A couple of months ago a patient gave me a Magnum ice cream bar, and by the time I was able to bring it home it was already sloshing inside the packaging. For weeks I’ve been attempting to take it out of the freezer and throw it to the trash but never got around to doing it, thinking it must already be expired and in horrible shape. But NOW that we’re in quarantine I’m quite ecstatic that I never got to throw it away because apparently the expiration date is still September 2020, and as I was licking it and ramming it down my throat I was thinking that this was the most magnificent deformed Belgian chocolate-coated ice cream bar I have ever tasted.
This calls to mind an incident over 7 years ago when I was still training in fellowship (or as I liked to call it, hellowship). There was supposed to be a meeting for a clinical trial in Makati, which I begrudgingly attended because in sheer poverty any unnecessary bus ride puts a dent on my daily budget. In fairness, the free dinner in the Spanish restaurant was fantastic–in fact in hellowship, anything free is fantastic.
“Dessert?” the Singaporean sponsor asked around. I wanted to say “Souffle! I want a SOUFFLE!”–I’ve been watching a lot of Top Chef at that time–but to my annoyance the senior consultant said that he would only have coffee, so everyone round the table just asked for coffee. I didn’t want to look like this makapal young trainee hellow asking for something fancy, so I relented and said “Coffee, just coffee for me as well”. Looking back, I think the other younger doctors also wanted something more… like a cheesecake. Well I would have wanted cheesecake too but you didn’t speak up did you, none of us did! To this day, I haven’t tasted a souffle.
“How are you travelling back to your boarding house?” our consultant Dr. CG asked me. I told him I’m taking a jeep. “No, no, no you take a cab,” he told me as he handed me one thousand pesos, at which point I imagined a church choir singing songs of praises in the background with doves flying all around. “Thank you, sir,” I sheepishly said as I stashed the treasure in my pocket.
Of course I still took the jeep–I could stretch that money for over two-week’s allowance. As soon as I reached my boarding house I thought, you know what you have one thousand in yer pocket, you haven’t had a proper dessert, you deserve something nice! So I ran to the nearest 7-11 and got myself the most expensive ice cream bar in the freezer–Magnum! At that time it was the best ice cream I’ve ever had, now only edged to second place by my Quarantine Magnum.