Strathcom Gets a Surprise Scoop

It was never supposed to have happened. No one predicted it. In statistics, an event like this would be called a Black Swan.

 

We were the first to see it, the four of us. Four guys full of fraternal feeling and the energy of youth, riding back from Carl’s Jr. in my ’06 midnight blue Mazda-rati; we just assumed that our burgers would be the highlight of our lunch hour. We were so naïve then. Those days are over.

James had brought up the idea of the road trip; he was always down for heading out and picking up a greasy lunch. David Lord was the oldest of the group. He’d been growing his hair out all summer, but it was clear by his suits and button-down shirts he wore that he was slowly growing away from us and into an adult life full of spread sheets and juice diets. We liked to tease Dave. I was the sensitive, bookish guy with the sweet car, the “Miracle Whip,” the kind of guy who would use words like “abattoir” in a sentence, but in a tolerable way, at least according to James. And David Little, well he was the new guy, coming in after Mikey left us. We don’t talk about that much. I thought it would be a good idea to bring David along. “He’s got a long way to go before becoming a Jet, though” James cautioned, guarding the sanctity of the group.

“I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes…”

Bob Dylan’s Isis was playing on the car stereo, heavy on the violin. It was a tale of a man who heads out to the mountains with a shadowy prospector; but it’s really about him washing away his sins and youthful immaturity, before heading back to seek a second chance with his ex-wife.

Pulling back into the Santa Fe Plaza parking lot at a quarter past noon, we saw it standing there, somewhat surreal by itself on the asphalt: a long blue alloy box, propped up on thin metal legs. It was like seeing your childhood sports hero in public, but everyone was too unsure to approach him, preserving a radius of awe as he went about his grocery shopping.

“Is that…?”

“A food truck!”

It was. It was as if a little piece of Portland had fallen from the heavens, as though coming unattached from a celestial trailer hitch.

“I think it’s…ice cream. It’s ice cream!” said James.

“No way! Our little office park has really hit the big leagues,” added David Little. “You know, having a food truck permanently stationed at lunch hour.”

He was right. This did feel like life was going on a bit of an upswing. Maybe we’d head out later in the afternoon and buy a cone, too. It now felt like one of those days.

Three of us took our brown bags back and headed back towards the main door of the brick office. But David Lord stayed back. He was walking towards the truck.

An office is a strange place when you really think about it. People just deciding to wake up each morning, put on clothes, and synchronise their travels to show up at the same place and sit in the same chair, day after day, then go home to their other familiar spaces before starting the whole cycle over again the next morning. Maybe that was just my sensitivity talking. Fall was coming soon. Then one day we’d be gone like Mikey.

I can’t remember with perfect fidelity all that happened from that point sitting on the edge of my desk, dropping off my car keys. I just remember D-Lord coming back in:

“Hey guys, our kind and generous landlords, Matthew Giuffre and Matthew Woolsey of York Realty Inc., brought in a food truck. Free ice cream for everyone. Go now!” We knew what he meant by those last two words: Run, you fools!

“Free!?”

Already I could feel the first rumblings of a mass migration towards the front entrance. Nothing like this had ever happened before. It would have been impossible to predict. And to think of any of the 365 days of the year that an ice cream truck would set up shop in our lot, most of which are frozen and snowy, that free ice cream day would happen on a hot, 28-degree Celsius summer afternoon. How lucky! Dave Little and I got on our way.

But before I got to the break room door, I managed to catch one last look at David Lord, heading back and away from the free dessert, spreading the news throughout the office. Looking around corners, checking under desks, leaving no man behind, he moved with the thoroughness of Paul Revere galloping through the New England twilight. I never told him this, but it was at that moment that I realized that he was the kind of guy you wanted around on the day when that fire alarm was pulled.

Strathcommers finally at the front of the line

There isn’t much to say from here. One by one, group by group, we wandered our way outside, pilgrims of the parking lot, congregating to our sacred land like hippies to Woodstock. The food truck no longer stood alone; it was now met with a long channel of strangers, each seeming content to just stand out in the sun and be a part of something greater than all of us, if only for a few minutes. I saw the web designers standing in a group outside the front door. Even Maurice was back in the circle, after having recently left for the CMS team and another side of the building, another way of life. Free ice cream at work does that to people.

And soon it was our turn, too. When we finally made it to the front of the line, we were greeted by three sun-kissed 20-somethings, kids who seemed like we just made their day when we ordered a pistachio cone or a chocolate-and-peanut-butter bowl. And why not? Weren’t they just on another leg of another Endless Summer, chasing after the elusive promise of eternal youth and rebirth, but chasing anyway? What a life, handing a scoop of joy to a total stranger and seeing a bit of the mid-day weariness melt away from their eyes. Some of these people might have been waiting for that for a long time. And then they’d pack up and go off with the sun. Soon they’d be off to Melbourne, Fort Lauderdale, or Panama City. But today, it was Keilan’s Creamery at Strathcom.

David Little (left) and myself, Boys of Summer

World Cup BBQ

It’s the biggest game in the world. Every year, millions everywhere gather to yell, cheer, and pump their fists. Clutching to the dream that their respective clan will dominate, claiming glory to that golden cup.

FIfa World Cup

It’s one of the most fierce and competitive seasons known to man, characterized by blood, sweat, grass stains, and fans with a huge lung capacity. The never-ending sea of fans cheer and stomp their feet so loud, it echoes like thunder. The players hold the crowd’s breath captive as they dance across the field like a cheetah cornering its prey.

I have always been amazed that something so simple could bring so many people together. Hundreds of thousands of people, many who are complete strangers, put their differences aside and gather in unison to cheer, high-five, and clink drinks with each other with every play.

Today at Strathcom, we dipped our toes into the soccer world and partook in the celebration.

This included the old fashioned American burgers, German-style smokies with sauerkraut, and perhaps some German refreshment as well.

world cup bbq

We headed south of the border with some amazing homemade salsas and nachos. Don’t worry, we didn’t leave the Italians out either. We had vegetables with our veggie kabobs topped with dressing. Don’t forget the pitas, thanks to the Greeks.

fifa world cup bbq

pot luck food

Of course we had cake—is there a culture that doesn’t? We had a small detour to Switzerland and indulged in their infamous chocolate.

Nothing beats a beautiful day outside while partaking in one of the most celebrated games of all time.

Some of us took the initiative to dress the part, as well as some soccer dribbling practice during the feast while we allowed ourselves to digest.

Here at Strathcom, we gathered together as a team to share in the amazing culture of soccer the only way we know how. We ate until we could eat no more, and we have no regrets about that.