Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Open Letter to My Arch Nemesis, The Ice Cream Truck

Dear Mr. Ice Cream Truck,

Oh my God, I hate you so hard right now. 

I thought I would write this to explain why I glare at you with my eyes (and heart) full of furious and righteous anger. You notice me scowling at you, but you don't seem to care. Which only deepens my fury.

Yesterday, you caused my 4 year old to have a 30 minute meltdown. In front of a large group of people because of course. I had to smile and nod and murmur phrases like "We don't reward this kind of behavior" and "No thank you, make another choice" approximately 400,000 times, while wrestling my beloved offspring as she writhed around on the pavement, howling like Mariah Carey with a bladder infection.

You may think the whole point of what you do is to make children happy, BUT YOU JUST MAKE THEM SAD. It's exactly like balloons: you expect it's going to be all happy happy fun time, but kids always end up crying. 

I can't win with you, man. I either buy them an overpriced ice cream and it melts/falls apart or I don't buy them one and there is insta-meltdown. And seriously, you are always there, every single day, sometimes twice, and I can’t buy your stupid Dora head popsicles with choking hazard eyeballs every time. I just can’t. No one can. So basically when you show up, blaring "It's a Small World" like some sort of distortion-infused nightmare theme track, my kids' Pavlovian response is to cry. And so is mine.

You are not the provider of frozen dairy treats, you are the bringer of despair. 

Quick sidenote - speaking of your vehicle's noise pollution musical choices, my friend saw you last week and your truck was playing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer". What in the hell is that all about? That makes no sense. Are you playing mind games now? Is that where this is going?

Let's be up front about what happens every time I cave and buy ice cream from you. What have I really purchased? I've bought my children 30 seconds of ill-fated happiness and myself a summer of whining and petulance. Because I've stupidly agreed to the unwritten but still kid-legal contract. Namely that the ice cream truck is now a possibility that must be confirmed, and if denied, objected to in strenuous terms. Because "the contract" has been violated. 

Don't believe me? Remember that time you wanted to be nice and your kids had to have a bunch of shots, so after their doctor's visit you bought them Happy Meals? How many weeks was it before you could even drive by McDonalds without hearing their little voices, pleading for more drive-thru?

Right. Moving on. I have some questions.

Why do you always show up right before dinner? WHY?

And seriously, why does your truck look like you're hiding bodies in the freezer? Please use a less terrifying vehicle. 

Why do you allow kids to chase you down the street, waving money at you in their little hands and screaming at you to stop? Then you don't stop. You smile at them over your shoulder as you pull out of the neighborhood, while they dissolve into forlorn puddles of sadness. Does their sadness bring you joy? 

Why must every product you sell contain some sort of food coloring or additive that permanently stains clothes no matter how hard I try to get them out? Even vanilla ice cream. How is that even possible?

So those are all the reasons I glare at you. There may be more but I'm tired. You, sir, are the harbinger of summer, but the not good parts. Not the sleeping in and the slowing down and the time together. Just the crap parts like mosquito bites and the "MOOOOM, I'm boooored" before breakfast is even over and sun block in your eyes and the one lost flip flop and no one going to sleep because the sun is out until 9:30 at night. 

And you, my nemesis.

Sincerely,
Lydia B. Coupon
Rants from Mommyland

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

61 comments:

  1. YES!!! The ice cream truck FINALLY stopped on my street Sunday night, after taunting us for weeks from other neighborhood streets. It was also blaring tinkly Christmas tunes ( I live in your county - maybe we had the same 25-year old ice cream truck driver ), but it made me realize that having a creepy vibe must be a requirement to run an ice cream truck. You didn't mention the sticker shock, though. I ate two chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches that day - one at the pool ( $1.50 ) and one from the truck ( $3.50 - OUCH ). Never mind the gluttony of two treats within hours of each other....

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  2. Our local ice cream van also plays Rudolph and various other similarly themed tunes. And you can hear it but never see it...

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  3. We have a firm 'no ice cream man unless we're on vacation' rule in our house. If we are out of town and the ice cream truck goes by, sure. At home? Not a snow cone's chance in hell.

