The ice cream man is my nemesis

June 15th, 2008

He's out there... playing that happy tinkling sound drifting through the breeze during summer afternoons and evenings. You know the music. Those non-descript single note tunes from childhood. Perhaps an old nursery rhyme is buried in there somewhere. But whenever you hear it you know who it is. It's the ice cream man. Taunting me again. Tormenting me one more time. It sounds insane, but it has become clear over the past decade:

The ice cream man is my nemesis.

It started years ago in Seattle. You see, I lived on a busy street. East Madison near 23rd to be exact. The ice cream man would always troll the neighborhood at a nice slow speed, but upon nearing the busy intersection he kills the music and floors it so he can enter the traffic fray to make another pass. In the blink of an eye, he'd change from happy cultural icon to evil slave dungeon torturer tempting with the memories of childhood summer treats only to rip them away.

It's not my fault. I would run outside. I'd have money. No, no, I'd have money... it wasn't like those pathetic little children begging Mom and Dad for a couple of dollars. Here I was an adult. A college freakin' graduate with a full time job, a car, and an apartment. But would he stop for me? No. That was the way it was in Seattle for six years.

You'd think that moving out to the suburbs would change things. In a older suburban house between Kent and Renton, but still on a busy street I find myself in the same frozen treat trap. My home now is once again close to a major busy street. This one 4 lanes wide. And I of course am the first house on the right as you enter the subdivision. Once again, the pattern repeats itself. I hear the music, I leave my house only to have missed the tyrannical torturer once again as I am too close to busy traffic for him to stop or slow down for customers young or old.

One day I will catch him. One day I will have his selection of twin pops, strawberry shortcakes, rocket pops, and a variety of ice cream sandwiches at the curb. It's not that I can't buy all these confections and more at my local grocery or corner store. It's the principle of spontaneous summer surprise from childhood.

Mark my words ice cream man. I will catch you. Some summer day when the wind blows your nostalgic tunes just right. When you slow just enough around the corner. When my mind is sharp I will rush to grab my jar of vengeance by the front door as I sprint out to catch you. And when I do, I will take my time in my selection. I will ask you the prices and descriptions of things 2 or 3 times. I will complain about what you have sold out of. And last but not least, I warn you now:

I WILL PAY YOU IN PENNIES!!!!!

Make a pass by my house. I dare you....