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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bargaining with Ice Cream and Conversations

After parking my car, I hear the familiar jingle that can only be emitting from a beat up van.

"ICE CREAM! ICE CREAM!" I'd shout when I was little while running and waiving my hand to catch the ice cream man's attention.

Now, I just go up to the street hoping he sees me and I just nod. Regardless, I pull out my wallet and look over the myriad of choices on stickers posted on the van's exterior.

"You got any of those fruit bars?" I ask.

He points at various juice bars. Yes, there's a difference from fruit bars and juice bars.

"Nah, never mind."

"We got these here," he points at those juice bars I mentioned. I look up to see him and he's this dark middle aged man with an Indian accent. I've never seen him before so he must be new around here.

"I'll just get the Sundae Chocolate Crunch. How much?" I remember how the Strawberry Shortcake Crunch taste like medicine.
"Two dollars."
"Two dollars?! That's expensive... others are at $1.25"
"Ok.. I'll give it to you for $1.50."

He goes to back to get it but that kind is not there and presents me with a chocolate. Ice cream men have this way of presenting the ice cream in their hand even though you haven't paid yet... but they see you have money on your hand and for some reason it makes the transaction easier and faster. It works well with children. But I'm not.

"Uhm... come on man.. how about $1.25."

He thinks about it. "Ok, $1.25." He gives me my change and from here, I have my first conversation with the Ice Cream Man.

"You a student? You go to university?" He asks. His salt and pepper eyebrows raise over his dark sunken eyes.

"Yea, I am. I just had a tough semester!" I exclaim. "I go to University of San Francisco. I'm taking nursing there."

"I see. My son, he's a doctor."

"Oh wow.. he graduated here?"

"No... I meant he in school still. Back in India. My daughter too in school. She's taking pharmacology."

"Oh that's good! Are they planning on coming here?" I ask.

"Well," he pauses. "If all goes well, you know? But thank you," he says with an honest smile.

"Ok.. take care man."

I take my ice cream and open it as I walk towards home thinking about that man. His son and daughter and I'm sure the rest of his family are back home in India while he's here selling ice cream. And "if all goes well" his children will be here.

I bargained and so is he.. I just hope gets the better deal in the end.

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