Yesterday morning, I found myself wide awake at 7:00. It wasn’t thanks to an alarm clock or some miracle of modern science that turned me into a morning person. No – the insomnia just won out, and I hadn’t yet gone to sleep.
Faced with the dilemma of sleeping from sunrise until sunset – a real possibility this time of the year – or getting up and doing something, I chose the latter. I pulled on some warm clothes, harnessed up The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy, and headed out on a very important mission: Breakfast Tacos.
Since moving to Texas, I’ve developed an insatiable appetite for breakfast tacos of the potato, egg, and cheese variety. I can’t get enough of them. But I’m picky. I don’t just like any breakfast tacos. They have to be made right – the perfect blend of ingredients.
Why I thought I could find the perfect breakfast taco at 7:30 on a Thursday morning after having no sleep is beyond me. Here is what I DID learn on this trip: If you’ve had no sleep, and you have no sense of direction, and you want breakfast, the smart thing to do is to go somewhere you’ve been before. Had I not been exhausted and slightly delirious, I might have realized this. As it was, I did a quick Google Map search for “Breakfast Tacos” and took off to the first place with a five star rating that I found.
I didn’t take the map.
That was mistake number two. Luckily, I’ve long since abandoned my fear of getting lost.
So, into the car Cooper and I went, and we started driving. I had a vague idea of where I was going, and really – how hard could it be to find a breakfast taco in Austin? Isn’t that kind of like looking for a flea in a vet clinic?
I knew that the taco establishment was on one side or the other of the intersection. All I had to do, I thought, was drive first one way – and if it wasn’t there, then drive the other. I thought it was a perfect plan. Only, when I drove one way, there were no tacos to be seen. And when I drove the other… well… things got sticky.
When I couldn’t find the taco establishment I was searching for, I decided to rely on the rule of Taco in Austin. “If you drive long enough in one direction, you’ll hit a taco.”
I am here to tell you that this rule is FALSE. A lie. COMPLETELY and UTTERLY incorrect.
By the time I realized this though, I found myself in North Carolina. Not really, of course – it was actually the middle of the Bull Creek Greenbelt. But it looked an awful lot like North Carolina. There were trees. It was pretty. I was hungry. And I knew that when I got to the sign that said “If gate is down, road is closed,” I was in trouble.
Sometimes, if you drive long enough in one direction, you find the end of the world. Or at least, the end of the road. In my case, it was this:
I drove past fancy houses, continuing along the road because I was convinced that if I just kept going, I’d end up somewhere familiar. Instead, I ended up at a dead end. And so, I did the only thing that made sense. I got out of the car, and took some pictures.
This one is titled: DUDE, Where’s my Breakfast Taco?
It is the look of a dog who does not understand why he just spent the past forty-five minutes in the back of a car, and hadn’t yet received any edible compensation for it.
Why did I think it was a good idea to take the dog again?
After concluding that it would be a stupid idea to try to keep driving in a straight line, because, well…. there was a gate in my way… I turned around and drove back in the direction from which I’d come. Back past the same houses. I found myself wondering if the hired help in the fancy houses on the hill got some kind of sick pleasure from watching people drive past, knowing that there was a dead end up ahead. I imagined the maids snickering at me.
Because, you know, I am the center of the universe and everyone pays attention to me.
I drove back through North Carolina, a.k.a. the Bull Creek Green Belt. I admired the trees.
I thought about how nice it was that I’d given up my fear of getting lost. I thought about how very hungry I was. Finally, after my hour-long detour, I made it back to the intersection where the taco establishment was supposed to be. I pulled into an HEB, surveyed the scene, and came up empty. Feeling slightly defeated, I pulled out my phone and used Google Maps to search again for the taco establishment. I was apparently sitting right on top of it.
Or, at least, within a thirty second drive.
I’d gone past it in the first direction I drove, but it was well hidden by trees and I completely missed it. Relieved, I went through the drive through and ordered three potato, egg, and cheese tacos.
Now, this would be a MUCH better story if they had been the best tacos ever. Unfortunately, they were only okay tacos. And I swear the drink they gave me was NOT a Dr. Pepper. The dorms at UT do much better tacos (though I’m sure many of my Latino friends would disagree with me). But at least Cooper was happy. He got a whole taco to himself.
So, the search for the perfect breakfast taco continues. I have promised my friend Tom that I will try Taco Shack. If I ever get the urge to go taco hunting at 7:30 in the morning again, I’ll bite the bullet and go to 45th street. Of course, it’s very near the part of Austin that I like to call “pipeland,” as in, from Mario. I once spent TWO hours there looking for the entrance to a building. And no, it wasn’t all user error. Shut up.
Either way, this is the lesson I’ve learned: If you go looking for perfection, you might just find the end of the world.
Oh… and: It’s good to sleep before going somewhere new. Especially if you need a rubber duck to tell your left from your right.
Just good, common sense, that one.