Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Slurpees are a part of summertime like fingers are a part of hands. Slurpees could be the perfect small-scale model of everything summertime is and should be: sweet, sticky, refreshing, something to look forward to, and lastly, difficult to slurp when your straw reaches the bottom and all the Slurpee is sticking to the sides of the cup. That’s when you remove the dome lid, swish the half-melted liquid around in a circular motion, reposition the straw, and resume enjoyment. It is this last point upon which I will direct my thoughts today.

When you first walk out of the 7-11 with your Slurpee, life feels immediately easier. Slurpee consistency is perfect. Love is in the air, and nothing will ever, ever go wrong in your life again. That sweetness hits your tongue, and all at once, the world around you slows to the casual pace of your slurping. The slushy goodness glides up that green straw with effortless ascension, requiring minimum suckage, yielding maximum satisfaction. You forget your propensity to stress over rent, relationships, or robot invasions. Your body fills with cold, sweetened ice, and in your mind you hear Sly & the Family Stone’s Hot Fun in the Summertime vamping. Your hips start to swing a little as you walk down the street. Everyone you pass is your friend. All the lights say “Walk,” and a twenty dollar bill drops from the sky and adheres to the condensation of your GI Joe Slurpee cup. Slurpees are money. A Slurpee is freedom in a cup. If there were an open fire hydrant flooding out its contents upon laughing children, you’d drop your bag and run to join them, splendiferous cup of freedom in hand. Yeah, it’s that good when you first leave the 7-11.

Ten minutes later…

You’re back in your car which is twenty degrees hotter than outside. Your skins sticks to the vinyl, and there’s nothing good on the radio. You grab your sweaty cup and slurp air. Another red light - jeez! Swish, swish. You angle the straw to “more verdant pastures” where Slurpee still stubbornly clings, but the color's gone out of it some. You're sucking a bit harder now, literally and otherwise.

Fifteen minutes later…

You’re in a crowded parking lot, people trying to kill you, and you’re ready to intentionally bash into a bumper or two. Your AC is spotty, and you can’t spare a hand at the moment to get rid of (oh kill me now) Smashmouth. The Slurpee? The Slurpee is now just a non-carbonated syrup filling up the bottom two inches of your GI Joe cup, oozing sticky crud that’s bleeding on to the cup holder. Waiting while a car backs out of a spot, you steal a sip, then immediately wonder why the hell you did that. Blauchglk!

What happened? Where’s Sly? Where's the laughing, soggy children? It was only fifteen minutes ago, and so much has changed. Sly is now a synthesized arrangement of Gloria Estefan as you search the Wal-Mart aisles for the best deal on deodorant. The children have been caged into shopping carts, screaming their lungs and faces raw. You faintly remember the good times, that first step out of 7-11, that marvelous frozen delight in tote. You loved that Slurpee. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready to go back there right now and grab another. It would make you sick! The truth is, we need a little life without Slurpees in order to appreciate them in their full majesty, as nature intended. So it is with summertime.

We’re nearing the end of a glorious season – the Slurpee season. And while so much of me grieves this impending transition, this temporary farewell to warm nights and cherry red-stained tongues, I square my jaw and face the music. Through fall and winter I will endure what is necessary to ensure my cherry Slurpee of May 2010 is a good one – one for the books.

(This post is dedicated to the recently nuptualed Julie Hulet Keller, fellow Slurpee enthusiast and muse.)


ju said...

Far and away my most favorite post ever. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Mary@McCormick: Wonderful post!! I just love your creative funny posts. I use some of your phrases -- like "In Fresno we watch the heat rising from the pavement." "Plastic perk parts" "needles tickle," etc.