HOW TO: EAT TACOS WHILE DRIVING A CAR WITH A MANUAL TRANSMISSION DOWN A FOUR-LANE ROAD WITH A SPEED LIMIT OF 45 MILES PER HOUR
With your good hand (i.e., your right hand if you’re right-handed, or left) hold the taco at the end away from you, while creating a “cup” with the palm of that hand in case the taco fillings fall out the other end as you take a bite.
Keep an eye on the road. Somehow, according to Google (up to the second set of search results), food is responsible for eighty percent of automobile accidents.
Take full advantage of red lights to apply condiments and make other adjustments as necessary.
Be sure not to drive off of the four-lane road into an area, like intoa residential areas that care about “their children at play”, as though children actually go outside to play anymore, or a shopping center that has had too many people ran over by distracted drivers already, and have put speed bumps in every so many yards. Driving over one bump a little too fast will make your lap suddenly resemble a salad bar.
Bearing that last tip in mind, you should make peace with the fact that you will obviously have parts of the taco fall on your lap, on the front of your shirt, the floorboards, et cetera, and write it off as parts that you can finish off after the main part of the taco has been eaten, concentrating instead on the components of the taco that you definitely do not want to spill on you: meat, sauce, sour cream, the messy stuff that will stain the front of your shirt or your pants. Eating a taco while driving a car with a manual transmission down a four-lane road with a speed limit of 45 miles an hour means that you’re going to have to pick your battles. It actually means a lot of other things.
You may have to put the taco down several times during the course of its consumption in order to properly navigate your vehicle through traffic. Try to be patient and do not feel discouraged.
Eating while driving is legal in most jurisdictions. It’s important, however, to keep one hand on the steering wheel at all times (or at least the times when you’re being watched). If the police find you with both hands on your food you may be pulled over for a violation of vehicle traffic law. No one wants to pay a fine and suffer points on their license for this, and you will never get over the embarrassment, not entirely. As long as you can remember the moment you will still look back upon it, and wince. You’ll try to laugh, and you might, a little at least, especially if someone else points it out and laughs because they think it was pretty funny, but you won’t really be laughing.
Everything is funny, ultimately, the passage of time and the different lenses for looking through at things that can unfold, but still sometimes funny like pictures of yourself from fifteen years ago. It’s you from back then, but almost not really you anymore.
Where you’re going isn’t necessarily where you need to be. Or where you want to be, it’s probably because something is making you. Deep inside you know this, and you don’t want to. It’s a whisper that knows your name; you hear it in the space between the finish of one song on your phone to the beginning of another. Your heart ignores it because your mind tells it to ignore it. Or pragmatism interrupts, a bloom of synapses deep and violet, and tells you something along the lines of it’s been this way the last couple of years, my choices have been made and I have to live with them. It’s too late to turn around now. Are you going somewhere to make money? Are you going there to make somebody else happy? Or to make them not as mad at you as what they could be? Are you out of time?
Do you get the feeling that your refusal to sit inside a fast food restaurant by yourself is probably one of the very last shreds of pride that you still have, the only thing that tells you that, well, at least you’re not that lonely, that you’re not that pathetic?
Think very hard about the series of events that have brought you to this point in your life. Think about happiness. Have you compromised these things you’ve wanted out of your waking days into thinking that true and lasting happiness is unrealistic, maybe always has been, and that when you think about it now and again you decide that contentment is what you want for yourself at the end of each day, unaware of the fact that it means nothing, that it’s now stretched into something vaguer still? Ask yourself if you can even picture it, the something-beyond what you do with yourself Monday through Friday, the weekends, the bank holidays, the paid time off, everything between going to sleep and then going to sleep again.
Maybe you’re right, maybe I’m wrong, and maybe there is no other way. Eighty percent of all traffic accidents are caused by eating food, and you realize that you have no relationship or sense of community with the people in the cars all around you. And sometimes you buy a taco at one place and moments later you drive by another one of the same places where you could have bought the same exact taco, the radio playing a song you must have heard a hundred times before, you feel yourself getting older, you swear you can feel yourself atrophy, withering. It’s an afternoon, the middle of the night. You’ve driven down the same street before. You may have seen the same people in these same cars a hundred times before, but you don’t recognize any of them from the last time, and you know you never will. And the taco tastes exactly like you remember.