I can no longer move forward emotionally until I face my demons. Let’s get this skeleton out of it’s cold cold closet: I have a difficult relationship with ice. As Bono so meaningfully crooned: "I can’t live... With Or Without You."
Given my addiction to iced tea, ice cubes play no small role in my daily life. So it is not surprising that I have strong emotions about these frozen modern marvels.
The right ice, submerged in even moderately fresh iced tea, can result in a high-flying, hard rockin’, happy happy, super-productive super-mom kind of day. The wrong ice can lead to a dreary, yesterday’s news, murky-surly-cloudy kind of day. Because who wants to imbibe foul-smelling iced caffeinated beverages? And without the caffeine, things get a little ugly.
First, let’s talk about home ice-makers: As much as I wish it were true, they are just not the same as the industrial-variety ice makers that are found at restaurants. I don’t care how meticulously clean the rest of your house is, I really don’t want to use your home-made, cloudy, crusty old cubes that smell like last week’s pot roast. Though I know it is terribly rude, I have been known to bring my own fast-food-chain-bought iced tea to parties at the homes of perfectly respectable people. When you need a fix, you really can’t take a chance that your beloved beverage of choice won’t be drinkable due to the lousy ice. Better to insult the host than to spend the entire party sans caffeine, when you’ll likely insult all the guests instead.
At home, I prefer to keep a bag of store-made, spring-water ice in the freezer for ice emergencies. But even this is fraught with drama:
The first day, you bring the ice home, and you’re all aglow with anticipation. It feels like a shiny bright new relationship. You have everything you need: fresh cool tea, fresh ice, a straw or two -- maybe even a lemon. You and your frosty glass of Earl Gray can spend the days together in perfect harmony, musing on each other’s perfection and your uber-productive, if jumpy, future together.
But soon enough, that happy little relationship begins to sour. Those cubes that at first seemed to satisfy your every thirst have begun to show their true colors. They are a little gray and they’ve taken on a slightly musty flavor. Plus they keep falling all over the floor when you open your overstuffed freezer.
Then those sneaky little cubes begin to insinuate their flavor into your tea, rudely taking on more and more cup space as the hours go by. Soon enough, you can’t stand the sight of those once-beloved spring water cubes. You wonder what you ever saw in them in the first place. Realizing the relationship will never again be the same, you guiltily dump the remains of the bag into the sink, and stand a bittersweet vigil until the offending ice dissolves.
But what to do, what to do? Without ice, there can be no iced tea. And a world without iced tea is not a world I want to live in.
As I see it, there are two alternatives: You can spend your life speeding between fast-food restaurants in search of clear-water, clean-iced beverages, or you can purchase bag after bag of spring water ice that then sits in your stinky old freezer, only to part with 9/10ths of it in a week. (And don’t tell me I just need to clean my freezer, because I am convinced that the problem is not just the odor infringement, it is also the primary ingredient itself – the unfiltered tap water -- that muddies an otherwise lovely beverage partner.)
I have taken much well-deserved grief from my friends regarding my ice snobbery. When Hurricane Sandy hit, and every restaurant was closed, and the store shelves were cleaned out, I had to go groveling back to a neighbor whose ice I’d previously spurned. Like a cheating spouse with my head hung low, I had to beg for her homemade ice -- which, I should note, was perfectly tasty by any reasonable person’s standards. Still, it was no drive-thru ice. My generous friend filled up two bags of the stuff for me and kept her gloating to a minimum, but she also kept my jittery voicemail message and texts as proof that I once sank low.
That’s okay, I’m not proud of my addiction. But I also know that nothing beats a good old fashioned, fresh-brewed iced tea with fresh-as-possible, filtered-water ice. Lemon is nice too, but not essential. It's the ice, man:
can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
Written for MamaKat's pretty much world famous Writer's Workshop: "Take a line from a song you love and turn it into the title of your next blog post. Let the content follow." Check out more prompts and responses here.