Getting Stood Up at a Taco Truck
In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about love. The happiness, the longing gazes, the tender moments shared. And sometimes: the drama, the emotional rollercoaster ride, the letdowns. Almost everyone has been in an intense relationship with someone who is Simply Not Good For Them, including myself. Except, in my case, that tumultuous relationship wasn’t with a person, it was with a taco truck (this post could alternately be titled, “Taco Truck, Do You Think I’m Pretty?”).
For a long time, everything happened at the taco truck (or, as my friends and I call it, “TT”). Indeed, since I moved to New York two years ago, much of my life has revolved around that dilapidated pile of metal with carnitas smells emanating from it. It started out innocently– Mexican food deprived, missing California, and in desperate need of some babe-watching, my friend and I tried a local Mexi-food roach-coach that was staffed by fellow twentysomething Cali babes. The first time we went, they were blasting Mac Dre (major points) (Ed note: RIP). One of the cute employees– drunk on the job, might I add– stepped out of the truck and philosophized about how “People in New York aren’t cool to each other… or themselves” before demanding that we give him “a real hug, one of those two-armed ones,” and spilling his paper cup filled with whiskey on us (having previously lived in San Francisco– major, major points). Most importantly, their burritos were perfectly-wrapped flavor explosions, and only cost $5-7. This place had all of the unprofessionalism, eye candy, and cheap-ass food that we wanted, daresay, needed in our lives! I was immediately head-over-heels for TT.
But, like many relationships, my love affair with TT was a victim of “too much, too fast.” Like a teenie bopper with her first boyfriend, I became obsessed– wanting TT for every meal, and eating there 3-4 times per week. A lot of people gain weight when they enter into relationships– extra pounds brought on by lazy evenings spent cuddling on the couch with some Ben & Jerry’s and the latest episode of Downton Abbey. Well, you can only imagine what being in a clingy, obsessive relationship with a burrito-peddling motor vehicle did to my body. I was literally exploding at the seams with passion for rice, beans, and Tapatio.
I also maybe-kinda-sorta became a stalker. I memorized all of the truck’s employees, along with the subtle nuances of their burrito artistry. When I wasn’t at TT, I was constantly thinking about about the people who worked there: “Who’s working tonight? I hope not that goober with the baby hands who makes the loosely-rolled sandbag burritos,” or, “Maybe I should ask for extra jalapenos next time, Guy Who Hates His Life never adds enough,” or, “Someone I know really needs to date that guy who wears the stretched-out Backstreet Boys t-shirt.” Just like Jonathan Taylor Thomas and fruit roll-ups for my ten year old self, TT dominated my thoughts, and my stomach.
Because of my obsession, I didn’t take it lightly when the taco truck mysteriously disappeared on random days, and sometimes even for months at a time. The stoners who ran it couldn’t seem to keep a regular schedule, opening and closing whenever they pleased. Too-loyal, naive TT fangirl that I was, I didn’t just scoot my caboose over to Chipotle– I mourned. I refused to eat anywhere else, resorting to pathetic dinners of Flamin’ Hots, wallowing in bed and typing on my laptop with red Hot Cheeto-stained fingers, compulsively checking TT’s Twitter feed for updates on their return (in vain). Blinded by love, I couldn’t see that TT simply didn’t feel the same way about me– I was but just one tortilla in it’s economy pack, one kernel on a cob of it’s oh-so-delicious Mexican corn. It took me awhile to realize that TT knew it was hot, and was giving me the run-around like a typical bro. Essentially, TT was like that guy you repeatedly hook up with who you secretly know is not that into you, but his burrito is so XXXtra hot that you can’t help but keep going back for more.
Like every obsessive creep, I eventually hit rock bottom. My low came when I mixed food-infatuation with real-life infatuation (like, with an actual human), and got stood up at TT. Twice. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a thing for food service workers— mainly one who worked at TT. We had an ongoing point-of-sale flirtation, and he eventually asked me out (yes, at the truck), by peeling off his Latex gloves and Sharpie-ing his number on a napkin. He was adorable, smart, dressed like a Dad on Vacay, and could make majestic burritos– everything seemed perfectly zesty until (as sometimes happens when you go out with someone you randomly met at a mobile taqueria) he got weird and failed to show up to our planned meeting place (TT, obvs) twice. It’s in the past and doesn’t matter now– but I will say that nothing compares to the feeling you get when you sexy-walk up to a taco truck expecting to see a gorgeous twentysomething boy toy, and find a squat, middle-aged Mexican man instead.
Lesson learned: once your TT obsession invades your actual love life, it’s time to take a step back and reassess. Since cutting down my TT intake, I’ve lost the lethargy gained from excessive burrito consumption, and learned to branch out and try other cheap eats in my neighborhood. I date someone who doesn’t put me in situations where I’m accidentally strutting up to married dads named Jose. In diet/love/work/this crazy thing called “Life,” it’s really easy to cling to things that are familiar– like burritos and California stoners. There’s nothing wrong with that, but everything in moderation, my friends. Sometimes it’s good to take a chance, mix things up, step out of your comfort zone, and not get all Ali Larter over one thing. I mean, that’s how I found this new Vietnamese place I’m into, it’s practically all I can think about these days!
Photo credit: No Recipes