The ice cream man started coming by the house everyday. It was cute at first but after awhile, give it a rest man. We don't have that much money for ice cream, already.
I made the mistake of befriending the guy. Chris. His ice cream truck looks like typical ice cream trucks. A slightly beaten up white van with peeling ice cream stickers on the side. It looks seedy, like maybe he sleeps on the floor next to the Blow Pops.
Chris is from Armenia which I think is an actual country, not just in Glendale. My mom thinks he's Italian, which is more romantic, so I haven't broken it to her. The first time we chatted it was exciting, the kids had their dollars clutched in their hands, every ice cream looked so good, no one could decide anything. Chris told me he was thinking of getting an incubator, to raise baby chickens. We spent about 3000 dollars on ice cream and the visit ended.
The next time we saw him (the very next day), I struggled out there with three wet kids from the pool. (The kids go into a frenzy when they hear the truck's warbled music. 'I peen puck' Lilly says.) As the kids pick their ice creams, and I say hi to Chris, he reaches out to shake my hand. I shake it gratefully, and then pull my hand back at the appropriate time. He does not let go of my hand. There is the moment of ick. He is holding my hand because he wants to hold my hand because he wants - what does he want? How bout Awkward? I wonder how much awkward costs, and here I am getting it for free. I finally get my hand back, but now I can no longer look Chris in the eye. Why did he do that? Why couldn't we be friends with a regular handshake? Did he have to ruin ice cream??
The last time I saw Chris (I believe it was the next day after that), he wanted me to make a phone call for him. Something about wanting a dozen eggs delivered to a liquor store at 7 pm. I had been watching too much true crime on tv - was he negotiating a drug deal? Why did I have to call for him? Couldn't he call on his ice cream phone? Of course I said I would call, although I went inside with knit brows, and made the half-hearted call to some guy named Kevin who had no idea what I was talking about: "um, my ice cream man wants some eggs or something?"
I don't go out when the ice cream man comes anymore. Since the weird egg phone call and the handshake, I send someone else out with the kids - husband, visiting mom friend, aunt. Anyone but me. The ice cream truck music sounds like a horror movie in general, but now it really gets me.
Summer is almost over. I promise to venture forth and visit Chris in one last brave act before the last day winds down. I will wave from a respectful distance. If he tries to get me to engage in some kind of strange other conversation, I will wave and pretend I've undergone a lobotomy. It's not that I don't want to be friends, or to help people get their eggs or drugs, for god's sake. I didn't want to cross over the line with the guy in the white van with the music. I just wanted to float.
The root beer float. I just wanted the ice cream.