Wednesday, September 22, 2004
There is a calendar on the wall,
one of those paper travel calendars with photos or maps and info about Mexico
which makes sense, because this is a Mexican restaurant
And the large block print on the calendar admonishes us:
"El futuro es hoy!"
(The calendar is dated March 2001)
I am waiting for a take-out order which was placed by phone. Upon arrival, I glance at the menu and realize that they had told me the wrong name for the type of burrito I tried to order, so I confirm with Miguel that I intended to order a pork burrito with green sauce. He assures me yes, yes, that is what I ordered, even though the burrito on the menu has enchilada sauce (which is red). It's just that the one called Expresso has guacamole, sour cream and tomatoes also. I ask if it's already made, and he explains yes, and that its cheaper! He's given me more stuff and I saved 50 cents. He heads back to the kitchen, then calls out to me that he needs just a minute to finish the order.
So I examine the possibility that in March 2001, the future is now. It's an attractive fantasy, to continue to live in a pre-9/11/2001 world. I picture the lives of those 3000 people moving along doing those things they would do in the world,
going to work, mowing the lawn, eating a burrito from their favorite Mexican restaurant. That this could continue at this moment would be a miracle but in March, 2001, I doubt any one of them realized that the simple actions of living could be so precious.
Some time later Miguel brings out the take out bag, carefully wrapped, and I leave my musings about 2001 behind. I again confirm, "this has green sauce?", and he says "of course" and sends me on my way.
I unwrap the plate at home, and it is immediately apparent that this burrito was once covered in enchilada sauce, scraped as you might scrape burned bits off the last piece of toast that has gotten a little over browned in your morning
rush, scraped of it's red sauce, of the guacamole, of the sour cream, of most of the tomatoes, and recovered in green sauce. It would be tempting to gripe about it, it would be easy for me to look at the burrito and get irritated that they didn't just make a new one if they did it wrong and realized the error. Or ask me if red sauce was ok given the mistake. But it's just a burrito. Seems like there's so many larger events where we shape the outcome to fit whatever it is they told us. El futuro es hoy. And if you don't like it, we'll just coat it with a different veneer to suit you
Cynicism doesn't make a good dinner time conversation does it?
So what do I find hopeful about this 2004 version of the future?
Little things like the pictures you find if you do a google image search on "burrito". Which is where all the pictures in this post came from.