It’s supposed to be a pretty simple process. Every workday, before I leave the office on my way back to la casa de Puddin (or a hasty flight to parts unknown), I stop at the fridge, grab a few fresh cubes of ice, and top off my iced tea. Then I cheerfully head out to the Middle-Aged Dadmobile (compact version), whistling to myself like Dopey, enthusiastically anticipating my Cleaver-esque arrival at home, even in the face of an inevitably patience-trying stop-and-go commute.
Yep, twenty-four ounces of freshly brewed iced tea is the perfect tonic for the modern suburban commute.
But then something absolutely horrifying happened: I reached into the innocent, blue plastic ice bin in the freezer and found nothing but cold air and few lonely crystalline shards of ice crumbs. Their smallness and sparseness mocked me and my thirst. Not yet deterred, though, I confidently grabbed for the ice trays. And frowned in horror when they came away much too easily in my hand.
You know how that looks, right? When you grab something you expect to be much heavier than it is—because let’s face it, frozen water is much heavier than air—and you end up flying backwards like the tug-o-war team whose opposition just gave up. I’m pretty sure I looked like Elmer Fudd holding an Acme product for a few seconds.
Oh, yeah, so what I’m getting at is that the damned ice trays were completely and totally empty. Bare. Bone dry. Void. Vacant as a Kardashian stare. AS EMPTY AND UNFULFILLED AS MY HOPES AND DREAMS.
I’m not sure exactly what happened after that. I have vague, patchy memories of a frothing, spittle-flinging, rage-fueled string of curses that may or may not have included a condemnation of both the U.N. and KFC as well as some sort of revelatory prophecy muttered in Sanskrit. What I do know is that when I came back to my senses, I still had nothing but a pair of empty ice trays, a recyclable plastic tumbler of warming tea, and a partially withered soul.
See, this system should be pretty effin’ simple: use the ice that’s in the bin until it’s gone, then crack the cubes in trays into the bin and refill them. Yes, I’m sorry, it might 90 seconds of your precious time. But just like that you have a simple, renewable cycle of ice guaranteed to fulfill everyone’s frozen water needs at almost any moment. Well, except for that one time at the office holiday party, but I don’t think we need to relive that just now.
At any rate, in a slap to the collective face of all modern civilization, some selfish, unscrupulous person blew through the department yesterday, ignored the empty bin, and stole, YES, STOLE, every single last ice cube from our socialist ice commune. Leaving me, at the end of a long day of work, empty-handed and parched. With nothing but white-hot fury and lukewarm tea to slake my thirst on a trying drive home.
Oh, and anyone about to suggest I might have “issues” in that I require a beverage in-hand every waking moment of the day can just Stop. Right. There. Sure, my attachment to fluids is borderline intervention-worthy. But hey, he/she who is without a Starbucks or high-fructose corn syrup addiction can cast the first stone towards my glass houses. Or something. Whatever, that’s so NOT the issue. The underlying thing here, which admittedly might seem the very definition of a First World Problem, is not about the ice or the drink. It’s about displaying some simple damned common courtesy. It’s about not taking and keeping all to yourself shit that other people use, like a kindergartener hording the crayons at the art table.
Just ice, you say? Get over it? Hell no, it’s not just ice. This, this is about humanity.
Either that, or someone forgot his meds this morning.