STOP THE PRESSES.
A town here in BC has banned ice cream trucks. Lumped in with all the douchebags who create “Mobile Noise” via blaring music, commercial inducements, and other stupidities, the age-old rite of childhood, The Noble Ice Cream Truck, has been banned from this town of uptight fucks who don’t remember what it was like as an 8-year-old to hear those tinny strains in the distance and go running like a fiend with emptied piggy bank funds jingling in their short pockets, all in a quest to score a Creamsicle.
The ice cream truck is a part of the fabric of my childhood. I remember those moments, profoundly.
Did I get ice cream every time it passed? No, probably one out of 10 times, if that. But when I did, it was blissful. And when I didn’t, it was comforting to know I lived in a world that still had ice cream.
Music has been used for selling ice cream for nearly 90 years. It began, some say, in Britain, where ice cream bikes outfitted with little freezers would have a variety of tinny tunes to attract those around them.
Not hot dog trucks, not popcorn carts, no one else used music for all those years. Not industry-wide, anyhow.
For most of us, there’s something natural about a hot, hot blue sky day with sap dripping off trees, sweat pouring off your face, and heat shimmering on blacktop roads, as the tinny tinkling music of an ice cream truck begins to be heard in the distance. It conjures visions of lemonade in tall glasses, children laughing, and good times had by all. “Don’t sweat it! The ice cream truck is coming! Sweet relief!”
If it makes the residents of (West) Kelowna feel better, I too dislike loud noises, annoying trucks, businesses piping music onto their sidewalks, and more.
But don’t fuck with the ice cream truck. Don’t mess with my nostalgia.
If there’s any one business that deserves to have their music rights grandfathered in, it’s the ice cream truck.
I’m allergic to ice cream these days, and it’s a once-or-twice-a-year thing, and I’ll probably never even eat at an ice cream truck again, but I hope I never, ever stop hearing them.
In fact, last week, when I heard my first one tinkling down the streets of my new city and new neighbourhood, I giggled and turned off the TV just to enjoy the music.
That’s not noise pollution. That’s a Band-aid for my jaded soul.
I’ll never be moving to West Kelowna, I guess. A world without ice cream trucks is a world that’s just a little too cold for me.