On Restraining Oneself From Punching the Ice Cream Truck Guy in the Nose

March 30, 2011

Spring in New York City can be a magical time. As the painfully cold winter melts underfoot and the parks begin showing their colors, people sprout spontaneously from the sidewalks, pooling together, a reverie of urban rebirth. Fresh air, high spirits and solar-fueled energy hang over the city creating an affable tone seen clearly through the unusual frequency of smiling faces and selfless yielding. Don’t get me wrong here, you are still going to get flipped-off and honked at for not flooring it immediately when the light turns green, but, the vitriol feels less poisonous, a little less caustic. That finger still pops up, but, it’s not quite as angry as that mid-winter finger, rigid and icy-cold, looking like a spear ready to attack. Nope, springtime is in the air and brotherhood leaches through that shedding winter skin of many.

Unfortunately, it’s not all budding roses and smiling faces in Gotham. The warming temperatures not only bring out the frolicking children and lazy-eye parents, but, they also bring out a cadre of annoyances bent on disturbing the relative peace permeating the streets. Depending on your location in the city and the draws specific to that area, you may find yourself at conflict with the aspirations of a hardened few, brazen and determined to fulfill their agenda regardless of the cost to tranquility.

Stroll through Union Square and you are likely to be verbally accosted by crazy, bible-thumping zealots screaming bloody apocalypse to all. Take a late-afternoon walk through Park Slope and you could be bombarded in numerous locations by self-righteous, assertive hipsters hitting you up for donations to save whales or promote veganism. Play the role of tourist and navigate your way through a maze of aggressive street vendors on Canal Street yelling at you to buy their fake colognes or handbags. Or, come to my neighborhood in Sunset Park and be driven mad by some asshole in a Mister Softee ice cream truck who insists on parking directly in front of your building and blasting his shrill, looping 20-second attract track for hours at a time.

It’s painful, relentless and drowns out any other audible noise in the area. It stays with you, and, even when you can’t hear it you think you might be hearing it, so, you mute all other sounds attempting to hear it only to find that it has blithely attached itself to your subconscious brain, only audible in the deep recesses of your mind.

Appeals to reason with the truck operator are futile. Calls to the police are dismissed. Staging a protest is eccentric. Vandalism is a punishable offence, and, so is murder. But, at some point, the Mister Softee jingle consumes you, it corrodes your better parts, causing you to act in completely irrational ways. The following is just one man’s story:

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Check out my debut novel, Where’s Unimportant at http://www.danielshortell.com. Buy it, and, even if it sucks, you can use it to beat the shit out of your unfriendly neighborhood ice cream jerk.

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