All New Yorkers are assholes, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Case in point: on Monday afternoon, Dr. Boyfriend and I celebrated Memorial Day with an entire pitcher of sangria on the patio of Dos Caminos. Because sangria is from the Spanish meaning bloody, and there’s no better way to mourn the loss of all our fallen combat soldiers than to drink fruit-filled blood in remembrance of them. Or something.
So anyway, we left the restaurant and walked toward Rockefeller Center, where he was going to work for a couple of hours while I went shopping. On the way, we decided to stop at an ice cream truck and continue mourning the loss of all our fallen combat soldiers by eating . . . frozen milk. Whatever. At the intersection right outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there were two trucks with identical markings parked across the street from one another, so we just sidled up to the first one without bothering to do any bargain comparisons.
A 30-ish, Israeli-ish, purposely-bald guy stepped up to the window inside the truck but went about not paying attention to us while he talked on his cellphone to someone about his gambling debts. At least that’s what Kamran tells me he was talking about. I, of course, was too busy trying to decide between cone and cup to notice. But long after I’d chosen, he was still on his phone. Had we been basically anyone else, we probably would’ve walked across the street to the other truck at that point, but it was a holiday, and we’re patient people.
Finally, the guy took my order: one scoop of vanilla in a cone with multicolored sprinkles for Kamran and one scoop of vanilla in a cup with multicolored sprinkles for me. He even showed me the cup to see if it was to my liking. He didn’t tell us how much it was but just waited for his money, so I handed him a $10 bill. (Kamran had paid for lunch, for those of you non-feminists who may be crying foul at this moment.) He took it, disappeared into the depths of the truck, and then came back and said, “That’s it. $6 for the cone, and $4 for the cup.” Bewildered, I said thank you and made way for the person behind me to order.
But two steps later, Kamran and I turned to each other to ask, “What the hell just happened?!” The cone he’d gotten was this kind, the soft serve kind, the kind you can get at McDonald’s for $1. The kind you can buy from any other ice cream truck, from even the most expensive truck at Coney Island on the hottest day of the year with all the sprinkles you could ever hope for, for no more than $2.50. And yet I’d just paid $6.
I was torn between being pissed off at him for thinking I was some tourist who doesn’t know how much ice cream costs and pissed off at myself for looking like some tourist who doesn’t know how much ice cream costs. I was pissed off that he had put black electrical tape over all of the prices on the side of his truck so he could charge whatever he wanted and was getting away with it. I wanted to march back to the truck and put on my mean New Yorker face and splatter my cup of vanilla all over his designer graphic t-shirt.
But I didn’t, because not only do I not have gambling debts to pay off like he apparently does, but it was also the best ice cream truck ice cream I’ve ever had. (And that includes the gourmet Van Leeuwen ice cream truck ice cream I had last summer.) Maybe it’s one of those things where paying more for it makes it taste better, but maybe it really was $10 ice cream.
What I’m left wondering, though, is: what would’ve happened had I handed him just $5 instead? Would he have demanded more, and what would I have done?