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.
file under: drive thru, psychology, taco bell
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I love this piece of writing. Did you know that I think of you whenever I see a Taco Bell? Well, I do.ReplyDelete
I should be the poster child for Taco Bell. But I don't think that would help their business.
You better hush!ReplyDelete
P.S. It drives me crazy that I have to prove I'm not a robot every time I post - I have to type those letters in a box and I get them wrong half the time because they're too melted together.ReplyDelete
Those of us who know you from GoodReads had no doubt you were a gifted writer. Now, there's still no doubt. That isn't exactly progress, but it's nice to have one's impressions confirmed.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure who you are Velocitor, but thank you!ReplyDelete
And you too, S.!
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
Are you angry now?Delete
No, I feel okay. Apparently my Velocitor character has a wider range than I thought.Delete
"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."ReplyDelete
i think i am too good at this. i have regular clerks too, and they tell me about their kids, ask where i've been if i temporarily drop the place from my rotation, and of course, we also talk about the weather. but i like these people for that reason because they're consistent and always happy to see me. we've humanized each other's day in our going through the motions. :)
of course, i did wonder if you wanted to sleep with your taco bell lady. there seemed to be the tiniest undercurrent in this piece.
and finally: my mother has a squirrel she calls friend. one day it crawled into her mail slot and pooped all over the veranda. :)
No, I there was no sexual tension between me and the Taco Bell girl for several reasons, one of which is that she's a DSBW. (See 'Racism for the New Millennium.') She's also way too enthusiastic. I get exhausted for her.Delete
Btw, do I know you, Annabel Crane?
we don't know each other, no, but we have mutual friends on goodreads, and i like your writing. i can stop commenting if you like! i've enjoyed my pseudonymous time here, though. :)Delete
No! By all means, stay. Everyone's welcome. I was just wondering if you were someone I knew and if I should have known who you are.:)Delete
"I am at the Taco Bell drive thru so damn much."ReplyDelete
Would it be weird to confess that I am profoundly concerned about the health of your colon?
Don't be concerned. My colon is a jerk. He deserves all the abuse I give him.Delete
I hope you don't eat at this branch:ReplyDelete