through it and didn’t hate it! So, now I have a round of edits before I’ll let beta readers see it–and then probably a few years before (God willing) it sees the light of day in a bookstore! You will be among the first to know, believe me! And, thank you for the vote of confidence!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Cheryl!
    Longtime no write. We miss you all.
    I really enjoyed this entry on the Theology of Ice Cream (Way better than the tetralogy of Fallot, but I digress.) Ice Cream is big in our household, and you may know, my daughter Rachel does an Instagram type thing about ice cream in The City. In fact, we just finished an ice cream tour of the west. In any event, I did not want to miss a single scoop of this post.
    Initial thoughts
    “There are perhaps three important things you should consider doing in this life; figure out what you love, figure out who you love, and if you rub those two together, there’s a chance it will result in new life.” I am a concrete thinker, but is this about the whole sex/procreation thing? ie. A baby vs get a life.
    To paraphrase Danny Devito, what does being hungry have to do with eating Ice Cream?
    Ok, I get it. No unnecessary calories. Why are we wasting my time when I want to go home? Why did you get it when I said no. If I don’t want to stop here, why are we stopping here. The list goes on and on.
    But then there is the “Hey there is the amazing ice cream place. Its on the way. Let’s give it a taste (maybe help it stay open during the ‘Rona Pandemic.”) “Hey, Lheryl (sic) likes orange sherbet, maybe we can show her some love and bring her some just in case she changes her mind. Or, maybe she can taste and spit like at a wine tasting. Anyway, we can only try.”

    Bottom line, I admire your willpower, his love and thoughtfulness, and I will choose to overlook how the whole thing went down. I consider you all blessed to have such an amazing family and such a set of awesome friends. And it takes big stones to face the world and sort of pseudo confess that someone may have been acting perhaps a tiny bit childish (I am guilty of this and not too good at the apologizing or admitting.) I agree that the best part of life is the sharing, loving, reflecting and overall companionship of great people, and maybe you hurt the mood a little and missed out. But what a great life. I know you are forgiven.

    As an aside, we recently had 2 couples over for dinner, and they brought charcuterie and a dessert. When I think about how much effort we put into making that one dinner go smoothly, it dawned on me how brutally tough it must have been to have us visit for 2 days. You all were great and it was intimidatingly spectacular. Rachel and Ellie both think it was truly awesome. On top of that, the baked Brie is now a family favorite, and in fact Ellie baked some for her friends tonight. We miss you all.
    Lastly, I loved watching the Formula 1 racing early in the morning with Larry. (Who knew that that was a thing.) And yes, life is a big old race and we need to slow down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mike! We miss you too! And BTW we are not letting so much time pass before we see each other again! COVID or not! Larry is so antsy to plan a trip somewhere, some place that’s not in lockdown, and I’m afraid we might end up on a cruise to the Bermuda Triangle! And you know how that will go down. Oh joy. Okay, I had to look up tetralogy of Fallot ~ Yuck, but it’d be fun to work into a post sometime? Yes, it was a slow week for blogging and I figured why not share my “life crash” and bare my soul. What could happen? Yeah, and Sim, Jue, and Carry have been gloating for weeks! Might behove me to keep a few thoughts to myself in the future. We all had a good laugh after returning home sipping wine, gazing at the stars, and razzing Lheryl for the rest of the evening. Good times… A note about entertaining, it used to be challenging for me alone, until I started collaborating with the likes of Jim and Sue, they’re incredibly creative and talented in the kitchen and when it comes to delighting our guests they are highly skilled conversationalist. They never fail to astound me! We had so much fun getting to know Rachel and Ellie and we are hopeful they will want to return again and again. Maybe your son will join us sometime! I’d love for you to meet the rest of our clan so we can noodle on how to make that happen. So that “ice cream” evening Jim and Sue challenged Larry and I to a game of Cornhole, we lost because I refused to toss my cornbag to the side because we had just the right number of points and I made it in the hole, we lost, Larry was not pleased with my gaming ethics. I’ll be more strategic in the future. Love the beautiful cornhole set whether I win or not! Hugs to all, Cheryl

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