Ever get the feeling there’s something going on that you don’t know about? I do. Constantly. It’s a feeling I’ve lived with for pretty much my entire life, a suspicion that no matter what’s happening at the moment, something more compelling, important, cool, intriguing—whatever, just something more, is happening somewhere else. It could be just around the corner or halfway around the world, but it’s out there, simultaneously taunting and beckoning me. Usually the feeling strikes at night. And in the warmer months, when it does, it can be hard to ignore. Sometimes only a trip to Zip Dip helps.
Living as I do on the east side, the trek across town from Oakley to Bridgetown can take on mythic dimensions. The quest for creamy whip forces us to travel not just across space but through time as well. We drive past turn- of-the-century mansions in O’Bryonville and East Walnut Hills, across the modern causeway of I-71, skirt the edge of Pill Hill in Clifton and the architectural wonderland of UC’s campus, then plunge down the slope into the former meat packing district of Camp Washington. Crossing the Western Hills Viaduct, I can never shake the thought that the whole thing’s going to come crashing down around our car, à la The Matrix—but not before we make a hasty escape up Harrison Avenue, through Fairmount and Westwood and the Republic of Cheviot, before catching sight of Zip Dip’s neon sign, glowing like the Holy Grail in the evening sky.
The Zip Dip trip has become a regular warm weather tradition for our family. For my wife and I, it’s a welcome (and cheap) end-of-the-day stress-reliever, temporarily obscuring the anxiety of wondering what that potentially better something is that hovers just off the map of our lives. For our daughter, it holds the promise of a little nighttime adventure and a large, structurally compromised cone of soft serve ice cream, preferably a chocolate-vanilla twist. Whatever it is that’s going on out there that I don’t know about, it feels less urgent when creamy whip’s involved.