This is my place of zen, relaxation, care-freeness, mindfulness, all-around joy: San Tadeo, Calvillo, Aguascalientes, Mexico. A large portion of my mother’s side of the family resides there, and I’m lucky enough to be able to visit about once a year. Having zero responsibilities means I can sleep as much as the screaming of my young cousins will allow. The internet connections are subpar, which leaves me with plenty of time to read with no distractions. And as far as eating goes, San Tadeo has my favorite tacos.
This bright yellow monster of a truck is The Sheriff:
A man named Ramon, and his family, have been selling tacos from here since before I was born. I’m not exaggerating when I say my mouth is watering as I think about the tacos. The greasy, drenched-in-the-best-salsa-ever, beef tacos. I love these tacos so much it has become a running joke with my family when I visit: “Has Ari had her ten tacos today?” “We made food already, but Ari’s too good for our home-cooked meals, she only eats The Sheriff’s tacos.”
So what I’m saying is, I really LOVE these tacos.
Last summer, I was waiting for one of Ramon’s lively daughters to hand over my order so I could be on my way. As I’m patiently waiting, I notice a familiar face, headed in my direction: David.
David, who dated my cousin and mocked me relentlessly every time my aunt forced me to join them and act as the third wheel that tricycles desperately need but couples do not. David, who tried to set up 14-year-old me with someone who looked closer to 20 than 15. David, who insisted that I was too quiet, and I really shouldn’t be so shy because it made people uncomfortable. Ughh. David.
Just as he was stepping towards the truck, I pulled my phone out. (This has become my instinctive defense mechanism against small talk.) There. I was invincible against the throes of social conventions! Except David was now less than a foot away. I had to keep my attention where it was, really focus in on that screen; that home screen that had absolutely no use because everything required service or a wifi connection, neither of which I had.
What really bit at the core of my being was the fact that I had no reason to feel uncomfortable. I never dated the guy, what was I freaking out about? It was simply knowing him, an unspoken expectation that I participate in small talk, that shook me. I wanted no part of that.
Instead I was forced to stand quietly between him and Jessica (Ramon’s youngest daughter) and listen to their banter:
“Jessica, give me 5 tacos to go.”
“Could you be less polite?”
“I’m in a hurry, there’s no time to be polite.”
“5 tacos, go take a seat.”
“I need them to go, I gotta get back to work.”
“Work? Who in their right mind would give you a job?”
“Don’t be rude, I’m a hard worker.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll have your tacos ready soon.”
Eventually, he left. He went far away. Allllll the way… to the other side of the street, less than 100 feet away, where apparently he worked. Of course, his station was right at the door, with a nice open view of the taco truck. Great. Such was my luck.
I started sending my little cousins to pick up tacos for me after that day.