I’ve been working from home and have gotten used to the noises in the neighborhood. I know when certain dogs are going to bark. I know when the couple across the street is going to pull into the driveway. I know when neighborhood children are going to block off the street to play baseball in the middle of the road. And I know when the ice cream truck is going to drive past my house, playing its jingle.
I hear that irritating, high-pitched song at least three times per day. The truck will go by in the morning when I’m booting up my computer, around lunchtime when I’m assembling a sandwich, and again when I’m serving my dogs dinner.
Every time it drives past the house, I wonder whether it’s coming by so frequently because it’s getting a ton of business in the neighborhood — or because it isn’t getting any business and is desperate for customers.
Whenever I peek out my curtains, I never see any children running up to the window and coming back with ice cream dripping down their cone and onto their hands. Most families stick to eating the ice cream kept in their freezer. Or they make a night out of the occasion and go grab cones at a shop where they can sit and enjoy their food.
Curious, I tried doing some research on the subject (while procrastinating on accomplishing any real work). My Google search started with questions about whether ice cream trucks were still popular in this day and age, and why they were allowed to roam through neighborhoods causing a ruckus while people were trying to work and sleep and live. It ended with a YouTube compilation of the different songs blasted by ice cream trucks around the world and how their notes have changed throughout history.
That could’ve been the end of my search. I could’ve exited out of the tab and went back to my real work.
Instead, I made the mistake of scrolling down to read the comments. They were a shitshow. Filled with conspiracy theorists. They talked about how every single version of the song, however innocent they may seem, were actually hypnotizing people. They said the trucks were a front. They said the only reason they’re allowed to drive around town selling ice cream (while hotdog trucks and other food trucks are forced to remain stationary) is because the government is working alongside them. They’re paying to have the tune broadcasted to as many people as possible.
They disagreed about what the supposed hypnotism actually accomplished. Some said it tricked people into being satisfied with their lackluster lives. Others said it sent people spiraling into a sad, hopeless state. They all said it was dangerous. A threat to their free will.
To be clear, I don’t seriously believe there’s anything sinister about ice cream trucks and their cutesy tunes. But just to be safe, I’ve been blasting music in my headphones whenever they drive through our little town.