The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 31, 2009

Random Observations Made While Loitering in the Frozen Food Section at the Supermarket

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 2:19 am

Well, it looks like the worst of this big heat wave is over with.  Thanks to the air conditioning at work and in my car (which actually performed quite well considering the circumstances and its occasionally lackluster performance in less extreme conditions) I managed to make it through mostly unscathed.  The good news is that even in this blazing hot weather, my apartment managed to remain a fair bit cooler than some of my siblings’ houses.  The bad news is that even with that in mind, it was still eighty-freakin’-three degrees in here the whole time, and when it’s still over 90 at 11pm, there’s not a whole lot that can be done to bring it down.  The photo above shows my return home from work on Wednesday evening, showing a temperature that I seriously doubt (and hope) I’ll never be seeing on there again while I’m living up here.  Phoenix and Las Vegas can go ahead and keep their weather, thank you very much. 

Of course, the cooler temperatures are all relative, as it’s still 70 degrees outside as I’m writing this at 1 in the morning, and tomorrow’s high is still expected to hit 85 here, with the potential for a 90 or two over the weekend before we finally get some real cooling off in the middle of next week.  Eventually, we should settle back into our standard-issue Seattle August weather of 85 and muggy.  On the other hand, I really can’t complain too much about it.  Once you get past the usual weeping,wailing and teeth-gnashing over the whole thing (and believe me, there was plenty of that to be found,) it really wasn’t all that bad.  I even found the time to go linger outside for a while (in the shade, at least) during the hottest part of Wednesday, and as long as the stuff eventually goes away (and there’s a way to get out of it) it’s kind of nice.  I suspect that some of my friends that take Hot Yoga classes might have even got a chance to go have class outside for once.

Even so, this is the type of weather that few sane people are particularly inclined to linger in for too long, so eventually one is going to want to find a way out of it.  After spending the day in the relative comfort of my air-conditioned building at work, I returned home, noted the temperature of my apartment, and decided it would probably be a good time to make a trip down to Ikea for a few finishing touches to the new “do things that don’t involve sitting at the computer all day” workbench in the corner of my den added to provide a more suitable workspace for RC car tinkering and other stuff (more on that later.)

Then again, not everyone has an immediate need for Scandanavian-themed furniture and accessories (or an air-conditioned vehicle in which to journey there.) so they might go looking a bit closer to home for a cooling-off spot.  The supermarket seems as good a place as any to go, since you can be reasonably certain that something in there is going to be cold.  Not that anyone’s really going to want to do much cooking in this weather, but this type of weather has a definite tendency to make people give much deeper consideration to their vegetable purchases than they usually would.  After all, buying asparagus is a major commitment, and you definitely wouldn’t want to rush into that, right?

As you might expect, the frozen foods department is a popular destination in this type of weather, and the one here shows all the telltale signs of the heat wave.  There wasn’t a bag of ice to be found anywhere in the store, and the ice cream and frozen novelties sections were pretty well picked over by the time I got there.  Elsewhere in the store, the section that just a week ago housed the store’s selection of fans and portable air conditioners has been erased from memory, filled in with miscellaneous storage containers.  In spite of the fact that the entire month of August with its typically hot weather still lies ahead, it’ll probably be next May before another air conditioner is to be found anywhere in the store.  It appears my strategy to pick up another fan or two for the house when they reach closeout pricing has backfired on me.  At least the overworked oscillating fan I picked up on closeout four years ago when I moved into this place is still operating, but for all I know the thing could go at anytime.  That might start to make it just a tad unpleasant around here.  I suppose if I needed one that badly, I could probably find them on Craigslist at inflated prices.  I’m not going to bother looking to find out though, since I really don’t want to know.

Although the whole store is air conditioned and generally a much less unpleasant place to be than outdoors, the aisle with the coolers is where all the action (or at least all the nice cold air) is, although it generally doesn’t provide a whole lot in the way of scenery.  One side contains all the standard-issue deli meats and low-end cheeses, while the other side carries the store’s selection of beers and other recreational intoxicants,  In addition to the standard domesic and import beer sections, another section of this cooler is curiously labelled “New Age Beverages”.  I have no idea what’s supposed to be “New Age” about any of the stuff in this section, which seems to be filled mostly with malt liquor and other stuff generally found in the “get really drunk in a hurry” category of beverages.  An Internet search on the topic doesn’t reveal anything useful, with the possible exception of this market research report being offered for the bargain price of only $5,795.  Needless to say, I don’t think I’m going to be breaking out the credit card for that one anytime soon.

Of course, nothing goes with Summer and hot weather quite like a nice serving of ice cream, and this…  Well, actually I haven’t got a clue what this stuff is supposed to be.  It appears to be a vaguely ice-cream like substance by the name of “frozen dairy dessert,”  which seems to exist primarily for the reason of being cheap.  I haven’t bothered to look too closely at the ingredients on this stuff (something tells me I probably don’t want to know anyway,) but it does seem like it at least contains some sort of actual dairy component (unlike some stuff.  I seem to recall at one point when our family was working at the concession stands at Safeco Field that the soft serve they had there was made with no dairy products at all.)  Perhaps this stuff is meant to be the “New Age Beverage” of the ice cream world?  Although buying cheap ice cream-like substances and somehow getting plastered by eating the stuff might be amusing in a tragic way, I don’t plan on trying to find out what that would be like.

There were probably more interesting things I could have learned from my excessively long visit to the frozen foods section if I had been so inclined, but if I had spent too much more time there I might have been mistaken for a drunkard.  I’ll probably be back at some point though.  Maybe when whatever horrendous stuff Winter decides to throw at us to make up for this stuff on the other end comes around, I’ll go back to the supermarket and loiter in front of the deli case…

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