Somewhere Near You
926 Broxton Avenue (@ Le Conte)
Westwood, CA 90024
I very rarely talk about ex-boyfriends here on The Delicious Life.
I just wanted to write that to see what it looks like on the screen.
In order for me to stop injecting snarky, catty, oh-let’s-just-call-it-what-it-is-“bitchy” comments about ex-boyfriends into my posts on a – what it this again? oh right – a food blog, I have to get over these traumatic past relationships because clearly, I am not over them. I have not let go. I am still bitter. As a great flight instructor once told me, “You gotta let him go.” (Name the movie – only five points, because it’s kind of easy.)
The only way I will get over it, however, is by making us all suffer. I just have to write about each of them at length in one post, then move on. I realize that in my life, I have a problem with moving on because I do this thing that many first-born, emotional, sensitive, perfectionist children do. I clingclingcling. So I have been clinging, but now I will get it all off my chest then never mention it again.
Until next week. Or at least until the weekend.
So, if you you’d rather not pay a paltry penny for the pathetic, painfully detailed thoughts about my *sigh* first *sigh* real relationship that rendered my heart into perfectly torn shreds that would make Chin Chin's Chinese Chicken Salad blush, skip ahead to Coldstone Creamery vs. Diddy Riese Starts Here. For everyone else, there’s debit MasterCard. Cripes. Stupid word association. Everyone else, continue right here.
I am going to assume that “Ken” will never read this. However, somehow, my old college friends and acquaintances have found their way to my Delicious Life, which makes it quite possible that Ken will read this and makes me very nervous, because now, I can never say mean things about everyone else. *fake smile* Hi guys! You’re the best! Go Bears! His real name, by the way, may or may not be “Ken,” but you will see momentarily why I chose a character from Street Fighter to represent that asshole. Oops, did I blog “asshole” out loud? What I meant was “bastard.” See, I’m not over what that filthy bastard did, this early in the post yet.
Ken was my first “real” boyfriend, and he is the only guy I have ever dated who was Asian. Good grief, he was even *gasp!* Korean. I think that’s probably why I have stayed away from my own people since then. LOL! I met him within the first few days of moving into my dorm because for some reason, Korean people seek each other out. Coming from Cincinnati, Ohio, I wasn’t even aware that I was really Korean, so this whole “Dae-han mingook 4evaa!!!” mentality was new to me. But I latched onto it fairly quickly because it was an easy way to inject myself into an “identity” group. Ken grew up in southern California. Ken is from The OC. He is very in touch with his Korean side.
I will not go into the details of the rather cursory courtship that went from “Hi, my name is...” to the extra-long twin bed in his shared Triple dorm room within minutes. However, I will mention that I cooked for him. Yes, out of my dorm room, I cooked for Ken with a rice cooker and a hot plate that my mother so very thoughtfully packed for me. To be quite honest, my Mom’s foresight made me a fucking rockstar in my dorm. I fed all my dorm friends Korean food and other such college delicacies as “ramen,” guerilla-style out of my form room. Rockstar, I tell you, until we all discovered the delicious convenience of Durant Square and of course, Top Dog.
Way back in my college days, the term “gamer” had not yet been adopted into our popular vernacular, but if it had, Ken would have been a “gamer.” He played video games, not on a console or on a PC, but in the arcade. I don’t know if arcade games were big on all college campuses during those days, or if they were just popular with nerdy Asian students, or maybe it was just Berkeley, but regardless, every male I knew would forego clean laundry to hoard quarters for video games. Ken was the master of Street Fighter, and as his girlfriend, I always knew exactly where he was all the time. That’s right, Ken was a Street Fighter champion and could always be found either at the ASUC or LaVal’s (which, I have just found out, has closed).
But, alas, I was too trusting. I was naive. In other words, I was stupid to think that Street Fighter Ken was always playing video games or going to Japanime screenings in Dwinelle Hall by the Japanese Student Association. Something was happening but I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time. I was suspicious, but I brushed it off because like I said, I was naive. Or perhaps I was fully aware of it, and I consciously chose to ignore it. I was an utter fool.
Ken and I eventually broke up because he had been cheating on me. Yes, Ken had been cheating on me with another girl, whom I will call Chun-Li, who was supposedly “a friend,” but now looking back, I guess not so much. She was a friend within our circle of friends, but spent considerably more time with the “boys” than with the girls. (Side note of advice for both guys and girls: beware a girl who has mostly guy friends). I never felt threatened by her because she was clearly a tomboy, but I suppose that explains why I never figured out that she and Ken were sneaking around together playing video games, going to Japanime screenings, lying to my face without batting a deceitful eyelash, then doing whatever horrible,
disgusting things they were doing behind my sweet, studious, trusting back.
The sad thing is, I found out about the lying/sneaking/cheating ways after Ken and I actually broke up. I had cried for days and nights on the phone with him, trying to understand why we were breaking up, not getting any logical reasons, begging him to stay together. I called his friends, asking for explanations. Please. Something. Anything. It was pathetic. Of course, they knew, but they couldn’t tell me. I think that might have been the semester I failed Chem 1A.
