Why we stood in a food truck line for one hour

Sunday May 6th, Fremont was host to a Mobile Food Rodeo event. We were on a budget so we didn’t get to try too much food, and the one truck I wanted to check out in particular had a malfunction and couldn’t make it. But the bit of food grazing we did wasn’t bad, and getting bumped in the crowds as we pretzeled our bodies between the massively long lines was actually welcome because it’s not often that we get to see so many people together in one spot here in Seattle, which can suck sometimes.

Because of the warm weather, more popular than the food trucks selling burgers were those selling ice creams sandwiched between oversized cookies. We stood in line of one where after some time we were told by a worker that they were sold out of all cookies as well as ice creams except vanilla, so we left the line and stood in another (Sweet Wheels) for one hour. Here’s how something like this can go down:

We see the long curly line and internally we calculate 45 minutes, but verbalize to each other that it’ll be 25-minutes-ish, just to make ourselves feel better about our decision. Then 30 minutes rolls around and you’re only half way there. At that point, you’ve already invested too much time to leave the line, you won’t do it, you won’t give your space to the people behind you. You think somebody before you has got to give up and leave. We all can’t be this strange, right? But you realize that yes, we all are that strange.

Then the nice man with gentle eyes and a friendly beard walks out of the truck and you begin to feel deflated because you believe he’s about to tell you that he only has vanilla ice cream left, no damn cookies. But he doesn’t. That was a close call. He instead informs us all – very slowly, two to four people at a time – that this was their first time doing an event this large and that they weren’t prepared for the crowd, their electricity has gone out and they can only take cash now. You instantly pep up a bit because you think surely some people ahead of you has already blown their cash on the other food trucks. But not one person leaves. The hilarious girl behind you who’s been mouthing out your exact internal sentiments blurts out with perfect comedic timing “no one’s leaving? everyone’s rolling in deep cash money?”

Then you notice the nice man still making his way through the line. While you appreciate his soft, personal touch, all you want him to do is just get back in the pink vehicle. You recall that game you played as a child where one person tells something to one person who tells it to the next and so on and so on until the final person says the message out loud, and usually the message comes out wrong. You imagine “we’re out of electricity, we can’t take cash” by the time it reaches the 100th person in line to be blurted out as “we’re out of elephant ice cream hash, thank you.”

Finally, the nice man gets back in, and all you can thank the stars for is the hilarious girl behind you who’s reading your mind. Like you, she’s hungry. She’s on the prowl. She’s ready to attack anyone who comes back to the line with other food truck food. Now you’ve officially reached 50 minutes. It’s no longer warm and you begin to giggle like someone with serious issues because you realize that the only reason why you wanted ice cream in the first place was because it was hot. You put on your sweater you had stashed in your bag “just in case” because at this point you are stucker than stuckidity stuck. The only payoff will be to hold that ice cream sandwich between your chapped fingers.

You watch the young guy wearing a Beckham jersey in front of you order and just when you’re about to say to your husband “stop asking questions, just order,” the funny girl behind you says it for you. When you make your way up to the front – weathered, beat down, almost in disbelief that you’re standing where you’re standing – you realize that ordering an ice cream sandwich is more complicated than you ever imagined it would be; you don’t know if it’s because your brain’s no longer working or the nice man and you are having a massive communication break down. But it doesn’t matter because after five more minutes of waiting, you finally receive the coveted sweet sandwich with a much-appreciated “thank you for waiting.” That funny girl when she gets up to the front line has a large perverse smile like the Joker and you feel just as happy for her as you do for yourself. You dive into that ice cream sandwich standing beside the truck facing the line so that everyone standing in line can stare at you with evil eyes and you feel sinister.

Was it worth it? I couldn’t decide what was tastier – the perfectly textured and lightly sweet shortbread cookie with poppy seeds and chocolate icing or the creamy blackberry ice cream. Both components were equally outstanding and made for the best ice cream sandwich I’ve ever tasted. With that said, unless I see Mr. Di Fara himself behind a pizza truck, I wouldn’t stand in line for an hour again at one of these events. Now that I’ve said it, of course it’ll probably happen again.

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