19 July 2012
the girl at the taco bell drive thru.
There is a girl at the Taco Bell drive thru. She's actually a woman, but if I say 'there's a woman at the Taco Bell drive thru,' you're probably picturing a leathery fifty-year-old with a forearm tattoo and discolored dentures, aren't you? (Because I am.) Maybe she'll give you a gummer in the back of her Chevy Malibu. Women like that always drive Chevy Malibus. And their cars smell of ball sweat and cigarette smoke... and the stale pine air freshener impotently hanging from the rear-view mirror.
Where was I?
There is a girl at the Taco Bell drive thru. She knows me. Not because we have ever had any contact outside the Taco Bell drive thru, but simply because I am at the Taco Bell drive thru so damn much. (The Myth of Sisyphus used to be a man repeatedly pushing a boulder up a hill. Now it's a man navigating his car through an endless Taco Bell drive thru. There are infinite pick-up windows regressing toward the horizon. At each one, a surly teenager glares at you, wondering why you're there. 'It's the next window! [Asshole!]' The 'asshole' is implied. It is always implied that you are an asshole for bothering employees who owe their jobs to your continued bothering of them. If they are happy and unbothered, then they are jobless and unhappy and bothered by joblessness.)
(After you've driven past hundreds—maybe thousands of drive thru windows in succession—you end up at windows without surly teenagers. You look through the little glass doors and see historical events taking place inside the Taco Bell. In one window, you see Bismarck in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, declaring the unification of Germany. In another window, you see the space shuttle Challenger exploding, its debris slamming into the drive thru panes without breaking them. In still another window, you see the future: a scalded landscape, lifeless, and above it a greenish, toxic atmosphere. You pry open the window—its armatures are rusted—and run your hand through the green haze. It feels like fur.)
There is a girl at the Taco Bell drive thru. When she hears my voice through the squawk box, her voice lifts, as though it were a triumphant banner held aloft by cherubim, and she exclaims, 'HI, FRIEND!' I'm not joking. My name to her is Friend. I wonder if I should tell her my other name. Or is that going too far?
(Inside the next window, there is another version of yourself parked at another drive thru window through which you are looking at another version of yourself parked at another drive thru window and so on... You are no longer hungry for food in the normal sense. You are hungry for satisfaction.)
There is a girl at the Taco Bell drive thru. If she's not too busy, we have to talk at the pick-up window—because she is there and I am here, and we are 'Friend(s).' She calls my car a truck. She calls the weather 'too hot.' I've never been good at this. Just give me the fucking fire sauce. Our relationship is instrumental, not personal. You are not a human, and I am not human. Don't disrupt the process.
It is a mechanism. We are mechanical.
(I drive toward the next window, but—crash!—I have driven straight into a canvas scrim that had the image of an infinitely regressing Taco Bell drive thru silkscreened on it. It was an optical illusion. The previous windows were real, so that I would not suspect that the 23,109th window was not. Beyond the scrim there is a steep cliff, as tall as a hundred towers in Dubai stacked one on top of the other—and I have driven over it. I'm falling toward a turbulent sea below. I am waiting for the end. But then I notice, cut into the side of the cliff, hundreds of Taco Bell drive thru windows. The employees are running to the windows to watch me fall... because that is part of the process. That is part of the mechanism.)
There is a girl at the Taco Bell drive thru.
She is not human, and I am not human.
Please pull forward.