It's warm in San Francisco today, and the sundresses are on parade. I'd say it's hot in San Francisco today, but it's not hot to anyone who has suffered through even one day of 100+ degree heat this summer. It's merely warm, but oddly so. July is typically a month for overcast skies and windy, cool days in this city by the bay. It's only 73 or so degrees, but the breezes are scarce and the city's Mission residents are taking this opportunity to put on flimsy things with no bras beneath.
On warm days like today the air twinkles with the sound of bells on ice cream carts. Fruit pops and tri-colored ice cream bars are pushed around on wheels, typically by an older Latino man, and sold to pleading children who promise not to get it on their new shorts. I don't know how much this ice cream costs. I bypass the carts for the expensive, fancy ice cream with bourbon in it at the trendy shop on the corner.
In my head the ice cream bars in the carts on the street cost only 35 cents, but I can't afford them.
One of my strongest memories from elementary school were the afternoon ice cream breaks. At around 2:15, between social studies and math, some children in my class got ice cream. Some did not. Ice cream privilege wasn't determined based on attendance, good grades or good behavior. Instead, the children that got ice cream were the children who brought 35 cents to school.
This ice cream could be had every day, Monday through Friday, if you could afford it. Some kids bought and ate ice cream every day. Some kids only once a week. Some kids only a few times a year.
I didn't get to eat ice cream every day or even every week. I wanted to; instead I watched.
I remember watching LeAnn sometimes not finish her Nutty Buddy cone. She probably wasn't hungry after her mom-packed brown bag lunch complete with sandwich, chips, pudding and fruit. But she got a cone every day anyway. The trash can saw as much of that ice cream as she did.
I didn't deserve ice cream every day, anyway. Does any child deserve ice cream five days a week? Perhaps had I had ice cream five days a week this wouldn't be one of my strongest memories from elementary school, and I wouldn't be sitting in this coffee shop on this warm day watching girls straining sundresses, writing about ice cream.
Maybe today I'll finally buy an ice cream sandwich from the man with the cart, eat half, then throw it in the trash.