I was feeling sorry for myself for a chunk of today, probably because I haven’t been sleeping well this week. I had several work-related balls in the air two weeks before our son Theo’s last day of school and didn’t expect any of them to land. My summer was going to be a relatively relaxing one, with a few local family trips, a visit from my brother and Theo’s camps, playdates and study help. Last week, however, all the balls landed at once, and now I have an exhibition to curate, one book (and maybe even a second) to write and itinerary for a museum tour to Japan to put together, all probably in the next couple of months. This may partly explain my anxious nights and today’s cranky mood.
This evening, because Theo was at a friend’s birthday party and sleepover, my husband David and I had planned a date night. He had bought tickets to see the Charlie Chaplin movie City Lights at the Los Angeles Theater on Broadway in Downtown LA, the venue where the film had premiered in 1931. The film was at 8pm, and we were hoping to have a nice dinner beforehand. I was having a hard time getting myself ready, futzing around with clothes trying to find the right outfit and generally dawdling. It was after 7pm when we finally left the house and we hadn’t eaten dinner. I was grumpy and David was anxious that we might not get good seats. We made good time heading downtown, though, and pulled into a parking structure near the theater. We had only seen a Carl’s Junior nearby – not exactly what we’d been planning for our rare night out. However, when we exited the parking structure we spotted a tiny hole-in-the-wall taco restaurant called Tacos Mexico on 7th street. It had an A in the window, and although David had told me he wasn’t that hungry, and I’m not usually a big fan of Mexican food, we decided to risk it. David grabbed one of the two tiny tables outside and I went into order us some food.
The young woman behind the counter smiled sweetly and asked what I’d like. I ordered a couple of carnitas tacos, a beef taco and some nachos, hoping that they would be ready quickly and be decent enough not to upset my stomach during the film. I gave her my credit card and she tried to process my payment but was stymied by her machine, which wouldn’t print me a receipt. She apologized profusely for the delay, but within seconds our food was all ready and I took it outside. I sat down and we tucked into our cheap, quick tacos. We both stared at each other as we realized something wonderful was happening. The tacos were so juicy and flavorful. And the nachos were crazy good too. Not caring about our greasy hands, we grabbed at the food and polished it all off in ten minutes, all the while remarking on how incredibly delicious it all was. Amazed at how some sweet service and tasty food could transform my mood almost instantly, I popped back inside the tiny restaurant and gave the young woman a woven bracelet from my “Emergency Giveaway Purse” to thank her for lifting my dark cloud from my psyche so I could enjoy the city lights.