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Friday, June 11, 2004
The Taco Bell Incident
It's 1 in the morning and it's raining.
You're stuck in a line of vehicles, all waiting to go through the drive through at the Taco Bell on west Burnside.
Two gentlemen approach your door and tap on the window. One looks like a young Tom Waits and he's wearing a sagging fisherman's hat. There's a worn Cherry Poppin' Daddies patch on his jacket. The other is grinning like a dehydrated raver beneath the hood of a bright yellow sweatshirt. They're drenched to the bone.
What do you do?
A. Stare straight ahead and wait for them to throw something.
B. Flee and look for another place that's still open. These two are either trying to hijack the car or poke you with a rusty syringe.
C. Unroll the window and see what they want.
Knowing that this Taco Bell closes the doors to its dining area at 10 PM, I went with option C. Drive-throughs don't typically allow patrons on foot to order. Obviously these two guys were two club hoppers, drunk off their asses, looking to score a few cheap gorditas.
They didn't say please. The Waits guy shoved a $10 bill in my hand and sputtered their order into the microphone. Then he calmly walked around the car towards the passenger side seat.
"JESUS," I thought. "It's a carjack. I'm totally FUCKED. He'll get the car, my wallet AND my burritos!" It's dark and rainy. I can't see what he's doing.
Then I realized, with three vehicles in front of me and a concrete barrier to the side, they wouldn't get far. Waits kept walking and waited patiently with his friend on the sidewalk. I rolled up to the window and the bloodshot-eyed lady handed me a big bag full of Taco Bell goodness. I divided their change and my order before my moving forward. My burrito exploded open as I tossed it on the side seat. This wasn't going well.
With caution still tugging at the logic center of my brain, I lowered the window just a tiny bit, barely enough to shove out the cash and two # 5s. They muttered a quick "thanks" and headed west.
At the intersection of 23rd and Burnside I realized that their nachos were still sitting my lap. "Dammit," I muttered. I'd just screwed two hungry, rain-soaked fools out of their food.
Maybe I should have turned around but I figured they were already cursing me down some impossible to find side street. I went home, watched The Family Guy and ate their chips. Consider this nacho IOU to Portland's hipster kingdom.