I mentioned earlier on my Twitter feed that today was Chimichanga day. Then I realized that most people have absolutely no idea what in heck I was talking about. So, I need to tell the story.
When I moved to Chattanooga, I went to work for a company that is, sadly, no longer around. Ah well. It was a great place to work, despite the fact that I was working with one person who really didn’t want me there / was threatened by my presence.
Anyway, I was in pretty tight with the IT folks, and we started to go out to lunch quite often. One of the guys was a vegan and had very particular needs when it came to food, so we would often find ourselves chowing down at a proper, sit-down restaurant and not a fast food place – which was expensive! There were three of us at the time, and two of us started bitching about the cost of having lunch with the third and how we were unhappy with the money we were spending. We started hitting McDonalds, just the two of us, on days when they ran the ‘$0.50 cheeseburger’ deals to offset the cost of lunch on other days.
So our bitching prompted us to look around for better lunch deals at places where the third member of our little group could eat. This is when we discovered a little place called El Mason. They had a pretty decent lunch special on Thursdays: Chimichanga and a coke for like $7. We could get a good lunch on our fast food budget, our friend could get a veggie bean chimichanga – everyone was happy.
Well, we started something and didn’t even realize it.
We would say, “Chimichanga today!” around the office on Thursdays and people would stare. Then they would ask what we were talking about. Then, they would join us.
Thursdays became, simply, “Chimichanga!”, and a good chunk of the company would meet us for lunch. Emails would go round, letting people know that Chimichanga was happening and at what time. The people at the restaurant were both happy and sad at the same time; they had tons of business (sometimes, there’d be 30+ of us), but we also wanted separate checks. I’m amazed that they always provided us with separate checks, given how many of us there were, but they did it and so, we kept coming in. They also prepared for us, moving tables together so we ended up with this long table filled with people. We tended to take over a sizable chunk of the section.
It became a social event. We got together, told stupid stories and jokes, laughed, relaxed (I would always make a paper airplane out of the strip of paper holding the napkin, fork and knife together, then throw it down the table – I still make those everywhere I go…) – it was fantastic.
When the company closed up shop, Chimichanga went away as we all went our separate ways. It was sad. For a couple of years, we had this really cool social thing going on, something that got people from all different departments talking and laughing and getting to know each other (IT, marketing, product development, sales, customer service, international sales), and now it was gone.
I moved to Colorado soon thereafter and found myself really missing that company and that social experience. I’ve tried to recreate Chimichanga here, but it hasn’t taken off the way it did there. Partly because people are too busy to take full lunches, partly because people bring their own lunches to save money and partly because not everyone likes Mexican food, which is just sad!
But still, I try – I make a point of getting some sort of Mexican food every Thursday and proclaim to anyone within earshot that it is, in fact, Chimichanga day!
Recently, I’ve moved into a different area in the building, closer to different folks, and I’ve been talking up Chimichanga… They seem interested in a ‘once a week get out and have lunch’ type of experience, and they’re into Mexican food…