Sundays, how I love thee.
I’ve continued to cling to the idea of a weekend, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean anything any more. But I’m a big needer of something-on-the-horizon kinds of things, which often results in me planning an event way in advance and then wallowing in the anticlimax of the thing. What I really love is the anticipation. The planning. The going over and over it in my head – down to the napkins and the color of the frosting. Which is why reading Martha Stewart Living always has a calming effect. Ahhhhh. The perfectly ordered, coordinated, chaos-free world of MS. That’s my porn – that and Dwell Magazine, which I usually reserve for plane rides or severe depression. Dwell. The way no one you know actually lives.
Hee hee ha ha ho ho AND…..cookie break!
Damn Pepperidge Farms and your 2-for-1 sales.
C jr and I were talking today about this ice cream truck truism: it’s never as good as you think. And – there’s gotta be some kind of special, child-pitch they play that music at. (Yes, I occasionally end with a preposition. It’s the cost of being conversational.) When it comes to the ice cream truck, kids are like dogs – their heads snap up and their ears twitch long before those of an adult. C jr heard it and saw it way before I did, and I ended up proving that step-moms are cool, too. My “maybe” became a “yes” after only the slightest twist of my arm. I’m weak. But it’s only because I, too, rarely got anything from the ice cream truck. It came doodling down our street, playing Pan’s infernal tune, and I whinged like every other kid. The difference was that my mom actually succeeded in denying me such toxic treats. Instead, I ate honey ice cream, carob chips, and bran. Bran. The food no one you know actually likes.
So the kid got her Looney Tunes cup o’ three not-in-nature flavors, and I got to eat some of it. We agreed it tasted like a faded, grey photocopy of the technicolor picture on the truck. But when you’re nine, this doesn’t register as cynicism. More like – huh. And then you go swing on the monkey bars until you feel like puking.
But it got me thinking – how much of an adult’s life is like the ice cream truck? How many times do we know something’s too good to be true, but we run after it anyway, scan it for options, and then hand over our money?
A friend of mine is having a man problem. Basically, they’re both great people, but just not together, not right now. Long before anyone else knew, she heard that truck a’comin. So she grabbed a fistful of bucks, flagged down the truck, and wound up with a bunch of different popsicles. Even the Sponge Bob one. All the popsicles tasted GREAT! New flavors! Exotic names! Sweet and tasty! She and the ice cream truck became fast friends. They had a secret handshake. But one day, the ice cream truck shifted into drive and crept forward a bit, to another woman who was holding out a wad of dough and looked hungry for frozen treats. Hey, my friend said to the ice cream truck. I thought we had a deal. I’m your last customer. I’m the only one you need. I’ll buy every single popsicle on this dang truck. Then, I’ll help you make new ones, and we’ll sell them together. I’M VERY GOOD AT MAKING POPSICLES.
Meh, the ice cream truck said. But she’s got money, too. I gotta diversify. Stay mobile. Otherwise –
You’ll melt? my friend asked.
Doodle-y-doodle-y-doodle-y-doo went the ice cream truck as it sped away, and my friend coughed up Sponge Bob’s bubblegum eye.
Her friends have offered to slash the ice cream truck’s tires, but she’s choosing the high road. Well, at least, she’s walking in the other direction. She can still hear that damn music, but it’s further off, tinny.
We met up recently, curled our hands around mugs of tea, chomped on some cookies (Pepperidge Farms, I forgive you) and shook our mutual heads over the state of romantic affairs. See, we’re both admittedly Type A folk, and it can result in expecting the ice cream trucks of the world to see everything our way. I mean, DUH. You got ice cream? We can make it BETTER. And in our defense, sometimes, we DO.
My own ice cream truck was a fuckballs disaster. It didn’t even have axels. God, I siphoned gas into that thing constantly. Threw my shoulder into it and encouraged it to go! However you want! You can go so beautifully, if you JUST TRY. Chewed on the popsicle sticks and cleaned out the freezer. Hell, I even saw it selling to other customers and pretended to be modern and open-minded about such across-the-board marketing. Like my friend, I thought what I’d heard so early on, before anyone else, was the music of destiny. The tinkling, winking promise of forever. But actually, it was just a poorly recorded mashup of childhood ditties on endless loop.
Now. I don’t mean to imply that I think everything that seems too good to be true, is. The second man I married doesn’t get caught up in polishing his shining armor. He’s careful to remove it when we hug. Also, it’s big enough for two – when I need the extra protection, I just hinge it open and hop inside. Comes with an in-armor coffeemaker. It doesn’t play any tunes or promise any kind of relief on a hot day. It just is. And it’s more than enough for me.
My friend is an amazing woman with the kind of boundless heart that should be, in the words of my knight, Spelled Out in Lights and Adored. It’s true – if for the sole reason that she’s got her marquee all ready for the right guy. That’s what we do for the people we love, right? We’re their biggest fans, we celebrate them, we treat every day like it’s their premiere. We invite lots of people to recognize how awesome they are. And it isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you have to grit your teeth and mentally tick off all the reasons you put their name up there in the first place. But if it’s right, if it’s good, if the other person has also put your name up in lights, and plays the movie of you to lots of fans, then doing so just makes sense. In the scheme of things, we’re all here for about a blink. Wouldn’t it be kick-ass if we all spent that moment feeling good about ourselves and the people we love?
So, to my friend, I say this: Screw the ice cream truck. Let it lure some other sucker. Save your hard-earned money for a more deserving treat. Like you.