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  4. So far, my kids think the ice cream truck is merely a music truck. As with everything, my in-laws will ruin that. They showed my kids that candy machines aren't perpetually jammed - they will work if you just put money in them. They showed them that quarters will make that petri dish of a spaceship ride at the mall jerk around for a few minutes. They showed them that you actually ARE allowed to purchase items in the grocery aisles, that they're not just "for decoration."

    I'm biding my time until MIL stops the ice cream man. Then, I'll have to make up some elaborate distinction between music trucks and the ones that actually sell $8 popsicles.

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    1. You had me at "As with everything, my in-laws will ruin that." In my case, it's my own flesh-and-blood parents, but thank you for the laugh!

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    2. You know what the real shame is? All these things (ice cream trucks, candy machines, riding toys at the mall) may only be purchased by grandparents. Parents aren't allowed to buy them. Sad but true.

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    3. not all grandparents. Those riding toys were "broken" with my own kids & still broken with the grands. IC truck? Never go near them

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    4. Anonymous, I think you may have just stumbled onto a new face-saving lie we can tell our kids: " I'm sorry, only grandparents are allowed to use/buy those things. Why? Because they're older than parents, that's why they are allowed to use it and I'm not. Sorry kids! (shrugs)"

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  5. We tell our kids that the ice cream truck plays its music when it's all sold out of ice cream. If the music is playing there's nothing left to buy. So sad... :)

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    1. I love you..........this is friggin classic. Too bad my kids are already ruined by the ice cream man. Wish I had known this prior!

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    2. That only works until they see OTHER CHILDREN buying treats for the truck while it's playing music. Or your MIL ruins it by doing the same.

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    3. Yes, and if the flags are flying at McDonald's, that means it's closed. My husband came up with that one. :)

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    4. I tell my kids the same thing!! Because we don't have any kids, besides my own, on our street it doesn't stop. So we dont see the other kids at the truck.

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    5. Ha! I do the "music means it's all out," too! Brilliant!

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  6. I hate that there is a gate to my street, as I am always tempted to blow through it alla Thelma & Louise late to everything. But it keeps that crazy truck out, and so it's worth it.

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  7. Our ice cream truck has blared the same annoying "Popeye the Sailor Man" music for years. My daughter is so sick of it, she groans when the truck comes down our street every night. Plus I have her totally indoctrinated with the idiocy of spending on one treat what would buy a whole box of them at the store, well, most of the time ;)

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    1. That's exactly what I tell my boys every time they see an ice cream truck! "I can buy you a box of 50 popsicles for what 1 ice cream bar costs. Which would you rather have?" They almost always pick the 50 popsicles!

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  8. I keep really cool ice cream novelties that the kids like in my garage freezer bought for $2 for 6 of them at the supermarket. When the ice cream man comes I give them one of those and they are ice creams that the truck doesn't have so the other kids are usually jealous.

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  9. Growing up we had a Snowball truck that came down our street. It was called Bob's SnowBalls. As 10 year old girls we shortened that to Bob's balls. Yeah, nothing creepy about a throng of 10 year old girls running up to a middle aged man screaming we want Bob's balls. Nothing creepy at all.....
    BTW - vanilla ice cream stains -- that cracked me up!!!

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  10. Our "delightful" (insert eye roll)creepy ice cream truck - when it shows up, which is thankfully not every night, shows up at exactly 5 minutes til bedtime EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. - When I stopped the creepy ice cream lady one night and asked her why on God's green earth do you wait until 9:30pm to show up, she had the nerve to say - the other neighborhoods are better for business!!!!! WTH From that day forward we have vowed never to buy ice cream from her again. Even my kids roll their eyes at her now.

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  11. Our ice cream truck driver is the elementary school GYM teacher! Not only does she know every kid who runs out to her truck, she knows the parents as well. During the school year, she talks about exercise and good eating habits, but during the summers, she's the angel of death!

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    1. That cracks me up! On one hand its somewhat comforting that everyone knows the identity of the "pied piper", but the irony is off the scale!

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  12. I told both my daughters ages 3 n 5 daughter that when the ice cream truck is playing music that means their out of ice cream.......i dont have any ice cream trucks coming down my street they go to the neighboring streets but when im outside with my kids they hear it

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  13. And PLEASE- if you DO manage to stop so I can get something for my kids, GET OFF THE CELL PHONE. I am already angry at paying caviar prices for fish stick quality merchandise in the shape of characters I hate, but at least smile and give me a LITTLE customer service as you rip me off!

