Meet Me At The Ice Cream Truck
As August comes to its sticky, wet, and hurricane-filled end, I feel a familiar pang of regret: once again, another summer went by in which I forgot to get ice cream from an ice cream truck… yet. Not too much time left. But as far as ice cream trucks go, if I choose the right one here in the beautiful Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, I could get a whole lot more than just ice cream, and I’m pretty sure that’s common knowledge in Philly. So when I saw the article yesterday that was permeating my RSS feed about an ice cream man in Manhattan that got arrested and pleaded guilty to selling oxycotin out of his ice cream truck, I was like, “umm, that’s it? Didn’t have too big a a selection, did he?” (Read the original news report here.) Snore.
My question is: how is this breaking, or for that matter, shocking, news? Haven’t these reporters ever been drunkenly wandering home from the Republican Club in South Philly at 4am and heard an ice cream truck blaring its music down 17th St and thought, “yeah, they’re definitely not selling ice cream at this hour”? Or been at a laundromat under the el and seen the hookers flock to the ice cream truck that is for some reason blaring “O Come All Ye Faithful?” Hookers like ice cream, but I’ve never seen them run that fast… for ice cream. C’mon now.
First of all, where I grew up in the Midwest, there weren’t ice cream trucks. Or if there were, they certainly didn’t come through my neighborhood. So when my family moved farther east when I was a teenager and I first heard the creepy, tinny music and saw the smiling man behind the wheel of a strange van filled with sweets, my first thought was: STRANGER DANGER. Had I known about Pedobear back then, he might as well have been driving all of these trucks. I never went to any of them, convinced that the skeezball behind the wheel was going to pluck me from the street and rape me amidst all the jimmies (and most likely, mouse droppings).
Now that I have lived in Philly for almost ten years, my stance on the ice cream trucks changed. I still think they’re creepy, but I’m no longer scared that the greasy man behind the wheel is that interested in me. (I’m TOO OLD for Pedobear now adays, anyway.) I’m not saying that behind every truck you see is a money-hungry, drug-pedaling fiend, but it’s safe to say that most of them are. And hey, everyone needs to make money, and Mr. Softie isn’t payin’ the bills. Besides, some of the trucks in Philly drive around 12 months out of the year. Next time I see one driving around in January, I’m going to come up to their window and whisper, “Psst… You’re being too obvious…”