Mexican Food Abduction

24 Nov 2006

Another quick Adventures with Kumar story today. No, this one won't involve sex with dogs or picking up babes using only Indian food. But, it IS another very strange story involving chicken. Like the others, this one's 100% true and beyond any rational explanation I can offer.

A couple of visits ago, we both developed a strong hankering for Mexican food. There was this decent Tex-Mex place, he said, over in Reston, Virginia, called the Rio Grande Cafe. Back when I lived in the D.C. area, Reston was little more than a bunch of open fields. Today, it's one of those planned suburban communities, continually abuzz with yuppies hemorrhaging disposable income at an alarming rate.

I'm sure you've seen places like this, although they do not exist in the "real world." What they do is to find an enormous piece of farmland that's close to a major city, yet still isolated / secluded. Then they build a community there from the ground up (all owned by hyper-wealthy real estate developers). Everything is brand-spanking new at places like this, even though the designs often harken back to the days of old (with facades of stone, old-fashioned street lamps, and utility lines being buried instead of hanging from unsightly telephone poles). Quite frankly, they're charming communities -- no riffraff. The streets are often made of real bricks instead of ugly tar-ridden asphalt. The stores are high-end retail shops where nothing would ever go on sale. And, the condos start in the "affordable low $400s." (*See my footnote rant on this ...)

When we arrived at theRio Grande, the hostess said it was going to be a good hour or so wait, and suggested we hit the cantina for chips and margaritas. Sounded like a plan to us, so we downed about six or seven margaritas at the bar while waiting our turn along with the hundreds of others in the joint. When we did finally get called, we figured it would be ages before we'd actually see real food of any kind. In my life, I've done some serious eating out at restaurants -- easily five times more than the average person my age. So, when I say it was "crowded" there, you just have to trust me on this. It's not often you see that many freaking people in one place. For all I know, they could very well have been in violation of the local fire code.

Eventually, we got a small table, and I immediately instructed the waitress to automatically refill both of our margaritas any time the level on either of our drinks dipped below the half-way point. (It was like that scene in Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield. "Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out. And then bring one every ten minutes.")

I don't exactly recall our actual order, but we each settled on some kind of grilled chicken steak (which, I know, sounds like an oxymoron). We each customized our chicken steaks with various side orders as well -- chili, refried beans, Spanish rice, etc.

Here's the weird part:About five seconds after the waitress left, a guy came out of the kitchen carrying a huge tray and stopped at our table. "Hi guys! I have your food!"

Kumar and I exchanged confused looks. "That's not ours," I told the guy.

He started checking the paperwork. "What do you mean? This order is for Table number--"

"We ordered literally 10 seconds ago," I said. "I don't see how our waitress could have even reached the kitchen yet."

"Well ... no," he said. "This is your order right here. Two chicken steaks, two sides of chili, two sides of refried beans, an order of rice."

"That's exactly what we ordered," Kumar said. "But, it wasn't even 30 seconds ago."He looked at his watch. "I mean, it's10:25 right now. We couldn't have ordered before, say, 10:24."

The guy grabbed a printed receipt from the tray and showed us, "This order is timestamped at10:23 p.m."

Now, I've never figured out what happened, though I've tried to understand it for years. Apparently, * our food was prepared exactly to order and left the kitchen before we'd even ordered it! *This would suggest some sort of time-travel scenario that I can't quite get my head around -- or maybe it was just a glitch in the Matrix. True, we'd had numerous margaritas that evening, and that could be part of the explanation. But, we ran through it all mentally several times, and never managed to make sense of that turn of events.

What's more, the food was perfect -- outrageously good. Kumar's not a heavyweight, but the guy can pig out when he wants to. And, I know I'm capable of doing some real damage in a Tex-Mex setting.But, this was an all-out feast. We had so many bowls of chips, salsas, and sides, it was quite a challenge to make a dent in it all. In the end, I guess that's all that mattered. Awesome food, good friends, tasty margaritas. If we were in fact abducted by aliens and subjected to all of the usual medical probing that everyone knows aliens are so fond of, at least our aliens had the common courtesy to wipe the experience from our brains before returning us to earth.

Strange, though ... Think about all of the big alien issues you hear about. Crop circles? Hmm ... Maybe they just want the corn, for enchiladas. Cattle mutilation? Maybe they want the beef, for tacos. And, where was the singularly famous alien crash site in our history, home of the infamous Area 51? That's right ... it was Roswell, New Mexico. You see, here's my theory:We're focusing on the wrong thing with these aliens. They're not after us at all; they just want the Tex-Mex.

Now if I could just shake this new craving I have to become a scientologist, I think I'll be just fine.

- - - - - - - - - -

* Quick footnote rant:With all of these new homes going up starting in the "affordable low $400s," could someone please tell me who the f*ck is buying them???!!! Do you know what the house payment must be on a $400,000 home?! Must be, what, $5,000/month? So, that's $60,000/year spent on your mortgage -- after taxes.Which means you'd better be bringing in a good $140,000 or so/year, after taxes, in your household. People in homes like that, generally, aren't two-income families, either. There's usually one stay-at-home person to raise the kids, etc.So, it stands to reason that there must be roughly just as many six-figure jobs out there as there are new homes being built. But then, whenever I go out to, guess how many six-figure jobs I see inPittsburgh? That's right -- zippo.So, again, who the hell's buying these homes, and with what money?

Last night, I went out to to have a peek at the job market -- to check out what amazing jobs our great market has for marketing gurus like myself. Want to know what I found? Here's the title (I swear, I'm not making this up):"Marketing Executive -- Entry Level."Anyone else find something a little odd about that? How the hell can you be an "entry level" executive?Someone please explain that one to me.

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