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OpinionColumnistsRachel Figueroa-Levin

Loud ice cream trucks leave a bitter taste

ice cream truck

ice cream truck

It's late on a Friday night. You're exhausted after a long week. Your bed calls out, and you crawl in.

But you can't sleep. Your ears ring with the constant loop of "Turkey in the Straw." Ice cream truck drivers blast their jingle while parked -- even though the city's noise code prohibits food-vending vehicles from playing jingles while stationary.

As a child, I loved ice cream trucks. My grandfather drove a Mister Softee in the 1960s.

I would get excited whenever I would hear the ice cream truck arrive on our street -- the sound of childhood summers. I don't remember whether the music kept playing when the truck was parked because I was too wrapped up in glee, or maybe it was the sugar high.

Of course, the truck came by in the afternoon, not at 11 p.m., as it does now.

Ice cream trucks are an American tradition that is being ruined by drivers who continually bray their jingles at night.

When I hear a parked truck continue to play that insipid tune, I want to slip the surly bonds of my bedroom and punch the driver in the face.

Whenever I hear an ice cream truck now, I cringe even if it isn't late at night. I feel like a sleep-deprived lab rat that gets an electric shock every time it closes its eyes. That high-pitched jingle is my electric shock. Ear plugs aren't really a responsible option because I need to be able to hear my 3-year-old daughter when she wakes up.

So, of ice cream truck drivers, I ask:

Is it really vital to play that tune while you're parked -- aside from the fact that it's illegal?

Would the long line you have near the park be any shorter if you stopped playing the music?

Do you think people are coming from miles around just for your truck? Because there's another ice cream truck with the same offerings just a few blocks away.

Calling 311 is a sad exercise in futility. I feel like I should just state my location and hold my phone out the window so the operator can hear the jingle, too.

If the truck drivers won't stop violating the city code, and the city won't enforce the law, can we at least get better music?


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