Day 8: “Milkshakes”

January 22nd, 2016

Bourbon milkshake

Sometimes the only way to get a good milkshake is to make it yourself. This was the last milkshake I drank before I realized I was pregnant. There may or may not have been bourbon in it.

 I‘m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. The theme for me is “personal, not pretty.” See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers. 

I’ve noticed that Utah doesn’t really understand the concept of a milkshake. Which is unfortunate, because milkshakes are my raison d’etre.

Almost everywhere you go in this state, if you order a milkshake, you get an enormous cup of soft serve with a long-handled plastic spoon. I guess this is a regional thing, but it just ain’t right. A milkshake should consist of ice cream (real ice cream) and milk (real whole milk) shaken together for drinking with a straw. If you have to eat it with a spoon, it’s ice cream. And not very good ice cream, in my experience.

Once, Jon and I googled “Best milkshake in Sandy” and drove through a fast-food joint to order a milkshake on our way to a Nicki Bluhm concert downtown. I asked for a “small” and was dismayed when I was handed an absolutely enormous cup straight out of Idiocracy. The plasticky soft serve rose up about 3 inches past the rim of the cup, making a lid an impossible dream.

I was basically terrified, because Jon and I had just started dating, and if there was one thing I knew about him, it was that he cared very deeply about his car, a black GTI with a flawless and immaculate interior. And I am a clutz. I thought about handing the elephantine cup back through the drive-up window and telling the lady, Thanks but no thanks. But Jon had been so proud to find “the best milkshake,” so I took it without a word.

Actually, that’s a lie. I said something like “What the fuck is this? Milkshakes don’t have spoons.” Anyway.

I was suddenly not in the mood for a milkshake anymore, so I put it in the console drink-holder for safekeeping and was seriously disturbed when we got to our destination about a half hour later and the excess top-off had not melted at all. I ended up throwing the “milkshake” in a dumpster, where it made a clanging sound on the way down.

Sadly, the concert didn’t work out either. I had this bladder-on-fire thing going on that later turned out to be a UTI, and I couldn’t hack it. I probably would have been able to hack it, but while Jon was in the bathroom, the seat I snagged toward the back got usurped by a very overweight man who insisted that he was “disabled” and needed that exact seat, for some reason.

“I’m disabled too,” I said. “My bladder is on fire.”

He stared me down, and I gave in. Jon was not happy when he came back. He threatened to have a word with the guy, but I begged to leave, and cried the entire way back to his house. I also sobbed for a while in the bathtub, and for most of the next few days, until I got on antibiotics. 

A few months later, I again had a milkshake craving, but this time, we were in Mill Valley, where I still lived at the time. In California you can get a decent milkshake pretty much anywhere, but my favorite spot was this little burger joint that served Strauss Organic Vanilla milkshakes. They came in a small, made-from-corn takeout cups—with a straw.

On this particular occasion, I had been feeling off all day, and the short drive to the burger place made me incredibly nauseated. I tried to remedy my ill feelings by bringing the milkshake home and spiking it with bourbon. Later, it turned out I was pregnant. Whoops. It was just a tiny bit of bourbon, promise.

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