Saturday, September 23, 2006

snow cones for breakfast

This week I missed my blog.

I missed it on Monday morning, when I went to the post office and church and had adventures in forgetfulness. And on Monday night, when my Faith team met Juan. And on Tuesday, when I started teaching my high school logic class and was full of inhaled dry-erase dust and the exuberance of teacherhood. And on Wednesday, when I gave my Comm110H speech on Wellington (with apologies to Brendon and Aura). And on Thursday, when I talked to Ira about going to Mexico with the nursing students. And on Friday, when I realized how thoroughly depressed I am by early twilights. And today, when I went to type "boundless" into my browser and accidentally typed "futureinlaw."

So now -- FINALLY -- I log back on.

And it's not so great.

You see, I have this theory. It's the snow cone theory.

Snow cone eating begins with anticipation. You see the other snow cone eaters dripping and slurping away, and you know deep down inside that you, too, would enjoy said dripping and slurping. So to the snow cone stand you go, to (I hope) pick your grape or cherry (or both -- but NEVER bubble gum . . . ick) syrup.

Oh, how it sparkles in the cup.

The first bite is never quite what you expected because, well, the ice and the syrup don't stick together so well. So you pursue the syrup further into the cone, meanwhile not only dripping and slurping, but getting ice crystals up your nose and red food coloring on your new shirt.

Every bite tastes mostly like ice.

Eventually, as your nose becomes numb, the bottom of the cone gives out and a persistent stream of colored droplets begins to splatter your right foot. You've still tasted only hints of the syrup. (Around this time, some people give up and go back to the stand for more syrup; I kind of think of that as cheating.)

Then -- FINALLY -- you get to the syrup. Here you are, on the threshhold of all you've been waiting, slurping, dripping, and staining to get.

And then you remember: snow cone syrup is sugar water. With chemicals in it. It's gross. Okay mixed in with the ice. But, by itself, gross.

All of life is like this.

On the whole, a snow cone is not a bad experience. I'll be in line for one next time, just as soon as the next person. But each individual bite is never all that you expected it to be.

As the principle extends beyond the world of ice and sugar water, the implications only become deeper and more painful.

I don't expect my snow cone to satisfy any great void in my being. Or to produce any profound joy. Consequently, any snow-cone induced disappointment can reach only so far. But raise the stakes, and the Vale of Potential Disappointment yawns like the massive chasm that it is.

What brings the greatest joy also brings the greatest pain.

And . . . er . . . hmmmmmm.

Somehow a post on a blog breakfast is turning into a sermon.

There is, of course, a happy ending. Just not an earthly one.

At any rate, it's nice to be back.


Anonymous said...

Not to destroy your analogy, but there's this handy tool for eating snow cones with. Where I'm from, it's called a "spoon."

mle said...

[I hate not knowing who I'm being annoyed with.] :-P

Who ever eats a snow cone with a spoon???

yanokp said...

not me

Anonymous said...

I do.

Allison said...

I don't eat snow cones in the first place, so HA!


Zoogirl said...

So you have now immortallized your theory in writing.
I have tried to give you a glimps that not ALL of life is like a snow cone.
Alas I guess my efforts have all failed.

I will just keep pryaing that you can start to see the sweet part of life more often.

you know I couldn't let this one go with out a comment

mle said...

You're right. :) I was waiting for you to post.

Actually, if this makes any sense at all, I think that the snow cone cycle of unfulfilled expectations makes life sweeter. At least bittersweeter.

Something like death or sickness, which keeps our human relationships from being perfect, ends up making the relationships more precious and bringing out beautiful things about them that we would never see without the lens of pain.

And the fact that we know that there is something out there better than anything we've experienced is really encouraging to me, because it's like a hope I can grab onto.

Am I just rambling or does this make sense at all?

(Now, your point about how I whine too much -- THAT's a different story and I have no rebuttal for that one :] )

Anonymous said...

Emily, have you read _Great Expectations_?

mle said...

Yeah, about ten years ago.

Anonymous said...

When asked in class to put up a one-sentence description of Pip on the board, I wrote that "Pip is fatally introspective."
I think that Chesterton would say (as he did of _...Expectations_) that your snowcone-post is very "Thackerayian," even if the spirit of your writing on the whole is totally opposed to that outlook.

mle said...

I would just be like "Chesterton reads MY blog?????" and would be ecstatic for a while (if he were still alive, that is...).