North of the Border (A Harrowing Quest for Taco Bell)

Can someone please tell me what self-respecting Taco Bell doesn’t have a drive-thru? Never mind, I’ll tell YOU. The one on Old Country Road in Hicksville (I think), that’s what…one…doesn’t. You know what I mean. Either way, that is the Taco Bell responsible for tonight’s version of “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” as done by David Lynch.

See, I am broke, but still needed dinner, and decided to get Taco Bell tonight, because it’s cheap, and because I’d already had Burger King earlier today. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, I pulled into the parking lot, and much to my dismay, realized that there was no drive-thru! Travesty! Out of principle alone, I obviously could not support that Taco Bell. So I decided that I’d just find another one. And this is what led to my taking the Cross Island Parkway home from Hicksville to Levittown.

What happened was that I decided to take Old Country Road down a ways, and somehow ended up on 107, which at some point apparently stops being so much a “road” as a “gateway to hell.” I quickly assessed that I was in a Bad Neighborhood — the North Shore. I realized this due to the combination of twisty roads and mailboxes seven miles from the houses. OH NO! I hate the North Shore! But whatever, soon I would hit a major road. Or at least a Taco Bell!

Nope.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that I couldn’t turn around! And for people who spend a lot of effort keeping others out of their world, the North Shore folks sure do make it hard to leave! The roads were so curvy that turning around would have been mad dangerous, especially since it was raining. So, since I had no desire to re-enact “Creepshow 2,” I had to keep going.

Finally, I saw Route 25A, which seemed safe to me, because during the summer of ’96, I got lost in Suffolk every single time I went to an audition, and Route 25A always helped me find my way home, if not to the audition. So 25A it was!

The only problem is that in an unprecedented moment of locational clarity, I realized that I needed to go west. So I did. Meaning, I would not be hitting Suffolk. But I WOULD be hitting the scariest bridge in the world. I have no idea what bridge this was, but all of a sudden, I was in a work zone, and the road was covered with 7,800 neon-orange kegs! And there was like, NO space. And it was raining! I was terrified! It didn’t help that my iPod was on shuffle, and currently playing “18 and Life.” I finally turned down the volume, and breathed like a lady in labor on TV.

Finally, it was over, and I was not dead. Also, signs of life! A Mobil station! I went in to get gas, but not to ask for directions, since I didn’t want to be all, “Ummm, WHERE THE HELL am I?” So I just paid for my gas, while thinking how crazy it was that I would probably never lay eyes on this gas attendant again, unless of course I was trapped forever in the North Shore like “The Blair Witch Project” or that one Luke Wilson movie.

Obviously, I should turn around after getting gas. Surely that way, I’d find my way home — retrace my steps! Only I couldn’t, because no WAY was I pressing my luck on that fluorescent bridge again! I had no choice but to keep going forward.

Then all of a sudden I realized I was in Queens. Bad, because I live in Levittown; good, because I knew that if I could manage to not end up in Manhattan or the Bronx (it’s happened), that I’d hit the Cross Island, which is omnipresent in Queens. And sure enough!

Happy though I was to be definitely heading back to my apartment, I was very not happy to be driving on the Cross Island in the rain, because it was all shiny and hologrammy, like one of those folders from 1991. Not the Lisa Frank folders, the other ones. And that is not a good way for a parkway to look, you know? I really was just guessing as to what constituted a “lane,” because the white lines were lost under the shininess.

Also my iPod was continuing its newfound tradition of dickish whimsy. Obviously, I did not want to hear “Lose Control” while driving in the rain on the parkway where basically everyone I know has been in an accident. Obviously, I also did not want to hear “Into Dust,” or “Accidntal Deth” (real spelling), or “Stop Breathin’.” Finally, “One Moment in Time” came on, so I sang along, to celebrate my triumphant return home.

What I realized while on the Southern State Parkway was that I still had no Taco Bell! And no way could I go back home without it! Problem was, I only knew the exact location of one Taco Bell for sure, and that was in South Merrick. Time for another detour!

Man, was I happy to be back on land. Merrick has never been lovelier to me. But THEN some bimbo in an SUV is all riding my ass, and I chuckled to myself, because she had no idea what I’d been through that night. Hologram roads, tiny orange bridges…I was not intimidated by her stupid big car!

Laaaaaa! At long last, I got my Taco Bell! For a moment, I was conflicted. Should I try the new Zesty! nachos? But then I realized that tonight hadn’t really been my *night,* and I did not come this far to risk an inferior nacho. I stuck with my tried and true Nachos Bell Grande and some tacos, and headed back to Levittown.

The Gulf station where I turn on Hempstead Turnpike has never looked more beautiful. So much so, that I barely minded the 27-minute wait at the light. During this time, I realized that the volume on my iPod was still down from when I was ordering at Taco Bell. I decided to see if it was still being cute. Sure enough, “Cemetery” by Architecture in Helsinki was playing. From “In Case We Die.” Lovely!

I didn’t die though (TONIGHT), and I did eat my Taco Bell. Of course, I got full after a few nachos, so I’m saving the rest. I’ll eat it tomorrow. That is of course, if I don’t decide to go to South Carolina for some Checkers.

© April 1, 2007

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This entry was posted in Driving & Other Transportation, Food, Going Out, Miscellaneous, Music, Restaurants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to North of the Border (A Harrowing Quest for Taco Bell)

  1. Josh says:

    Judi, this is one of the best descriptions of the things wrong with the confusing roads on Long Island. How one simple turn leads to getting lost somewhere in one of the five borough’s. It’s funny (tragically) that your decision to not go to the Taco Bell because of the lack of drive through, led to your night of Suffolk-induced terror. 25A is a demon road, and that area of Long Island is bewildering and not one to be traveled upon lightly…I’m glad you made it home safe and got your grub on.

  2. Pingback: Serendipity Doo Dah | judisunshine

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