My son has held a huge fascination for the ice cream truck, for as long as I can remember. Seven years? Ten? Longer? “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” “The Entertainer,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Turkey in the Straw,” get hummed, sung, pulled up over and over on YouTube, and played on the piano. Right hand plays the tune perfectly; left hand bangs the bass clef keys sometimes making a harmonious combination, mostly not. Right foot planted on the right pedal, the sustain pedal, also known as the damper, or the loud pedal. The sustain pedal lets all the notes on the piano resonate after you lift your fingers from the keys, forcing the notes to echo and overlap.
Much of our summer days are spent in anticipation of the ice cream truck, When might it show up? What will my son choose? Do I want one, too? Which one? If I hear the truck before he does, I throw on shoes and run wildly into the street to find it, wave it down, and beg the driver to come to our house. If he hears it before me, it’s too late: there isn’t enough time for him to come find me, tell me, and have me track it down before it takes a different, torturous alternative route. As whichever song plays in the distance, he asks me the impossible: Will it come back to our house? When? Where is it now?
I would love to have the answers to these, and other of life’s big questions. I don’t. I can only guess. What I have come to understand is that guessing doesn’t help ease the anxiety around the questions - it may for a second, until the guess proves inaccurate. It appeases only temporarily, and then the unease of uncertainty, bobs right back up to the surface.
Trying to answer the unanswerable, is to keep your foot on the sustain pedal, it forces the notes of anxiety to echo and overlap.