    So there. Nyah.

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  14. Oh geez, I thought ours was the only one. THANKFULLY, I live out of town (aka in the "boondocks") so there are no ice cream truck visits. But at work, the creepy ice cream truck comes by...playing the midi-music version of Silent Night or Up On the Rooftop. Seriously?? It's 90-something degrees, and JUNE...why Christmas music??

    I see all the neighborhood kids lining up and I: 1. Thank God my kids aren't here and 2. Think there's no way in a very hot place that I'd buy something off that creepy looking truck with the creepy looking man driving it.

    ::end rant::
    I feel your pain.

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  15. I loved your post. YEs! You might then love this poem. I was only able to fool my children into thinking it was the music truck until they were 5... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/12/dads-poetic-salute-to-end_n_3428101.html

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  16. I don't have kids yet (one in the oven), but I swear every single ice cream truck in my city is super creepy and looks like there are bodies stashed in it. They are like these windowless van things, spray painted in awful colors (one is like blood red/maroon). I seem to remember a nice looking, proper ice cream truck when I was little...White, with windows, you know, so that you can tell there are no bodies stashed in it.

    Aren't creepy vans with sweet treats exactly what we want our kids to avoid?? Anyway, my mom was always one of those super frugal ladies who would rather buy some push-pops from the store every now and then, than give me $3 to spend on one little popsicle. She also liked to tell me that the quarter pony ride at the grocery store was perpetually broken. I'm sure I'll be the same exact way. :)

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  17. I told DD that the ice cream van only plays music when it's out of ice cream. We have to listen to a creaky version of Greensleeves. Yuck!

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  18. Would you believe the ice cream man in my town comes around at 9:30 at night. 9:30 at night!!! By that time my children are in bed, and should they happen to not be asleep yet and hear him, or he WAKES THEM UP, its a nightmare in my house for the next hour. I don't know why he's torturing me. I don't know if in some way I unknowingly destroyed his life and he thinks I deserve this. But, its awful, and, it really has to end.

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  19. I love the last sentence. it sums up the crap parts of summer PERFECTLY.

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  20. Oh, man, I am so lucky that we are well past that phase with our 9yo daughter. She asked me the other day why we don't buy from the ice cream truck, and I explained to her that (A) the ice cream at the store tastes better and has more options and (B) that the ice cream at the ice cream truck is more expensive. I framed it like this:

    "An ice cream for you and me together costs about the same as a Barbie doll." Her eyes got really wide. So then I asked her, "And would you rather have a scoop of ice cream in your favorite flavor with lots of money left over to buy more, or would you rather have one that comes from the ice cream truck and no money left over?"

    My adorable, darling daughter blinked and said, "I want lots of ice cream."

    We have our second on the way now, and I'm dreading the experience of having to tell him "no" over the ice cream man. I wonder...if I never buy in, will he actually know what's going on?

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  21. Wow, I'm the exact opposite ... I LOVE the ice cream truck! I never really got it much as a kid and when it comes around I try my best to get something for my kiddos if the timing is right. They know it's not a given, so they know not to ask for it, but I can't help wanting to get that for them. Plus, our ice cream lady is awesome! She's so sweet and she drives a pretty flamingo pink truck that plays "Popeye the Sailor Man". (I love it so much that when I was pregnant with my son I kept a $5 bill on the front door in case of ice cream truck. I didn't want to have to scrounge around in my purse if I heard her coming.)

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  22. Better than the "ice cream" truck that went through my daughter's apartment complex at 2:00 in the morning, regularly. After a robbery, when my daughter was talking with the police, she mentioned the ice cream truck. Why does it go through in the middle of the night, playing the music? Who buys ice cream in the middle of the night?
    The police told her that she should find a better place to live, and that the man in the ice cream truck was NOT selling ice cream in the middle of the night. But that he was selling something....
    She and her roommates moved.

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  23. We don't have an ice cream truck where I live but I have had an ice cream truck story i will never forget!

