Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the curse of the taco

I wanted tacos, mixed green salad, asparagus soup, and self-styled spaghetti sauce for Christmas. I went to Shopwise, December 23 for last-minute shopping. I deliberately picked out every item I put inside my cart, carefully recalling the mental notes I made to ensure I had everything I needed and nothing I bought would go to waste. Except for the fresh basil leaves which were unavailable that day, I was able to complete my short shopping list in no time.

Back home, unpacking the groceries I realized I got nacho chips instead of taco shells. There was no way I could go back to the supermarket to get them so I just re-imagined the Noche Buena and thought of what use could the nachos chips be. An hour before midnight when almost everything was ready, including a taco filling that would still go well with the nachos and that the kids in the house were looking forward to, the box of nachos was nowhere to be found. We looked everywhere, even under the Christmas tree where presents were stacked one on top of the other but it had vanished without a trace. To remedy the situation I rushed to the nearest convenience store and got cheese flavoured tortillas to replace the nachos. Everything I prepared for Christmas was a hit both to the family and to the guests, especially the spaghetti sauce. The tale of the taco shell and the missing nacho chips made each dish more delectable, them knowing what they missed.

Thirtieth of December, I went back to Shopwise to get the things I would need for Media Noche this time. Still pining for, I bought two boxes of Taco shells (carefully read the label… yeah, it really was taco), just in case I lost one box on the way to my hometown. And also this time, I got the fresh basil leaves. And oh, I bought my dad a jar of Korean kimchi. My mom loves my buttered tuna that is best with asparagus so I bought her quarter of a kilo of asparagus spears. Bro likes cherry tomatoes which are pretty expensive at this time of the year but I bought them anyway. I purchased two bags of arugula and mixed greens that’s best with Italian dressing (ahh, on second thought, arugula and balsamic vinegar are the perfect match).

My very handsome and gorgeous, beautiful, exotic, wild, uncontrolled, untamed, conceited, crazy, blood-thirsty, maniacal teen-aged son (which is not true, except for the handsome and gorgeous, beautiful part) was with me so we took the opportunity to get him his vanity essentials. Because this is a season of plenty I bought myself 6 bottles of Fit ‘n Right to help in my digestion as I expected to pig out on New Year’s day. And because Shopwise is a one-stop shop I found a reading lamp meant for my sister who every time she opened a big box of Christmas present blurted “sana reading lamp, sana reading lamp” but there was none among the almost a hundred gifts she received. Dinner tonight would be traditionally Filipino, tinapa (smoked fish), salted egg and tomatoes. Everything fit in the ‘I am not plastic’ bag that doubles reward points for Shopwise card holders.

On the way out of the supermarket we passed by the food stalls, one of which was selling kwek-kwek (deep-fried hardboiled quail egg coated with orange-coloured cornstarch) and day-old chick. I love anything exotic so I bought some to take home. On the cab back home, I detected in the pale face of the middle-aged driver that he was famished so I offered the quail egg. He got 3 pieces of kwek-kwek. He got curious with the day-old chick and tried one. It was his first time to have a taste of it and liked it. By the way he gobbled up everything I was certain he was way past his mealtime. True enough, he said he was about to have supper when we flagged his taxi. He offered me and my kid a candy but told him to keep it for himself, I said we were fine because as soon as we got to the house we could cook, while he had to keep on driving for at least another 5 hours.

We reached home, my kid struggled to get his newly acquired bike out of the cab while I settled our fare. I got off the taxi and wished the driver happy new year. He thanked me for the food I gave him. As soon as the taxi left two boys in their teens approached me to sell potholders and doormats made of cloth scraps. They came all the way from Cogeo, Rizal so I couldn’t bear not buying doormat and potholder at P25 and P20 respectively. I handed them extra P20 pesos each, after all it is the season of giving.

I forgot to say that my kid and I had coffee at Starbucks while waiting for his bike smartened up and before we went to the supermarket. We had a pleasant tête-à-tête.

So everything was well. At home, feeling good about bonding with my kid, sharing the kwek-kwek with the cabbie and buying something I didn’t need from the two teen-aged hawkers I decided it was time to prepare dinner. Dinner? Huh, where’s dinner? I left my grocery in the trunk of the taxi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The taxi had long been gone before I realized I actually forgot to get my grocery out of the trunk. It is so frustrating and so humiliating how I, who takes a cab everyday and never forgets to note down the taxi franchise name and operator’s telephone number and never forgets to check all my things before getting off, ridiculously forgot to note down the franchise name and operator’s telephone number and stupidly forgot to check I had all my things with me before letting the taxi leave.

Geeez. I no longer knew how it felt to be heartbroken until now. Everything I wanted for New Year’s day was there in the ‘I am not plastic’ bag. I had wished hard Mr. Cabbie would immediately discover there was something in his cab that belonged to me.

My sister when told about it said she’d treat me to a nice dinner to recompense my ill feelings. But like any broken-hearted person I was so devastated, couldn’t eat, couldn’t concentrate, my mind wandered off. My son, nephew and niece were pitting wits with one another around the dinner table but they barely infected me with their giggles and laughter . I was forlorn. In the restaurant, we positioned ourselves where we could see the street while dining, I craned my neck every time a taxi passed by. I knew I would recognize which cab it was if I ever saw it again. But he never came back.

As I typed this, Kai snuggled up to me and snatched the laptop from me, thus the red italics. As usual, he summarized all my feelings tonight. “That’s 2000 pesos down the drain, Mommy.”

There goes the curse of the taco.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous eyed said...

happy new year, len! ok lang yun, maganda ka naman e hehe. i'm sure the pale-faced middle-aged cab driver has found your taco shells et al in his taxi trunk but opted to keep them...

ibig sabihin wala pa ring na-receive na reading lamp yung sister mo? kawawa naman sya...

1:42 PM  
Blogger len said...

i............!!!!!!! (ang hirap pa rin talaga isulat ng name mo) wala pa rin syang reading lamp at di ko sinabi na yun ang regalo ko sa kanya na nawala.

nakakabasa ka na ulit ng blog ko!!! oisst, lots of ingat jan. big bang talaga ang new year nyo jan no?!!!

2:07 PM  
Anonymous eyed said...

oo nga e, magulo masyado dun! backpacking me ngayon sa india for 3 weeks. syempre nagkita rin kami ni gudang sa wakas. nasa kerala na me ngayon hehe. mapulang-mapula talaga sila dito. babalik me sa pakistan next weekend, o depende pa rin sa security advice na makukuha ko. miss mwa!

so patay na pala yung friendster blog mo yun kasi ang naka-link sa akin. ang gulo masyado! :D

9:40 PM  

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