Carl’s Cake

Summertime in Florida can be deceiving when you work in an office building. Most offices keep the air conditioner set to “Arctic Chill”, so the view outside the window of the sunny, cloudless sky almost looks like a mirage. There’s no way it could be all that warm outside when your toes are frozen solid, right? 

Having lived in Florida for over nine years, you’d think I would know better. You’d think I’d remember the last time I was fooled by the air conditioned office space and use better judgement before venturing outside, but I quickly forget. 

On my lunch break today, I decided that today would be a beautiful day to walk next door to Race Trac for a frozen yogurt cone. When I stepped outside of the door, I sighed in relief. I could feel the telltale tingling in my toes, letting me know that they were beginning to thaw. The fact that they were beginning to thaw as soon as I set foot outside should have served as an alarm. It should have said to me: “Stop! Are you crazy? It’s a million degrees outside. The walk across the parking lot could kill you.” I ignored that silly voice shouting at me because frozen yogurt was a mere 50 yards away. Half a football field stood between me and a waffle cone full of Carl’s Cake for the low price of $1.49. So I pushed on. 

A few more yards into my journey, I remembered that I hadn’t been transported to a comfortable 80 degrees as I had mistakenly thought only three short minutes ago. I was still in Florida, and the gates of Hades were still wide open. My hijab was soaked in minutes, and I cursed myself for choosing today of all days to wear a navy blue abaya. Who does that in the summertime in Orlando? I could feel rivulets of sweat travelling down my back and at that moment, it dawned on me that I still had to come back across the parking lot after acquiring my frozen yogurt. 

Here’s something you may not know about me: I have always had problems following through with commitments. My closet was stuffed with sewing projects I’d begun, but never got around to completing. Ingredients for recipes sat in my pantry collecting dust because I couldn’t bring myself to actually begin the cooking process. I think a part of me was afraid of failing. Not finishing didn’t sound quite as bad as failing did in my twisted brain. 

I know I went off on a complete tangent, but stay with me. Finishing a half marathon let me know that if I stuck with something and gave it my all, I could finish it. So I’ve gotten much better at following through. And maintaining my new attitude, I was going to accomplish my goal of buying a frozen yogurt waffle cone. After what felt like hours (but was really less than 5 minutes), I flung the door of Race Trac open to obnoxiously announce my arrival. The nonexistent greeting I received from other customers was far less than I thought I deserved for braving the midday sun to fulfill a commitment. 

I sauntered over to the frozen yogurt section, taking in the pastel display of machines and giving myself a metaphorical pat on the back for my triumph. I’d made it, y’all. Grabbing a cone wrapped in flag-printed paper, I decided to treat myself to a blend. Not only was I going to enjoy a helping of Carl’s Cake, but double chocolate swirl as well. 

I walked more quickly back to the office. Not only did I not spend enough time in Race Trac to cool off from the walk over, but my yogurt was already running down the side of my hand. I finished off the last of it as I walked past the gym, feeling a sense of solidarity with its patrons. We were all a hot, sweaty mess. The how’s and why’s are irrelevant. 

I think I’ll leave frozen yogurt for the fall, when the walk across the parking lot will be more bearable. Of course, that’s easy to say when I have my desk fan angled to dry my armpits. I’ll probably forget all about this uncomfortable experience the same way that mothers forget birth pains once they see their beautiful babies. The truth of the matter is that I’ll probably brave the parking lot again next week for a taste of coconut frozen yogurt. 


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