    When I graduated high school, my friends an I decided Instead of going to the beach or somewhere to party we decided to volunteer for 2 weeks at the dream center in Los Angeles. We stayed in bunker type rooms in the old queen of angels hospital in a neighborhood that was riddled with gang violence. One day as we walked the streets cleaning up trash, I kept hearing the midi version of mozarts 20th symphony. In the ghetto. Where we heard gun shots every night. After a few days I was on a mission to find the source of this travesty. (midi Mozart? Really?) and then one day as I was working with the most precious Hispanic kids, I heard it. And it was close. The kids I had been working with darted to the end of the street so I followed and finally beheld the object of my amusement. An old mail car with faded stickers of ice-cream,riddled with bullet holes and wrapped with chicken wire as protection. And at the top, a boom box from 1983,duct taped roof and blasted Mozart proudly....

    I died. Lol!

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  24. I once told an ice cream truck guy, when he was stopping through the neighborhood for about the 5th straight night, "you'd probably get a lot more business if you came by after 6pm, rather than around 5pm."

    He said, in all seriousness, "but EVERYONE wants me to stop by after dinner."

    Hmmm. A regular Einstein he was.

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  25. What's the "B" stand for in Lydia B. Coupon?

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  26. Would you believe the ice cream truck in our town LIVES IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD? So does the driver of the truck, of course. And the interesting thing is that I can't wave to her as a friendly neighbor would, because she thinks I'm flagging her down to buy an ice cream. She got very upset at my daughter once for waving and not wanting ice cream. Can't win. And one other thing. When our kids were old enough the rule changed to "you can buy an ice cream with your own money." Funny they don't want ice cream anymore.

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  27. Well, I must admit that I just pretend not to hear the music. I'm like, "Nope, don't hear anything guys... If you guys are hearing things maybe we need to go to the ear doctor." Then my oldest who's had earwax extracted by a doctor chimes in and shrieks, "The doctor with the long pointy things he sticks in your ears?!" And I'm all, "Yeah, he was so nice!" And they're all screaming and freaking out and running to hide in other rooms and I'm just standing there looking confused and concerned and NOT BUYING ICE CREAM!

    If the ice cream guy comes two days in a row you can hear the older one telling her sisters not to tell me they can hear the music or we're all going to the ear doctor to get sharp pointy things in our ears.

    I'm diabolical. I know.

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  28. My rule is if you want ice-cream truck treats - you buy them yourself. My kids have pretty small allowances that they save up to buy things they really want, so usually the expensive ice-cream isn't worth not getting their Lego set or something.

    However, the decision is entirely in their sticky little hands! :)

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  29. I have exactly the same feelings toward our ice cream truck. Unfortunately, this is the one thing my husband feels like he missed out on during childhood. His folks would NEVER let him get ice cream, so he's determined that our child will have ice cream whenever the truck goes by. Even if she's in the tub and he has to get it for her.

    I would probably strain my eyes from all the eye rolling, but I have the same policy with those little toy machines. If one catches her eye, I just can't say no.

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  30. HAAAAAHAHAHA! Oh how I love this post. Whenever the ice cream truck would come around when my daughter was little we'd be all "Oh look! It's the music truck! He drives around playing music to make everyone happy!" She totally bought it. Also, one time, my step-dad bought us ice cream, and as the truck drove off it started playing a LULLABY song. Seriously, who picks the songs??? If I ever drive an ice cream truck, the music will be awesome. (When I was a kid I wanted to be an ice cream man when I grew up.)

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  31. Any of ya'll live in Texas? Well, the ice-cream truck (and their low-tech counterparts who drive bicycles with freezers on the back through the local parks) are not limited to summers here. I remember one particularly warm day in January hearing the melodious tones of "Turkey in the Straw" and "La Cucaracha" wafting through the neighborhood.

    Because cockroaches are exactly what I want to be thinking about when I see the ice cream truck roll by...

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  32. Ice cream trucks are illegal in Des Moines, Iowa (where I live). I didn't even know they were a real thing until I was an adult.

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  33. One of our ice cream men was legally banned from our neighborhood. He forcefully took my friend's phone and called his so he would have her number and was always trying to touch us. Like hugging and putting his sweaty stinky arm over us. It was just creepy. He would make nasty jokes when we were around too. I had a v-neck T-shirt on and I had been babysitting an 8 month old with razors as nails and got scratched during a feeding and the creepy ice cream man asked what position I had been in to get scratched. Needless to say the only ice cream guys allowed in were the Pakistani guy and the old mexican man with the push cart.

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  34. Mariah Carey with a bladder infection! priceless!

