As an introduction, the best way to describe me is that my thought train often jumps the tracks. Sometimes what I come up with is good, sometimes it’s not so good, and sometimes it leaves you wondering, WTF? Most of the time, maybe, it leaves you wondering WTF. A friend of mine once told me “You come up with some weird flotsam and jetsam,” hence the name of the blog. (He also told me, “Of course I’ll read your book, you spazzy chick,” but that’s irrelevant to this blog post.)
Last night I had a craving for tator tots. While I had some in the freezer, I didn’t have a clean cookie sheet to heat them up. And I hate doing dishes. Plus, Sonic’s sounded really good, seeing as how theirs are always perfectly crispy and overly salted, and mine aren’t because first, I get too impatient and never leave them in long enough (I don’t believe in using timers while cooking), and second, I tend not to use much salt because my blood becomes all buzzy when I have too much sodium.
However, there are no Sonics in my town. Or Chik-fil-a’s, or Moe’s, or Noodles and Co’s, or any other chain restaurants that are the mark of a culinary nirvana. Just two or three Applebee’s and the only Cracker Barrel in the state. My next option was Taco John’s, as their tator tot thingies are pretty good. But it was cold and dark and late and probably snowing, and I was already in my pajamas, so I decided to wait until today and get them for lunch.
Today is a really nice day, by Frigid Northland standards. It’s above freezing and the snow is melting (20.1 inches so far this year). You walk out and want to take your coat off, it feels so wonderful out. Some people didn’t even wear coats to work today, although I personally think that they’re nutjobs. When I become acclimated to a place, or have gone native, it’s a sign that I should move to another region of the country. My only mark of North Carolina is that I say y’all and call everyone sweetie.
While the temporary thaw is nice, it leaves a big mess on the road. The melting snow forms huge puddles with the salt and sand. Chunks of once-frozen slush gushes off cars like their water is breaking. Mother Nature is teasing us, because in two days the high is predicted to be 2, and there will be snow on the ground until April.
I drove the few blocks or however far to Taco John’s, since no one walks in this town, and requested a large order of their tator tot thingies, which according to the girl taking my order are actually called “Potato Olés.” Poor girl, I think I really confused her by not using the right terminology. Whatever the spice is that they use – paprika or chili powder or some other red seasoning – they hit the spot. And seeing as how I ordered a large and am an incredibly slow eater, they’ll continue to hit the spot for the rest of the afternoon.
While sitting in my car waiting for my order, I noticed all the slush and grime that had splashed up on my window. And that reminded me of a date – one of two – that I had in high school.
H had asked me to go ice skating with him. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year, barely above zero – balmy by the standards of those up here in the Frigid Northlands – so the ice rink was actually warmer than outdoors. I remember him driving across the I-74 bridge, except now for the life of me I can’t think of why we would’ve been on that bridge because I lived on the other side of town and the ice rink was at the base of the Centennial Bridge. Was it still a toll bridge at that point and neither of us had the $.50 to pay to get across? But that was in the days before everyone had debit cards, and we were only 16 anyways and would only have had cash.
So then I started thinking, we ate at the Pizza Hut by the mall. But I think we did that afterwards, because why would you eat then go skating? You’d be too full and wouldn’t want to move. It was the middle of the afternoon too while we were there, I think. I remember the restaurant being not very full, and I remember it being dark outside but it’s almost always dark out in my memories, so that’s not really any help.
Anyways, regardless of why we were on that bridge, I remember lots of slush and gunk flying up on the windshield and H having the wipers on, constantly spraying windshield wiper fluid on them so that he could see to drive.
I wonder how he’s doing and if he still ice skates. And if he’s a fan of Taco John’s tator tot thingies.