Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Ice Cream Family

Posted on | June 25, 2017 | No Comments

The first time I tasted Toronto’s famous Bang Bang ice cream a garbage man arrived just as I put the spoon in my mouth. The truck skidded to a stop a few feet away.

First I smelled the inside of the truck. Then the inside of the nearby cans as the garbage man wrenched the door open to grab the bags. Which were still open. Full of flies.

Maybe baby diapers? 

As the first taste of Bang Bang ice cream hit my tongue, I didn’t care.

I was sitting next to my friend Charlotte after an hour’s wait.

On a block of sunlit cement.

The taste of my toasted marshmallow ice cream inside of a cream puff was everything they promised. We know we should go.

That the ice cream would taste better if we moved away from the garbage. But for just a moment we couldn’t.

Sometimes you can’t move. Sometimes you have to let your tongue feel the gentle flutter of angel wings.

“We should go,” says Charlotte.

I concur.

We finished our treat in a nearby park.

We knew we had done well. That in some small way we had a better day than 99% of the world and we had earned it through the survival of a Hipster Endurance challenge.

We got in the line. We stayed in it.

We ordered. We ate.

It was beautiful.

Even though maybe baby diapers.

A week later on a Saturday Night I found myself on Ossington Street once again.

This time the line was even longer. There were literally 150 people in front of me.

I was basically full.

I had already climbed the mountain. I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone.

Yet…..

I don’t fucking have to justify myself to you.

I got in line.

I read my Don Winslow epic about a corrupt cop stuck between his friends and the Feds and waited patiently.

And then the Ice Cream family showed up.

When there were literally was no one behind me. Just 150 people in front of me.

I was relieved.

There’s something comforting in knowing that someone else is going to be waiting longer than you. If they can endure it you can last a little longer. Just to spite them. Because in all lines in the history of time the person behind you is silently willing that you leave.

I listen to the doomsday theories of Ice Cream Family Father.

“Holy (mumbled expletive), it’s going to be 2 hours. At least two hours.”

He’s scrappy, short, muscular and bald. Not balding. No hair. Good shape of head for it. Like it makes him look more masculine somehow. His voice is deep but there’s a little bit of panic in it. Sort of like he’s not excited about ice cream enough for this to be a good idea.

“We came from Thornhill,” says Ice Cream Mom.

She laughs as she says this. I’ve been to Thornhill. I feel like it’s far away. So she’s saying that she isn’t going to leave.

“We did,” agrees Ice Cream Dad.

Ice Cream Dad knows where he lives. This argument isn’t quite so impressive to him.

“It’s going to be great,” she says.

No panic. This is a woman who has given birth to the ice cream kids. Judging by their age there were several pregnancies within a few years. To her this isn’t that big of an inconvenience. After awhile the ice cream children were once in her belly for nine months. These children had used her body like a life extension cord. In fact for about four years and three children she had been their chew toy.

“We’re going to have this ice cream. It’s supposed to be so good.”

“I don’t know if we’ll make it. We gotta go to Church tomorrow early,” says Ice Cream Dad.

I wouldn’t normally interject but I know some key information.

“Hey,” I say. “There’s a place down the street. A good place. Called Sweet Olenka’s. In case this feels like it might be too long.”

A child from the family in front of me begins running in a circle around my legs.

He will not stop doing this for the next hour.

I never kick him. He kicks me several times. But he has little legs. I ignore him.

“Oh. Well we came in from Thornhill,” she says. “You ever tried it? This one. Bang bang.”

“Yes,” I say. “I’ve bang banged. It was great.”

She nods. Gives me a big smile. She looks at her husband. Who breaths in deeply and abandons his fears about this exhibition totally and completely.

This is really a great display of what happens when someone becomes an adult. They come to a resolution. They abandon their bullshit immediately. She rubs his arm graciously accepting his total surrender.

“I think we’ll be in by 10:05.”

It’s 9:30.

35 minutes. I feel the first inkling I might need to pee.

Courage, Willow!

More people file in behind her. Now she’s not at the end of the line. As time slowly moves by the line goes well down the street. I go from being last in line to elite.

I listen to the family. Enjoying their interplay.

The kids are precocious. Speaking rapidly but with something to say. The eldest son enjoys making the father laugh about sports. The youngest son is pretty much a walking potato. But a patient walking potato. The daughter makes jokes as we advance in the line. She’s really, really smart.

She says things like, “You know, I’m not really sure I want ice cream, dad. Maybe we should go.”

He laughs. Enjoying that she’s smart enough to mock him.

The son checks out the menu online. He asks if he can get the egg waffle cone. The father tells him that he can get whatever he wants.

I see the smile on the boy’s face.

He is in a magic moment.

At 12 being offered the choice of whatever you want at the ice cream shop can feel like a minor Christmas. I know that the ice cream is going to blow his mind. Because it really is better than other ice cream. His father knows it too.

He also knows something the son doesn’t.

That this life with his life won’t continue like this forever.

Because Ice Cream Dad used to be part of a different family. One where he didn’t always have his own room. Where he used to have a curfew. Where he would feel trapped by his siblings. And worship them and compete with them. Then he got out. And now he doesn’t see them that often. He loves them but they aren’t his constant companions anymore.

Eventually his father won’t be able to give him everything he wants because he’s start wanting to ridiculous things.

He will also won’t want to hang out with his father on a Saturday night. They won’t have dinner together every night.  They won’t have breakfast everyday. It will be one day on the weekends. Maybe he’ll go to university in town. His sister is really bright. She wants to go Harvard. Her father knows she probably will.

Soon their family will exist across a continent.

Sometimes they’ll make it home for Christmas. Sometimes they won’t. This is a golden age of their family. Where they still compete for their parents attention. Where they haven’t become teenagers. Where they crave adventures like this.

This is the Ice Cream Parents chance to be there.

To wait an unimaginable amount of time for ice cream. To drive on a highway late into the night because for this little block of time they get to have their kids around all the time. Sometimes this feels like too much. The amount they worry. The inevitable hospital visits. The attention that must be paid after a long day at work. When they were born there was no sleep. They used to live in their arms. Now they are little people. Who make them laugh.

It’s nice to see this Ice Cream Family.

Standing in line. About to get exactly what they want.

 

 

Share

Comments

Leave a Reply





CommentLuv Enabled
  • Introduction to the Cure



  • Peter Diamond Gallery

  • About

    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

  • Archives