IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:
US Tour Day 105: Modesto, California
Stupid computer. Stupid video chip delaminating from the mother board. Stupid me for not taking better care of the thing. You'd think I would've learned after ruining two others by mistreating them.
My dad and brother and I took the defunct iBook apart—partly because I was irritated at it and wanted to see it in a million pieces, partly because I wanted some of the parts to give to friends.
I felt great throwing the disassembled computer into the garbage bin. It had wronged me, and I rejoiced in its punishment.
We celebrated the way I usually do, by eating cheap Mexican food. I asked my dad if we could go to this place by Inga's house in the bad part of Modesto. I had to laugh when he asked why I chose this particular restaurant. I answered honestly. I had driven by it the day before. It was the shabbiest looking place I'd seen in a long time. It looked unsafe, unclean, and like the kind of place that had really uncomfortable seats.
Strangely, my father didn't exactly understand why these characteristics would make someone want to eat there.
I explained it has been my experience that both the food quality and cost–value of Mexican food are inversely proportional to a given restaurant's cleanliness, modernness, and quantity/quality of seating.
Basically, a Mexican place with immaculate floors, fancy signs and menus with all the words spelled right, comfy booths with adequate lighting, and restrooms where you won't get scabies mean the same things every time: the food will not be as good as it costs. The kind of place where you're scared to sit down (not that there is anywhere to sit down), the place where the sign is painted with leftover house paint on a piece of plywood they probably found in a dumpster, the one that doesn't even have fountain soft drink technology, now that is the place for heavenly value and taste.
As soon as my dad parked the car I knew this was the best place in town. Outside restrooms are always the filthiest restrooms and a sure sign of a dodgy operation. These low–budget restroom solutions require patrons to leave the dining area and go to a door around the side of the building. My dad had parked right in front of the door to their feculent, little toilet cave.
Now, not only were they showing signs of glory by having outside restrooms, but they'd also done something even better than the usual misspellings. The masterminds behind this classy operation transcended misspelling—and language itself—by making a gross error in what were supposed to be "universal" pictograms! The man and woman figures on the restroom door each had only one leg!
I couldn't wait to go in and see their seating area!
Once inside, my dad pointed out that they definitely had plenty of food splattered on their windows. Oh, and the floor, too. The seats were plastic and orange and looked old and terribly unpleasant. Abrasive Mexican omm–pa–pa music blared from the ratty jukebox making conversation difficult.
By this point my mouth was totally watering. It was as if this restaurant had been perfectly engineered according to my theories! I wondered, would it be chicken or carnitas today? I could see the news headlines in my mind, "Dozens Injured in Taste Explosion."
Oh, how my mouth celebrated that day! I ate some of the most glorious carnitas I'd tasted since my last visit to Mexican Fast Food in Tucson, Arizona. And my wallet celebrated, too. My whole meal was less than $4, including a cistern–sized soft drink that tasted a lot like a cistern, too!
I was pleased to find more evidence supporting my Mexican Food Theory, and the day felt like a victory—even without a working computer. Hopefully I won't come down with any debilitating after–effects from the Mexican food experiment!
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