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  35. When I was a kid I used to hold out flat rocks for the ice cream truck, then throw them in the ditch and run when he stopped. After reading this I don't feel quite as guilty about it..... :-)

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  36. Our ice cream truck plays Brahm's Lullaby - right around the time the kids are all going to sleep. Is he trying to be ironic? WTF?

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  37. my mom is filipino and would tell us that they peed in the ice cream whenever we asked to get ice cream from the ice cream truck.

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  38. All the ice cream trucks here play "Turkey in the Straw" and nothing else, ever. A few years ago we made the mistake of buying our son the Spongebob popsicle and it stained his face. stained. his. face.

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  39. If I hear a single note of the ice cream truck I will run around the house and close all the windows, turn some music on- loud, get my dogs to bark, and maybe clank some pots and pans. Hear no evil... and, yes, he ALWAYS shows up just before dinner.

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  40. Howling like Mariah Carey with a bladder infection....LMAO!!
    I HATE the ice cream truck. I have gone out of my way to convince my kids that it is a truck ran by killer clowns from outer space. They just pretend to have ice cream in order to lure you in,then they suck out your brains. Hey,desperate times you know!

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  41. I was always appalled at the act of chasing a truck to pay OUTRAGEOUS prices for snacks that could be bought in the grocery store for a fraction of the cost. So, once the truck started making its rounds, I kept treats stocked in freezer - ice cream truck was always a "no" but two or three times a week a treat from our freezer was a "yes". With four kids, I could buy the truck itself from what I saved by not buying the treats!

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  42. Growing up in a large house, we were "taught" the ice cream truck doesn't follow the health department rules and thus buying ice cream was against the law. How my Dad thought if this one and kept with the story for 40 years is beyond me.

    Not to be a buzz kill, but in a neighborhood where we used to live an ice cream truck ran over and killed a small girl who had darted away from her mother just after they bought ice cream and the truck driver was pulling away. Be careful out there!!

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  43. Another reason I'm glad I live in the country. 5 miles from a grocery store, many, many, many miles from an ice cream truck. My children don't even know what one is.

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  44. Haha, we don't have ice cream trucks here but my toddler has learned to discover the ice cream section whenever we go to the suermarket. Then, I feel the same way!

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  45. Severely love this with a capital L! I too hate the I.scream truck with a capital H! For all of the above reasons! Thanks for the laugh!

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  46. You have our ice cream truck pegged. What is with the Xmas music? And is it a rule that the music must be played at a decibel level that 1) makes me cringe and 2) certainly causes hearing loss? Ours sits outside the school playground for the last 30 minutes of the school day. Which makes no sense to me since the kids are still trapped in the building. We usually hang out on the playground after school lets out and I have never seen anyone buy anything from the truck. Please, ice cream truck, go away.

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  47. Haha love this! It's kinda creepy how all the ice cream trucks are basically the same, the annoying music, the overpriced ice cream, and the creepy truck and driver. The ice cream truck rarely comes to our neighborhood but when it does the kids can get ice cream with their chore money. Rarely do they want ice cream.

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  48. hey, at least you've got a legitimate truck. we've got the creepy van. read that again. ICE CREAM VAN. *shudder* i miss the old days in NJ with the box truck and the La Cucaracha horn. wait, did i just say that?

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  49. For years now, every ice cream truck that comes down my street (and there are many) have chosen to park blocking my driveway. The sit there with the music (some Christmas selections, as others have mentioned) blaring and the engine running. On one occasion the guy refused to move so I could get to a doctor's appointment, and this despite the fact that there was not a customer in sight. On another, I actually had to call the police when I began choking on the exhaust fumes that had filled my home despite the closed windows.

    I live with a mile of my local hospital quite on purpose, it is very unsafe for me to be too far away. God forbid I should need to make a run for the emergency room while these guys are taking a break in my driveway and I don't want to imagine what would happen if the ambulance needed to reach me.

    I attempted to have a talk today with whoever is manning the phones at the offending company (South Norwalk Ice Cream Co., by the way) and was summarily hung up on after numerous attempts on his part at minimizing, gas-lighting and goal-post moving didn't work. I'll be taking video from now on. And once I have ten videos, I'll take it to the police. If the pattern holds, this should take less than a week.

    I have more than had it.

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    1. Good luck;I hope he gets arrested.

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