« In Which I Quit My JobThe Unbearable Thinness of Crust »
04.14.2005

The Box Trucks of Spring

Spring is here, and the box trucks are cautiously emerging from their winter quarters, ready for another hot summer.

The first harbinger in our neighborhood was the salsa truck, an elusive nocturnal vehicle that arrived in late February. I have never actually seen a salsa truck, but you can hear them whenever they pass within ten blocks or so, delivering salsa music to those unlucky neighborhoods that can't blare it on their own radios like our downstairs neighbors do.

The salsa truck on is easy to identify late at night, with its distinctive, maddeningly unsyncopated BOOM-BOOM-BOOM two-note bass line. If you are very lucky, and your neighborhood is unusually quiet, the salsa truck may even come pay you a visit some night, stationing itself under a window until your salsa-depleted apartment fills with joyful music.

Next to arrive was the close diurnal cousin of the salsa truck, the ice cream truck, which showed up some two weeks ago playing its soft ice cream jingle. Our own neighborhood is a little rough, so it attracts an armored subspecies of the ice cream truck with slits for windows and a high maximum speed, distorting the Mister Softee ice cream song with high Doppler effect.

The ice cream truck remind me of the street bagpipers I encountered when I first moved to Edinburgh. The first time I heard a piper play "Scotland the Brave", I had a sentimental "aye, truly I am living in Scotland now" moment; the second time was amusing and fun, but somewhere between the fifth and four-hundred-and-forty-seventh time I began to develop a burning hatred towards the bekilted musicians, and a new understanding of why they carried a big knife in their sock.

Now after two weeks of ice cream jingle, I'm starting to feel the same way about ice cream trucks, and understand why the ones in our neighborhood look so bulletproof, and go so fast.

There was talk last summer about Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to replace the ice cream jingle with a little bell, but it's not clear whether this will happen now that all the Mayor's energies are focused on building a west side stadium. But I am more interested in that article's mention of a rare tropical box truck, the taco truck, which I would be delighted to see but which perhaps has not yet returned from its wintering grounds in Mexico.

The latest box truck hatch happened just a couple of days ago, as I was sitting drinking a beer outside a Greenpoint bar. I was trying to switch off the Polish parser in my brain so I could ignore the argument at the next table (two guys disagreeing about how boat anchors work, two girls entering their twenty-third consecutive minute of silence) when suddenly there roared past a little white box truck with the words "MOBILE WASH UNIT" stenciled on its side in blue block letters.

A moment later there was another one, followed quickly by three more, this time racing down a different side road. They were all unmarked save for the "MOBILE WASH UNIT" stencil; white box trucks with a kind of rotating chimney vent on top and a grim-looking, black-uniformed driver. Over the course of half an hour, more and more of these shot out into the dark city, popping out like bees from a hive on their mysterious, mobile, hygienic mission.

It must be spring cleaning time for the black helicopters.

« In Which I Quit My JobThe Unbearable Thinness of Crust »
Idle Words

brevity is for the weak




Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

2015 May Jul
2014 Jul Aug
2013 Feb Dec
2012 Feb Sep Nov Dec
2011 Aug
2010 Mar May Jun Jul
2009 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
2008 Jan Apr May Aug Nov
2007 Jan Mar Apr May Jul Dec
2006 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
2005 Jan Feb Mar Apr Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2004 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Oct Nov Dec
2003 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2002 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Your Host

Maciej Cegłowski


Threat

Please ask permission before reprinting full-text posts or I will crush you.