On Saturday, April 11th 2015, I did not go to Coachella. Instead, I went to the Third Annual Burke Street Food Truck Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There, I saw too much.
I saw thirty food trucks with compulsorily creative names like “Baguette About It” and “Cake in a Cup” and “Wright Up Ur Galley.” I saw lines that extended from the window of a truck to the edge of the orange blockade that enclosed Burke Street from 3-8 PM that day. I saw someone who said that they had been there since 2:15 in order to properly scope out the trucks. I saw seven wide-brimmed sun hats, four straw fedora hats and one felt fedora hat. I saw five skateboards. I saw a lot of Caucasians. I saw people I know and trust eat something called “crack-n-cheese,” which was not crack but actually macaroni and cheese topped with pulled pork topped with turkey cracklings topped with (Eastern-style, vinegar-based) barbecue sauce. I saw someone get very angry with my friend Brandy because she agreed to order an extra turkey sandwich with slaw and fries on the side on behalf of a woman in front of us who had forgotten to order for her husband. I saw a family with two puppies and six children all apparently under the age of seven, and wondered how their parents, who seemed cheerful and composed, managed to make them all sit Indian-style as they waited placidly together for their crack-n-cheese. I saw that they managed to do this with a large bottle of Mountain Dew that they kept in the back of the youngest one’s stroller, and doled out to each child who stayed sufficiently quiet for about five minutes. I saw that being a parent is very hard. I saw a girl wearing Chacos, a plaid shirt and horn-rimmed Warby Parkers tell her companions that she is “freakin’ obsessed with kale” right after she ordered some deep-fried fish tacos from a truck called “Bandito Burrito.” I did not see any selfie sticks, which was very disappointing to me. I saw a truck called “The Ice Queen Parlor” where I waited 38 minutes in line to eat an ice cream sandwich called the “Kermint” which was two chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of mint chip and a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream between them and a single, whole Oreo right in the middle. I saw one man who could not decide between the “Berry White” (strawberry ice cream with Nutella in the center on white chocolate macadamia cookies) and the “E.T.” (mini Reese’s Pieces layered between peanut butter and chocolate ice cream on chocolate chip cookies) so he decided to get both, holding one in each hand and alternating bites as they melted in the wax paper-y grip. I saw that he did not share with his wife, but that was fine because she had gotten her own sandwich.
So that is what I saw at the Third Annual Burke Street Food Truck Festival. I think I could force myself to attribute meaning to it all, if I really wanted to, but I don’t think that I do.