When our twins were born, my husband and I were in year four of a five-year-stint in Thailand. As you can imagine, there were a plethora of noises in Bangkok, most of which assaulted our ears with video-game intensity. Sounds reverberated off skyscrapers the way noises echo in a canyon.
My husband and I talked about recording our own Bangkok Symphony, but we were too lazy. Had we done so, though, such a composition would have included the following:
- the insidious jingle of the ice cream truck, over and over again and again,
- the rhythmic pinging of the blind man’s reebar-cane as he hiked the streets selling lotto tickets,
- the souped-up, four-stroke motorcycle taxis that broke the speed of sound, and
- the discordant squawk of the loud speaker as the vegetable truck offered its wares.
It sounds exotic until it ceases to stop.
Once we got the 2-for-1 deal on our babies, however, our tolerance for external noise increased. We had our own indoor cacophony.
Fast forward two years.
We moved back to Canada, where the loudest sounds in our suburb were garage doors humming closed, lawn mowers sparking to life, and the occasional ice cream truck.
Whenever the ice cream truck circled our suburb, belting out “It’s a Small World After All,” our kids would ask what that sound was.
Each time, we answered the same: “It’s the vegetable truck.”
We first uttered this refrain when our twins were two.
By the time they were five, they’d say, “The vegetable truck’s coming.” Then they’d continue playing, unmoved by the thought of door-to-door turnips.
This brings us to a few weeks after their sixth birthday.
“Mom, the vegetable truck’s actually stopping,” Vivian said. She and William opened our back door and climbed onto the patio table, giving them a direct view over our fence. If you remember the sitcom Home Improvement, think Wilson on stilts.
“Jenna’s getting vegetables!” William announced.
I watched Jenna, our neighbour, disappear behind the truck.
A moment passed. My lie hung in the summer air.
The ice cream truck and its ditty started up the street.
Jenna walked down the sidewalk, ice cream in hand.
Vivian and William muttered to each other before screaming, “Mom!”
And the myth disappeared faster than the jingle.
Add this to the list of things our kids can tell their therapists in a decade.
Any lies out there? ice cream stories?
Photo (cc) courtesy of Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture