Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Spring Break and Shamrock Shakes

It snowed this afternoon in Laramie; huge, wet flakes which left slush in the streets. Afternoon snowstorms are like afternoon buzzes: when it's over, the night seems timid and slow in coming, like it knows it can't compete.

Throughout the day I've been emailing Willie about Spring Break plans. He's down in Steamboat Springs, which is remarkably close to Laramie. Since we're both University of Illinois graduates, and since the NCAA tournament starts during my Spring Break, it only made sense to invite myself down to his and Jenn's place for a few days during the break.

While emailing him, I realized the tournament starts on March 17th. "Huh," I thought to myself, "that's St. Patrick's Day. And St. Patrick's Day means that I need to buy a bottle of Tullamore Dew, and that ... holy crap." Ten minutes later I was in the McDonald's parking lot.

I only have two addictions that I'm aware of. The first is the PC game "Call of Duty," a World War II era game in which you run around and shoot people. It's a lot of fun, but not nearly bloody enough. The other addiction is McDonald's Shamrock Shakes. They're green and minty and, with any luck, not made of chopped up doggie parts.

Perhaps I should explain.

I spent a few summers and the 1983/84 school year with my mom in Rochester, New York. Our neighbors were a yuppie couple with an incredibly large and incredibly stupid black lab named Shamrock. Shamrock would play soccer with us, only instead of chasing the ball like a normal dog he'd bowl over the smaller kids, usually with a large muddy paw. Shamrock would chase our cat. Shamrock would eat random piles of shit on the sidewalk. Shamrock was not a smart dog.

I had my first Shamrock Shake sometime around then, and ever since – every single time I've bought a Shamrock Shake – I've thought about Shamrock the dog. So I thought about Shamrock and sipped the shake on my way to Wal*Mart.

And that reminds me. My Ibuprofen supply has dwindled significantly in the past few weeks. Between battling the crud for four weeks and residual stiffness from kayaking, I pretty much cleaned out what little pain medicine I had. So, it seemed like a good time to swing by Wal*Mart.

I've decided that the best thing Laramie's Wal*Mart has going for it is the view from the parking lot. The store sits on a tract of land near the Interstate, on a rise on the east side of town. It doesn't feel like it as you drive there, but it probably sits 200 feet or so above campus, so from the parking lot you can see not only the, uh, Laramie skyline, but also the Snowy Mountains, 20 miles to the west. Today was a typical late winter scene: rows of gray curtains drifted toward town, and the Snowies' peaks were hidden in swirls. But for all the ragged clouds, I got the distinct impression that Spring is on its way.

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