Eventually, I figured it out. Slowly, hazy recollections of situations moved into place and the entire thing became crystal clear. I squeezed a confession out of Ken’s best friend. I was right. Ken had been cheating on me with this “friend”of mine, broke up with me to be with her, but never had the balls to tell me that truth.
It was devastating to me in every way imaginable, first the breakup, then to drag it out for weeks and weeks to finally find out the real reason. I was a college freshman who had never had a boyfriend before, who never so much as kissed a boy before hopping into bed with “her first,” who thought she and he were so totally head over heels in love with each other, even until the day that he called to break up with her, who even had “when we get married” whispered in her ear.
Oh well, I slept with his best friend, so that made me feel better. Vengeance is mine. (Just kidding – or am I?!)
Ken didn’t just break my heart. Broken hearts heal naturally with time, and my precious, shattered little heart was put back together a long time ago. Ken cheated on me, and trust is something that takes effort to re-build and that, my friends, is what this is all about.
What? What is the point of this story? What does Street Fighter and Sarah’s first boyfriend have to do with ice cream?!?!
The point of the story is this: I will forever hate pretty much anything associated with Ken (wait, does this explain my aversion to Orange County?!?!), and when I first conceived the notion of a deathmatch between Coldstone Creamery and Diddy Riese, my first instinct was Street Fighter. However, Street Fighter is associated with Ken, so in this, and in any, case where I must use a battle or video game as a metaphor, I will have to rely on...Mortal Kombat, even though technically, Street Fighter is a way better game, and Mortal Kombat the movie was just...just an embarrassing bullet point on the resume of every actor who was in it.
Coldstone Creamery vs. Diddy Riese Starts Here
When first I was introduced to Coldstone Creamery, it wasn’t even yet in LA. I was "working" in Seattle, or perhaps San Diego, and I thought Coldstone, this little one-off ice cream shop that hand-blends your choice of “mix-ins” into your choice of ice cream flavor base was brilliant. Effin' brilliant.
Then Coldstone Creamery made its way to LA and spread across the greater metro faster than melting plain vanilla on a picnic table. I was happy. Coldstone everywhere!
But then, as is always the case with overexuberant, addictive consumerism, I overdosed on Coldstone Creamery. The ice cream tasted “sandy” to me - as if the sugar had never dissolved in its custard base, and I realized that the novelty of creating my own flavor wasn’t enough to stand up to the fact that gummi bears mixed into vanilla ice cream tastes like...gummi bears mixed into vanilla ice cream. Okay, actually, I never once had gummi bears mixed into vanilla because that is disgusting, but you get my point. I was paying a ridiculous amount for the “I like it” size of sub-excellent ice cream, embellished with boring mix-ins. Reese’s. Snicker’s. Graham cracker crumbs. And by the time the pimple-faced teenager at the marble slab had taken out all his sexually repressed angst on the ice cream with two flat spoons, the mix-in had been pulverized into an unrecognizable powdered version of its former candy self.
Bottom line: Coldstone is a very expensive, and not very good Sub-zero novelty experience.
When I was first introduced to Diddy Riese, I was impressed, but in a wholly different way than my first time with Coldstone Creamery. I was absolutely fascinated by the success of Diddy Riese’s business model. How on earth does Diddy Riese stay in business? Their most popular product sells for one dollar, and more than likely, never with any extracurricular cash register add-ons by the customer. Sure, there is a perpetual line that snakes up Broxton Avenue, right past the pathetic neighboring food establishment whose owner probably stares through its empty dining room through their front window at customers who aren’t theirs, but I studied Operations. I studied operational flow. I know the queuing model. Even if Diddy Riese serves five customers per minute, they only make $300 an hour, and there are at least five to seven guys back there who are labor costs. Add on astronomical Westwood Village rent, the utilities, the cost of goods sold....It’s like an MBA's worst paradoxical nightmare. Buy high. Sell low.
The ice cream that Diddy Riese serves is nothing special, nothing more than Dreyer’s - no "mixins" to make your own hyper-accessorized flavors. I suspected at one time the cookies were made with lard, but of course, I stand corrected. The cookies are good, but not orgasmic. And yet, the idea of the dollar ice cream sandwich is...enough to make me drive all the way over to the Village, pay seven dollars for parking, wait in line and stare at the menu
boards through the window as if I were really pondering what to order when all along, I already know, then happily skip past the hookahs with my espresso chip lovingly hugged on either side by chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes sugar, but always at least one chocolate chip.
Who knows how Diddy Riese does it? Can I speculate that they have to be selling something else just as addicitve as, but not quite as legal as, cookies out the back door? That the place is a sweatshop of unpaid family memebers? That the rent is “waived” for some special back alley agreement? I won't. I don’t care.
Conclusion: Diddy Riese channels Liu Kang and pounds Coldstone into its own frozen marble slab fatality.
Wow. I have a sense of "closure."