The One Gas-guzzler I Adore
What’s the only gas-guzzling vehicle that makes me smile when I see it?
Here’s a hint: I usually hear it before I see it—and I’m not talking about monster trucks or muffler-less Ford Escorts.
I’m head-over-heels for the ice cream truck.
The sights and sounds of the ice cream truck have been gracing my bike rides recently, as warmer weather is setting in. That painful, tinny version of “Pop Goes the Weasel” followed by the spotting of the circus-painted truck driven by some overly pierced high-schooler never fails to give me the warm fuzzies—and I never even buy any ice cream.
Isn’t car idolatry against the tenets of the car-free religion?
Probably, but I can’t help myself. There are so many feelings, images, and experiences associated with ice cream trucks that make me happy, such as:
- Sensations of summertime’s warmth and freedom,
- Nostalgia for quainter times of not only ice cream but milk and coal trucks (OK, I wasn’t actually alive during these times, but they still seem quaint to me),
- Memories of racing down the block as a kid to buy a rocket pop,
- And with the previous one, recollections of the “Ice Cream Man” skit in Eddie Murphy Delirious.
I can’t imagine I’m alone in my love of ice cream trucks.
They are big gas-guzzling vehicles that are in motion for hours on end, and they’re probably energy hogs in other ways too, with their portable refrigeration units. In my opinion though, they bring more good than ill to people and communities. Consider that ice cream trucks:
- Bring a product to car-free individuals (kids and adults alike),
- Contribute to increased activity for kids by luring them outdoors and away from TV and video games,
- Help build community by bringing people out of their homes andinto their neighborhoods, where they just might meet their neighbors, and
- Can make you feel good even when it’s so hot that your shorts are sticking to your butt.
Plus, in recent years, I’ve noticed that the ice cream truck in my community is no longer an actual truck but more of a large van, which is perhaps more fuel-efficient.
There are a lot of possibilities for decreasing ice cream trucks’ carbon footprint.
They could be solar-powered. They only run in sunny, warm weather anyway, and what an opportunity for a marketing scheme: “Ice cream brought to you by the sun’s rays.” Instead of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” it could play “The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas.” Ice cream trucks could run on biodiesel or electricity. There could be more ice cream tricycles.
Being conscientiously car-free doesn’t have to mean giving up life’s small pleasures.