Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get a visit from Kansas from my pilot/ex-roommate/home-improvement-inspiration friend, Bob. Seriously, Bob’s awesome. Bob’s so awesome that I gave him a mug once reading, "All Hail Bob, the MacGyver of the Modern Age," and I wasn’t even being sarcastic. Gasp, shock, yes, I know.
That said, he did NOT manage to MacGyver a car out of lint and rubber bands while on his lay-over in Denver, so on Monday night, I found myself braving the first adventure of the evening all by my lone self: Denver highways at rush-hour. Now, originally when I was accepted into the CSU veterinary program I planned to ask my family for tattoo money for my summer birthday, enjoying the idea of a tattoo to commemorate the next stage of my life. Then I got practical and decided that based on my previous navigational experiences, I needed a GPS. And THANK WHOEVER FOR THAT STROKE OF GENIUS—I use that GPS more often than I call my own mother. However, by "use" the GPS, I mean that a lot of the time I plug in my destination with the best of attentive intentions and spend the next hour spewing my broad knowledge of obscenities as I forget that GPS exists and repeatedly miss obvious directions. If my GPS could cuss, I’m pretty sure it would add some new words to my repertoire.
So Monday evening, I plugged in the address of Bob’s hotel and took off, relatively confident in my ability to venture into the big city of Denver without dying of sheer lack of common sense. I didn’t even make it out of Fort Collins before my GPS got mad at me."Turn…around in…20 feet."
"GPS, I know what I’m doing. That road is closed. This one will get us there."
"Turn around in…5 feet."
"Shut up. You’ve not been updated in a while."
"You have missed…your turn. Turn around…as soon as…possible."
"That’s not happening. You’ll see—this road will take us to Research Drive, which will take us to Drake, which will get us to the mother-flipping highway. Just give it a second."
DON’T YOU BOSS ME, GPS MAN. YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD."
Either way, we got to the highway. That part wasn’t scary.
It got scary when I got into the labyrinthine hell that is the highway system around Denver. "Keep right. Exit in…one half mile."
"Okay…okay, cool. I can do that. Just have to get over a lane..."
"WHAT?!? I missed it??? What the %$#* @!!!. F*&#% me with a f*&^@^ *@&^#..."
"Cool. Cool. Option number two. I got this."
Success. Took that exit. Rocked it.
"Now, keep left. Next exit in…20…feet." Across 4 lanes of traffic.
"You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you."
Eventually, I made it to Bob’s hotel, and I didn’t even die a little bit. However, the stress of the adventure had been enough to make me hungry, so Bob and I headed immediately to a Mexican restaurant he’d looked up while waiting for me. This required more use of a GPS, but my GPS and I weren’t speaking to each other, so we used Bob’s. The restaurant was only supposed to be about 3 miles away. 5 minutes into the journey, Bob’s phone told me to turn left for approximately the 15th time, and the only lights visible were off in the distance.
"Did you tell your GPS to take us out here so you could kill me and get rid of the body?"
"Nope, but I think the GPS is trying to get us killed on its own."
"And THAT’S what you get for deciding to use the ‘homicidal woman’ voice for your GPS."
"Yeah. We might die."
Turns out the "homicidal woman" voice is known as Siri, and she’s a thing that lots of kids today have. I still totally expected her to say something like "Take the next exit into the liiiiight…"
But, she didn’t, and eventually she told us that we’d arrived at the restaurant, though she was sure to pronounce it in a way that can only be described as "ignorant Americanese." When we stepped in the door, we both paused and looked at each other in confusion. "It looks like I brought you to a grocery store," said Bob.
"Yup. And we are definitely the minority." We stuck out like awkward, nervous thumbs with the best of multiracial intentions.
Actually, the "restaurant" was there, consisting of 2 grungy diner booths and a grumpy-looking Mexican man who greeted our appearance with a sardonic lift of his eyebrow. "For you?" he said, accent thick. We were so out of our depth. "Uhh…," said Bob. "A burrito, Barbacoa, for me, and a…a burrito for her.
"I’m semi-vegetarian. No way would I make a difficult situation easier by giving up on that—I couldn’t see any words on the menu that made me think they were vegetarian dishes, but I was pretty sure I could speak enough Spanish to get my point across.
"Un burrito sin carne," I said, trying to pronounce it intelligbly. The cook didn’t get it.
"…Asada?" he asked. Crap. Didn’t remember that one.
"Umm…yo no sé. Solamente…vegetables?" I was literally sweating, I was thinking so hard. There will be a future post on my reaction to awkward social situations, but let’s just say I never enjoy being the dumb American that enters a new situation praying that everyone speaks English. It’s not something to be proud of.
He looked dubiously at the wide array of spicy carbohydrates and meats at his disposal.
"…arroz?" He countered. Rice. Thank goodness. I remembered that one.
"Sí, sí…y frijoles?"
Success. I did not die of starvation that day. And they turned out to be some of the best burritos we’d ever had, so of course we ate them while we watched British television in Bob’s fancy hotel room and comforted ourselves with the security of words we understood.
Good gravy, it was pitiful. Still awesome, though.