1. It’s hard to make a grand entrance at the restaurant when obnoxious people are blocking your way.
Okay, Mr. Speed Bump, I understand that the 47 pounds of spicy, fried lard that you just ate might slow you down a bit. Got it. But seriously, why are you finding it necessary to come to a complete halt in the tiny lobby? This is a certified transit area, not a campground. I can’t even open the door all the way because you have claimed squatter’s rights at the cashier’s desk, telling your life story while the rest of your amazingly-extensive family is just standing there, wiping grease off their chins and belching.
Quit talking to that cashier. She is not your friend and she doesn’t care. She is only being nice to you because you just handed her money. “Did you enjoy your meal?” is not an invitation for you to start babbling about how your gout is acting up or you might have to have something removed. Grab a complimentary toothpick and GO.
2. I am apparently not as fond of screaming, hyperactive children as the rest of the world.
Dear Hostess Person: No, I’m not going to follow you to that table which you are indicating. Why? Do you see what’s going on at the next table? The one where something has apparently exploded, causing small humans to lose their minds and start throwing food while howling at a decibel level that can bring down a plane? There’s queso on the ceiling, for God’s sake. I don’t want to be anywhere near that.
And don’t look at me in confusion, wondering why I don’t find the howlers to be adorable little tykes that make me want to hug and kiss them. These are not the good kind of children, who quietly sit there and do nothing but count as a deduction on income tax returns. These are Satanic minions hell-bent on destroying civilization. I don’t even want to be in the same room with the Children of the Corn Tortilla. Please adjust your GPS and let’s find a more subdued area of this establishment.
3. It is a law of nature that you must order margaritas in a Mexican restaurant.
I don’t care what time of day it is, tequila just sets the appropriate tone, and somehow biologically prepares your body for the impending influx of food items that your doctor has warned you to never touch again. (He’s not here right now, so screw him.) And don’t ask me lame little questions like whether I want a large or small margarita. Can you not tell by the pinched expression on my face that I have no desire for an alcoholic beverage served in a teacup? I want BIG. I want people to be frightened by the size of my beverage-ware, that kind of big.
4. Everything on the menu at Ojeda’s is the best thing ever.
You can’t go wrong. Close your eyes, stab at the menu, and try it. You’ll squeal with a level of satisfaction that is nearly orgasmic. (Not that anybody will hear you due to the maelstrom of noise coming from the other room, with that table of unregulated offspring ripping apart the foundations of society whilst their parents do nothing to stop the madness.) Even the tortilla chips are delicious, but you don’t want to have too many of them, because they will take up valuable real estate in your tummy and you may not be able to finish your actual meal, a failure that will haunt you for days.
5. Puffed Tacos are a gift from Jesus.
I’d never even heard of these things before we started going to Ojeda’s years ago, but now I can’t get enough of them. They’re like little tiny taco salads in a fried Christmas ornament. We should have a national holiday for the saintly person who invented these. I can gnaw my way through several of them before my bulging stomach starts to raise the table off the floor and we have stability issues, with utensils and cellphones and vats of salsa sliding precariously about.
6. Tequila makes me talk.
Before I even finished the first beverage, I was rambling away about anything that popped into my head. Anything. This is a change of pace for my partner and me, because he’s usually the one to share his thoughts with any person, place or thing that will listen, while I just sit there and nod from time to time. But dump some tequila down my throat and I will share every single thought that enters my alcohol-drenched brain. This is probably why my friendship stats fluctuate so wildly on Facebook.
7. Tequila and some people don’t mix.
I’m talking about YOU, Miss Bellow-Guffaw three tables over. Why the hell are you yelling everything that you say? What’s up with that? Your equally-soused tablemate is right there. He can hear you just fine. There’s no need for this “raising the dead” business. You don’t need to be at that decibel level unless you’re parting the Red Sea or you’re in labor. Inside voice, please.
And while we’re on the topic, Mr. Thump-Bang in the booth behind me, what can you possibly be doing that makes it sound and feel like you tried to hog-tie something at a rodeo and failed miserably? Perhaps the laws of physics are beyond your grasp, so let me break it down for you: We are sharing the same seatback, which means that your rambunctiousness has a negative effect on me. Could you possibly sit still for twenty seconds so I can successfully get this guacamole-laden chip into my mouth instead of inadvertently smashing it into the side of my head?
8. Music sung in a foreign language is pleasing when you’re buzzed.
Typically, mariachi music is not my favorite. It’s just too insistent. But with a bit of inebriation, I’m transported to another world. It was truly divine and beautiful. I actually shed a few tears over this one song, where Yolanda did something something with some huevos, and the people of the village were offended by this and she was shunned forever, forced to wear used clothing and get her own water from the well. It was so sad. I asked our server if there was a place I could send money. He brought me another margarita instead, and said I could just give the money to him.
9. Your plate does not have to be empty before rude people want to take it.
No, I am not ready for you to whisk this away. Look, there’s a little bit of rice over here, and at least two bites of refried beans, and part of a puffed taco. This is a feast. There is no reason for you to be inquiring about the relocation of my tableware at this point. Yes, I understand that lately my focus has been on the straw in my margarita, but there’s no need for you to get demanding about my consumption process. When it’s time, I’ll ring a bell, okay? We’re going to tip you. Relax.
10. It’s much more fun when you aren’t the one who has to drive home after the margarita fest.
Terry has to pay attention and not kill people. All I have to do is sing and tell everybody what I think about unrelated topics like bratwurst and why Angelina Jolie’s lips are so big. So I did. All the way home. At one point, Terry was eyeing nearby cliffs with a desperate yearning in his eyes. I really wasn’t ready for a plunge into eternal darkness, so I eventually had to talk about things that might interest him as well, even though it pained me and ruined my conversational rhythm.
Finally, we made it home, where I joyously switched from margaritas to beer. Because mixing types of alcohol is such a good idea. The next morning, my uvula was swollen to the size of a Buick, I had no concept of what my name might be, and I quietly begged for Death to take me now. But all in all, it was a great birthday.
And I sure do love those puffed tacos…
(Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 01/27/11. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post.)