My neighbor dug up most of his basement floor to redo the plumbing under his house. Several guys in the neighborhood pitched in to help. I wasn't among them because they all have some kind of job in a relevant industry or trade that makes them an asset to such a task, while I do not. They also have far greater quantities of youth and strength than I.
So there they were, deep in a cavern of noise and cement dust, when there came the sound of The Chicken Dance being played on mechanical bells. It was the Gold Star Chilimobile coming down the street. All the boys dropped their tools and ran outside to stop the truck and get an afternoon treat.
My neighbor hung back, looking forlorn. “Don’t worry,” I said, “they’ll be back after they finish off their three ways.”
“It’s not that,” he muttered, head down, “I don’t have any money.”
“Come on,” I urged, pulling him toward the street, “I’m buying today.” Turns out some of the other boys were standing by the truck, digging in their pockets for coins that might be hiding among the cell phones, iPods and yoyos stuffed in there, hoping to find enough for at least a coney.
Bob was on his phone, pleading with his wife. “I used the last five you gave me on cigarettes. Can I please have an advance on my allowance? Please, please, please, please, pretty pleeeeaaassseee?”
The chilimobile is a real thing, though it won’t actually be rolling down my street. But I don’t know why not. The article says “The Gold Star Chili Chilimobile is bringing three-ways and coneys to the hungry lunch crowd downtown and other places with minimal food options.” I’m sorry, I work downtown and there are far more food options, in easy walking distance, than there are in my neighborhood at home. Why aren’t they driving down my street?
When I was very young, our neighborhood in L.A. still had milk deliveries. The Helms trucks still delivered bread and doughnuts and other baked goods up until I was a teenager. All the services that had fleets of delivery trucks have disappeared except for the ice cream truck (which is not as good as when I was a kid – you can’t get a double buddy Popsicle to break on the edge of the curb and share with your older sister).
Why not have the chilimobile come down my street, followed by the Christian Morelein beermobile? Think of all the possibilities: Starbucks coffee and muffins in the morning, the Steak and Shake (or In ‘n’ Out or Fatburger – consult local listings) for lunch and a big brick oven on wheels delivering pizza for dinner. I know you are imagining your own favorite things coming down YOUR street and outside YOUR door right now.
Sure, this would put a few gas-guzzling trucks on the road. But think of the millions of cars NOT idling in long drive-thru lines. This would be convenience AND energy savings at the same time.
I am going to look into buying my own …. wait … I think I hear the chicken dance bells …