Dreaming in Libertyville | Teen Ink

Dreaming in Libertyville

December 18, 2018
By aleks-skutnik BRONZE, Round Lake, Illinois
aleks-skutnik BRONZE, Round Lake, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Picture a candy store on crack- children and all. I don’t mean a place with smiling kids and lollipops, instead there’s only off brand candy mixed into overpriced, bland ice cream. A place where the crying children demand for more sprinkles with blue moon dripping down their chins. The grills are fire, grease sizzling and slashing at the wrists of teenage employees struggling to make a proper hamburger, adjacent to the sinks that clog with soggy hot dog buns and smushed cookie dough bits every night. Try maneuvering around the tiny shack we call an ice cream shop, and you risk being avalanched by the mounds of cake cones and spoons. Clumsiness isn’t an option unless you’re unbothered by a broken neck from a toppling butterfinger bin. Our stained sneakers stick to the sugared floors while we work against the heat to make sure our ice cream cones don’t melt before they reach the customer. A hot summer day only elicits long lines and butt-to-butt contact between the stressed employees trying to wiggle around the three by six foot workspace, desperate to make orders and get them out of the window. Personal space didn’t exist at The Dream, us employees simply accept the overwhelmingly closeness of our coworkers. You grow accustomed to it.

Breaks didn’t exist at Dairy Dream, although we do have small plastic crates to sit on only when the nice managers were present. Have Henry catch you sitting and you’d get a stink eye for the rest of your shift. We were also banned from eating on a shift, however we’ve all snuck in a loose piece of cookie dough into our dry mouths… or sometimes the leftover ice cream if we were feeling a sweet tooth. We slaved away at the mixing machines, hurriedly stirring flavoring and candies into vanilla ice cream. “Small black cherry... double dip… chocolate and sprinkles…” I’d memorize at least three orders at once on a busy July night. The lines of teenagers desperate to cool themselves from the steaming humidity with the ice cream we make stand outside the illuminated drive-in giggling with their friends to pass time. The day shifts weren’t as bad. Serving wide-eyed children begging for a large serving of whatever combination of a sugary creation they set their minds to was the highlight of working my minimum wage job. The blue moon ice cream with gummy bears and rainbow sprinkles is what I gave to those kids; their sugar-induced toothless smiles were what I kept for myself. I still can’t fathom the idea I actually put up with the aching pain in my lower back after standing for hours on end, followed by sweeping and mopping after close. How I’d come home with red, yellow, brown, and especially blue syrup stains running along my forearms and bare legs which wouldn’t come out for days amazes me. One customers dream was an employee’s nightmare.

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