I think many people would whole-heartedly agree that it is a bit difficult to find that “core group of friends” in the first year of college. If you don’t agree with that statement you’re either A) lying to yourself or B) incredibly annoying. Sure, most everyone eventually finds their path, whether its through their fraternity, sorority or other campus clubs. But of course, I took a different road to life-long friendships. A road paved in Crunch Wrap Supremes and processed “Queso.” Everyone has their own unique relationship with the fortress of hope that is Taco Bell. For most it is a drunken caloric mistake they make on a Friday night. For some it is the site of emotional eating and possibly even self hatred. But for me it was the place that I called “home” my freshmen year of college. When I say “home” I don’t just mean a place where I ate often to avoid studying or maybe rid a nasty hangover. I actually mean that their employees became my family.
It all started one chilly fall night when I came in to curb my constant need for trans fats. I was sitting in my car with a few friends, when suddenly I saw a very short man with a terrifying mustache smoking a Black and Mild get pelted in the head by a newspaper. It was one of those things that found a way to be incredibly hilarious while still being incredibly heartbreaking. I rolled down my window to see if he was okay…….
Me: Excuse me, um sir? I couldn’t help but see you just get nailed in the face with that Wall Street Journal. You good?Him: Oh yeah! That happens every night about this time. It’s just a funny game I play with that guy.Me: Oh, so you know him?Him: Well, I mean not like personal or nothin. Just know what car he drives.Me: Then its not really a game…its more like a hate crime.Him: Listen girly, are you gonna sit here and gab or are you gonna go get some food?
My friends and I got out of the car and followed him inside, where he proceeded to take our order, all the while trying to cover up the red mark the flying newspaper had left. Cooly, and without a hint of shame I placed my order……….
“I will have 3 cheesey gordita crunches, 4 crispy tacos, and some cinnamon twists. Oh, and what the hell, you only live once right? Throw in one of those crunch wraps.”
I thought it was a fairly modest order but apparently he felt different. “Well, you’re going to eat ALL of that?! My god girl, you’re gonna blow up like my Aunt Fern in that barn fire in ‘85. Are you even trying to get a boyfriend?” he said with judgment in his eyes and disgust oozing from his lips. Most girls would of been mortified, but not me. I admired his gusto and sass, so I did the only logical thing, I asked him to eat with us. We were fast friends. His name was Josh and he was about four feet tall and he had a charmingly limited vocabulary. We talked about everything you’d typically talk to an employee of a fast food chain about. I explained my theory on girls that wear high heels before noon. He told me all about his recent breakup with his girlfriend of four years. It was about as messy as messy could get. She had cheated on him with one of his best friends and there’d been a very violent fight outside the trailer they shared with Josh’s mother. She had packed up their Pit Bull and what was left of Josh’s dignity and bounced, leaving him in a pathetic pool of pain. A few days after she had left him, he’d received a collect call from the county jail. It was the trifling beotch he used to call “his boo” and she had just been locked up for a DWI. Her new man candy was unable to pay the bond and knowing Josh’s giving nature, she turned to him. Naturally, he paid her out like a huge pansy. I was holding his tiny little hand across the table, when it dawned on me. I had been sent to Josh. I was like his fast food loving guardian angel and I was going to mend his broken heart. I knew I had to do something, so I grabbed his Cricket cellular mobile device and dialed that bitch up. I had a great speech planned but unfortunately our conversation went a lot like this:
Me: Um, hi. This is Katherine and you need to pay Josh back now before things get real bad for you and what were you doing driving under the influence? Its like you’ve never had a D.A.R.E. class or something.Bitch: *A lot of cuss words I can’t say because my mom reads this.*Me: You’re going to stab me aren’t you?Bitch: Yeah, probably.
I was naturally terrified. I slammed down the phone and looked up at him in panic. My friends were doing that thing where they shake their heads really slowly and look at me like I had lost my mind. But all I saw was a twinkle of love in my new confidant’s eyes. Not like, wife me up and buy me an oversized Tweety Bird nightshirt kind of love, but true friendship. Josh and I’s bond only prospered after that. I started frequenting Taco Bell about 5 days a week and my thighs showed it. Through Josh, I formed a tight bond with all of the employees. We started doing this thing where I’d come in with a group of people(obviously just to show off, because nothing says “cool” like inappropriately close friendships with Taco Bell workers) and i’d give them a bit of a whistle. They’d all line up and I would do a roll call where I’d go down the line and sing all their names so my friends would be familiar with who they were dining with that evening. Josh, of course was always the first in line. Then there was Scott, a fifty year old T-Bell veteran with a heart of gold; Scott’s eighteen year old son; Ash, the one female employee who wasn’t my biggest fan; Lawrence, a felon who wants to be my Facebook friend; and Curtis who was exceptional at Movin’ it like Bernie.
Unfortunately, the saga of Taco Bell is much too long, detailed and mind boggling to put in one post, so I am forced to make it into a three part series. But here is a little about whats to come:Dusty brings his wife and new baby in to meet me, I am invited to the birthday party of the four year old son of Josh’s new girlfriend (who worked at the Taco Bell a few streets over), and Lawrence tells me how he became a felon, and lot’s more. Really gripping stuff here guys!