It was 3:20 pm and I wanted ice cream. I'd been wanting ice cream since Sunday afternoon when my mom and I were strolling around Balboa Island -- right by Dad's Donut Shop & Bakery that is famous not for their balls of fried dough, but for their frozen bananas and chocolate covered "Balboa" ice cream bars. As we passed by a cadre of individuals devouring their drippy ice cream treats, I hinted to my mom that I "kind of wanted one." She moaned something about being "too full" from our lunch at Zinc Cafe and I pretended I was too.
I wasn't. I was just too embarrassed to get one by myself.
24-hours later my tongue was still lusting for contact with some great ice cream. Not frozen yogurt, not Pinkberry tart faux-yo, but real ice cream -- silky smooth and made with ingredients I can pronounce.
I wanted Pazzo Gelato.
Never mind that it was at least a twenty minute drive from my apartment. Never mind that no one was available to go with me (spontaneous outings with friends do not exist in LA), and never mind that I would have to sit alone and eat my scoop in the presence of canoodling couples. I didn't care. It was my day off and I could do what I wanted with it.
So I drove. And drove. And swore at some slow-moving cars. And then I waited in line behind the canoodling couple trying to decide which three flavors they wanted to share. They were still debating over brown butter pecan and chocolate orange when I sat down with my single scoop of almond fudge swirl (Brief aside: I accidentally just deleted the picture, but will update with the swirly goodness later today!) I smiled at the dad helping his daughter eat her eggnog scoop, I nodded at the two hipster-esque friends chatting at a nearby table, and then I turned my full attention to the luscious gelato. I savored each spoonful - marveling over the creamy texture, the decadent dollops of fresh fudge and well-balanced proportions of chocolate and almond flavor.
"This really is the best in LA," I thought, echoing S. Irene Virbila's sentiments in a recent posting on Serious Eats for the LA City Guide.
When I finished my gelato and started toward my car, it struck me that I didn't want my date with myself to end. I'd been wanting to see Frost/Nixon since reading the gushing review in the LA Times, and knew there was a 4:35 pm showing at the Arclight -- a 10-15 minute drive from Pazzo Gelato.
I glanced at my watch. 4:10 pm. I could make it if I hurried.
Seventeen minutes later, I handed the theatre cashier my $25 Arclight gift card and placed my order for a single ticket. Much to my delight, she gave me $10 back in cash -- an amount that more than paid for my ice cream and $2 parking. I couldn't help but remember that the last time I went to a movie on a date, I ended up paying for both my ticket and my clueless companion's. The irony didn't escape me that I was coming out ahead on my date with myself.
I settled into my seat just as the usher was coming forward to announce the film, and spent the next two hours fully immersed in the story and Frank Langella's Oscar-worthy performance as Richard Nixon. While I normally gravitate toward romantic comedies of the 27 Dresses variety, the film was easily the best I have seen this year. Funny, poignant and chock full of the juicy historical nuggets that kept me on the edge of my seat in my history classes in college, Frost/Nixon is an amazing work of cinema. I say this not to sound pretentious and like those know-it-alls in my one and only Radio Television Film course, but because it truly deserves the acclaim.
As I pulled onto my street last night, plotting my plan of attack for the orzo shrimp dish (for one) I was making for dinner, I felt flush with the same excitement I feel after a really great date with a cute boy. I wanted to tell all my friends about the amazing ice cream, I wanted to rehash all my favorite parts of the movie, and I wanted to go right back out and do the whole thing over again. But more importantly, I felt an incredible sense of pride that I had the courage to get out there and live instead of hibernating in my apartment and spending the afternoon organizing my closet by color.
It was one of those "aah-ha," "gotcha" moments. My life needn't stop because other people have plans. After all, the phrase is, "the world is your oyster" -- not, "the world is our oyster."