You’ll Never Be Normal Again: My Terrifying Trip to Dairy Queen
by Mrs. Money Mustache
Once again I am making an unauthorized post on MMM, as he is currently out in the wilderness, far from the Internet. Beware, as this post has not been edited by my better half. Improper paragraph formatting and poor grammar may lie ahead. Sorry honey.
“You’ll never be normal again” is the slogan on the t-shirts at TwinFreaks Crossfit. I really like this saying as it implies that you’ve gone beyond Normal into the territory of the Totally Awesome and that this Awesomeness has been triggered by some kind of monumental discovery.
I’m not even close to awesome, but to some extent I was beginning to feel normal in my own little world. In my every day life I’m surrounded by like minded friends. Over time, the people that I am close to have ended up being people with similar values and outlook on life that I have found. Of course, I still run into many that follow a more conventional path, but I only see bits and pieces of these different lifestyles.
And then there’s the Mustachians. They just keep coming out of the woodwork and are some of the most motivating and inspiring folks I’ve met. When you’re surrounded by Mustachians every day in comments and in the forum, you kind of start believing that maybe you’re not all that different. In fact, you might have a long way to go before you’re even close to being as Awesome as everyone else.
My Terrifying Trip to Dairy Queen was my reality check. I am different and in fact, I might be downright weird.
Location: My hometown of Ottawa, Canada.
My parents suggest an outing to the movie theater to watch a 3D movie with little MM. The movie theater is a 30 minute walk away. We drive. No big deal. I’m relaxed about the whole thing.
We get to the movie early and lo and behold, it’s quite empty. A nice surprise for a big city like Ottawa! I cringe through a bunch of ads and movie trivia as people start filing in with their giant bags of overpriced popcorn. I’m not even thinking about how anti-mustachian this scene is, because I am enjoying it from a different perspective. I can’t remember the last time I was at a super fancy movie theater like this one about to watch a 3D movie. My parents are footing the bill, which is a bonus (incidentally, the cost of the tickets is $52.96 CAD for three adults and one child), and all the Neon and Glamor of this night out is making me feel a bit dizzy and hazy. It’s like being at a movie theater for the first time and it seems pretty cool and futuristic. This feeling of experiencing things from a new perspective is one of the huge bonuses of a low-key lifestyle, by the way.
After the movie, we watch the credits and are rewarded by a little bonus scene at the end. This is an MMM family tradition. Almost everyone has left the theater and little MM comments that they “all totally missed out”. They sure did. I guess they’re on to the next big thing… and so are we, apparently.
My Dad is getting antsy. He has a secret evil plan in the works: A surprise trip to Dairy Queen!! The following ridiculous quotes ensue:
- it’s “on the way”
- you always NEED ice cream after a movie, right?
- you only live once
- yeah, there might be a closer one, but this is the one we always go to
We drive and drive and drive (Google maps shows the trip as 4.2 km in the opposite direction of the house with an estimated 11 minute drive time one way). The entire time I am sitting there nearly hyperventilating with every extra minute of driving. My heart is racing and I am getting all stressed out. What is wrong with me? This isn’t normal. People go to Dairy Queen sometimes. I’ve even taken my kid to Dairy Queen once or twice. Why am I suddenly freaking out?
I suppose I had reached some kind of threshold and my happy haze of the night had finally worn off. This little detour wasn’t part of the original plan. It’s like buying a magazine by the check out line at the grocery store, except that instead of buying it while you’re there, you drive 4.2 km to the next grocery store to buy it. It’s an impulse purchase and it was being presented as some kind of special treat to my child. But wait, we already had our special treat: The Movie!! Duh.
But wait, there’s more.
We finally arrive and I look around. We managed to secure the last spot in a dingy, cramped parking lot. Our headlights illuminate the 50-something couple eating their ice creams in the car parked in front of us. They are staring at us like silent Canadians caught eating ice cream in headlights. It’s eerie.
We line up to order. There’s a machine that generously takes your coins in exchange for watching the coin take a roller coaster ride into the DQ abyss. The grandparents happily hand little MM a few coins to pass the time. It’s a long wait but we persevere. With ice creams and their assorted disposable accompaniments in hand, we proceed to the parking lot to find a seat on the curb. We choose a well lit location next to a giant truck that smells like gasoline, since all the other good curb spots are taken. We eat our ice creams without a word. Little MM is full. I finish his cup and am surprised to find the ice cream tastes like crap. Is this fun? Is this what I’m missing out on? This sucks. Maybe everyone realizes it too, so we decide to head home.
As we’re driving home, my Dad turns to me and says: “I just need to make one more stop.”
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