I’ve missed Mr. Taco Loco.
The mundane laziness of distance infects me. In The Before, as I call it, I drove miles out of my way to enjoy the eatery’s healthy chicken and pico de gallo extravaganzas, either in Springdale or Fayetteville. The truth is that it’s just not convenient to drive to MLK, much less to Springdale. Quick minds will point out I’ve walked past it during the nights the Wanderer calls me to leave my apartment and walk for miles.
I’m spoiled by time and distance now, living in the midst of so much and so many. Since I don’t bring unhealthy things home to eat, it’s easier than ever to eat without much thought. I’ve tried to incorporate more from the work cafeteria; it’s ironic that now that I could eat there more, their selection has diminished to a series of undesirable options from which I can choose. You’d imagine that a medical cafeteria would be predominantly healthy, especially since visitors can’t use it, thanks to Covid. You’d be wrong.
After stopping at a couple of flea-markety boutiques today, I realized that I could easily have 19 projects going if I didn’t deliberately choose a couple at a time. Yesterday was a barrage of creative and practical projects. The last boutique I visited had a nice collection of brooches. One of the workers there commented profusely about the polychromatic hummingbird I had pinned to my bright orange-red shirt. Several people commented at work. I’ve amassed a large number of explanations for why I’m wearing brooches. It’s amusing to know that people are taking an extra-long look and wondering, “Why is he wearing THAT?” Most people are inquisitive and interested. I’m not expecting a resurgence in brooch popularity anytime soon, though.
It was at that point my stomach said, “Hey, you might want to eat at some point!” In my defense, I did have a bag of PopChips earlier and a cup filled with baby carrots and hot sauce for breakfast.
I went to Tacos 4 Life. Despite its reputation for being a little pricey, I entered intending to find something delicious and healthy. Given that I no longer worry about looking dumb, I asked questions. Lo and behold, they offer lettuce beds instead of tortillas. Since I have two CASES of PopChips in the car, along with a large bottle of Tajin seasoning, I came prepared. Opting for the grilled chicken taco deal, minus the sour cream, cheese, and other needless ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised when the cashier said, “Oh, health care worker discount!” Total? A little over $12. That might sound like a lot – but I can’t go to a Tex-Mex place without spending $20 thanks to my pico de gallo addiction.
The cashier brought me chips and salsa. Or it was supposed to be. He got queso and chips instead.
“You can keep the queso. I’ll bring a bunch of salsa for you.” He noticed my large bottle of Tajin. “Wow, you brought your own spice.”
I offered some to him and explained its history. He was intrigued.
I finished my meal, beyond satisfied by volume and flavor.
Going up to the cashier, I handed him my large bottle of Tajin.
“This is for you. Give it an honest try. It surprises people. And I’d love to be the one who makes you a life-long fan of the stuff. I eat it on just about everything.”
He told me about his everyday supper and promised he’d try it later.
I surprised him. It’s nice being able to surprise people.
I went home and started another project, a custom paper trash receptacle to go by my desk. It’s going to be made out of a cardboard box, at least 500 sheets of differently-colored paper, and two miles of clear tape. People have told me that I sometimes look like Rainman when I’m engaged in these sorts of tedious and labor-intense projects. I’ll have to decide whether this box will be a 5-hour effort or 15. Keep in mind that in the picture, this is just the first stage of craziness.
But? I’m full of good food and creative energy. Doing 1,500 pushups yesterday and not sleeping well for two nights didn’t drain me yet.
As long as I can surprise people, there might be hope for me yet.
There’s a blog link to a sample of my previous box decorating.