Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Lucy,
I am in Heaven. Sitting in the middle of the "Mission District" of San Francisco in a taqueria eating the best burrito on the planet, concocted before my very eyes by a short, plump, Mexican Mama with dancing brown eyes, who smiles knowingly when I tell her I want mild salsa.

She knows I am a gringo raised on German sausage and casseroles made of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, limp noodles, canned tuna and topped with corn flakes, and that I didn't discover hot peppers until I was 5 and, eyeing them in the thick glass jar on the counter of Mr. Taco, popped one into my mouth and slipped into some taste-bud Hell where Satan himself stood laughing while I cried and choked and snotted into my mother's midwestern, Minnesota handkerchief.

The Corona bottle sweats as I take each tortilla chip and laden it with salsa and extra cilantro and pop it into my mouth while Sheryl Crow croons in my ear something about the sun setting over Santa Monica Boulevard and a woman walks through the door wearing a dress busier than all of San Francisco itself, laden with luggage and packages, toting worries and dreams and orders her lunch to go so she can wrestle it along with her too busy life, and I am the voyure in the corner peeking into people's lives as I try to lose my own in my now warm bottle of beer...


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