Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adventure at Psycho Bell

If the universe is a big drive-through speaker, I lean in and order good stuff on the menu because…well, you know…who doesn’t? I am careful to enunciate, too, just so the universe doesn’t get my order wrong. Again. And then the universe promptly gathers up a bunch of psychos and plops them into my bag. Because that universe sure has a sense of humor, doesn’t it?

It was broad summer daylight just after the dinner rush last Thursday evening, and I was the only car sitting in the Taco Bell drive-thru. It’s one way, just big enough to let an extra large vehicle through. There are curbs and landscaped berms on either side, so you are lower than the surrounding area and very much hemmed in. This is in a pleasant, family-oriented, suburban area just off a main highway.

I was talking into the speaker, which is a little way back from the building. The conversation went something like this:


There was absolutely nowhere for Taco Bell's Ding-Dong-Driver to go but straight into me. Fortunately he did slow a bit, but then it became clear that his plan was to pass me. With his truck. In the space that was only about 3 feet wide. It was if he thought one or both of us would magically accordion into something skinny like that cool Harry Potter bus for stranded witches and wizards. He was literally inches from the magic when I desperately amped up the shouting and gesturing and yelling. “NOOOO!!! Back up! Go back!”

The guy inside—who did look extremely wasted or at least not at all right, pondered the situation like a Taco Bell Buddha for what seemed like an eternity. Then he gave a sage nod; he had given the matter a great deal of thought and concurred. This was the undoubtedly the smartest decision of the day for him.

He threw his truck into reverse and tried to back up at the same speed at which he’d approached, which had to have been about 25 mph, which is surprisingly fast in a drive-thru, not to mention going backward, especially considering the job he was doing going forward.

Here is what my conversation with the Taco Bell Girl over the microphone was like.

Me: “Oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh! The crazy man is headed back toward you now! Can you see that??! He’s crashing into the curb! Now he’s in the flower bed!”

Taco Bell Employee: “Yes, ma’am. We apologize for the crazy man, ma’am.”

Me: “He’s turning the corner and I can’t see him. Is he coming back? Will you tell me if he comes back? That was so scary! What’s he doing now?” (This was when I could hear people in the restaurant laughing in nervous horror, because the guy was now threatening to crash into the Taco Bell building while trying to negotiate the turn. Still backwards.) “Where is he?!”

Taco Bell Employee: “He appears to be trying to drive backwards on the highway, ma’am. He’s going to—no, he made it. Now he’s back on the median. Now he’s on the sidewalk—okay, he’s back on the median again. He’s really tearing up his car. I don’t think he’s coming back, ma’am. He’s definitely not coming back. (The giggles behind her were hysterical now.)

Me: “Are you sure?” There was a brief pause.

Taco Bell Employee: “Yes, ma’am. Right now he’s...(at this point her calm voice almost—but not quite—broke, but she immediately recovered her composure).  He’s stuck in a tree.” The outburst of snorting guffaws behind her was positively explosive.

At some point he disengaged his car from the pine tree and drove off. I was so shaken, it was difficult to complete my order. When I got to the window, it was interesting to see the people with whom I had just survived the ordeal. The calmly polite Taco Bell Employee, a cute blond girl who was probably only in high school, continued to complete the order with utter aplomb. One of the employees in the crowd behind her, though, appeared as shaken as I felt. He said it was the most excitement he’d seen since he’d started working there six months earlier. Then he handed me my ”nachos with trees…I mean, cheese.”

It was completely unconscious—a Freudian slip. We all laughed so hard, I was a little afraid I’d be the one who had trouble driving away that time.

We apologize for the crazy man, ma’am. ~Taco Bell Employee


  1. Holy Moly what an experience. That was scary and I'm glad Crazy Man didn't run into you. (My word that I have to type in is "beerseen" and I'm pretty sure that's what had happen to Mr. Crazy - the beer (he consumed) had been seen.

  2. But even if you're worried about the results when you laugh hysterically, there are always options...

  3. The man obviously had the right idea.

    If you back off and go fast enough you'll pass right through the offending objects. OOPS. Doesn't always work.

    Just think. Next time you run into a "Sex(less) in the City" candidate... It COULD be him!

  4. Ha! Little does the cute blonde high schooler realize, she's coined a perfect line for a story!

    Critter Alley

  5. Ooh! I haven't been that scared since the guy on a Walmart beeper cart backed into me at the checkout lane. I wanted to shout, like Zack Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman, "I got nowhere else to go!"

  6. How funny, and I believe I've been to that Taco Bell before.

    Love the line, "we apologize for the crazy nam, ma'am."

  7. Good grief, I usually go inside to see the crazies. What a scary scene. In a tree hahaha

  8. OMG, Tammy. I read all of this without breathing, then realized I had forgotten to do something. Oh, yes, breathe.
    The world is full of crazies, we're just lucky we actually only meet a few of them in one lifetime.
    Glad you are okay, you and your nachos with trees.
    Luv, K

  9. Wow! I am so glad that he stopped. I wonder if he ever made it home. Great story, Tammy.

    Kathy M.


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