Consolation Tacos

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Happy Humper, Freaknasties, it's cool and kinda gloomy here in the ATL, and that's great because it sort of matches my mood. Yes, I'm still merping (a technical emotional term) around for no particular reason except the end of days being upon us and all that. I mean there was a tiger running on the interstate this morning and cops shooting at it in the dark. If that isn't a metaphor for everything, I really don't know what is. 

I actually have a reason to be a bit glum today, I woke up with a swollen and very painful right knee. It's been bugging me for about 4-5 days, but I'm used to pain and was just like, "Welp, I'll chew this handful of Advil up and go about my life. It's just a knee, I'm sure I can get a new one someday." I went about my daily routine and set out for the office since it's a day ending in 'y' and that means morning meetings about meetings. My fave. 

On my way into the office I, a 38 year-old grown woman with three children and a career, had the stark realization that I literally have zero life skills beyond what I do day to day. I am an overgrown woman child who probably shouldn't have so many living things relying on me for survival. Let me explain...

I drive a manual transmission, because I'm edgy like that. Lately, the gear shift has been sticky, but once the car is warm it's totally fine. I had it checked out, nothing was wrong with it, and just figured the humidity was making condensation... viscosity... thermal dynamics... things Gio, a car guy, prattles on about while my eyes glaze over and I go to my happy place somewhere on a beach not directly in the path of a hurricane. Later in this story, you will see that my perpetual distractedness is a reason why my life skills are lacking somewhat. 

So about half a mile from my house, I notice the clutch is very close to the floor and seems stuck. The gearshift is also stickier than usual which I attributed to a stormy night, condensation, thermal viscosity, blah, blah, blah... mansplaining, I'm sleeping with my eyes open now. 

The clutch bothered me though. "Oh that's kinda weird," I thought, and suddenly emerged from my coma and remembered that the major thing about this car that bugs me is the super power clutch. This is an itty bitty hybrid go-cart, and it has the kind of clutch you would find on a Jeep. 

I wedged my toe under the pedal, and pop! the clutch released back to where it was way back when I first bought it in February... geez... how long had it been stuck halfway down? A couple of months? How did I not immediately notice this? All of the troubleshooting... and my dumbass literally had a stuck clutch this whole time. Oh look, it shifts like a breeze now... imagine that. 

That made me launch into a mental flogging my entire commute into work as I hated myself for literally not paying attention and not knowing more about cars beyond, key goes here... gas goes there. Yeah, that was me next to you in traffic screaming into my steering wheel that my daughters are not going to get married until they're thirty and they are going to know USEFUL THINGS like, "hey maybe check to see if your clutch is stuck under a floor mat or something." Not be a nearly 40 year-old oblivious fool like myself who can't do 'man's work' because I went from cradle to marriage and accepted that girls don't need to know how cars work, because boys put gas in them and fix them for you. My girls will go into a Home Depot and be able to communicate better than, "I need a thingy that does the thing." 

When I got to the office I was an aggro mess, and naturally took my grievances to Gio, who is probably wishing he extended that guys weekend a bit longer because, boy am I an exhausting handful. 

Actually no, that's not the case. That's me projecting. He laughed about the clutch thing and said it wasn't a big deal, now I know it sticks, so pay attention. 

YELL AT ME AND CALL ME A STUPID GIRL AND TELL ME TO GET IN THE KITCHEN. 

Then the talk turned to my knee, and I showed him what was up. I was like, "no big whoop, I'll wrap it and swallow a bottle of Advil. Today we skate." 

HERE is where he calls me a stupid girl. Well, again, not really, but I did get a speech about resting injuries, titanium joints aren't #goals, and better to take it easy now rather than blow everything out down the road and this whole project tanks. 

That's reasonable. That's sane. I'm neither of those things because I'm a panicky neurotic mess who has to push, push, push to feel like I accomplish anything. This is why I have a swollen knee and a sticky clutch. 

Noticing my pouting, he's like, "Consolation tacos, dear?" 

Ahhhh consolation tacos. My new medicine. 

Guys, I don't even LIKE tacos. I mean, I like them ok, and I'd eat them once in a while, but this man LIVES for tacos. He will eat them twice a day six days a week if left to his own devices. 

But over this year, 'consolation tacos' have become a thing. I still can take or leave them and only eat shrimp or fish tacos, but now they're like a balm to my road rash of life's truck running me over. When I was lonely this weekend, I had brunch tacos and it made me feel better. I literally just typed, 'brunch tacos.' I hate myself right now. 

I don't know what it is... are they magical? Do tortillas enhance serotonin absorption? Or has my partner completely Pavlov'ed me into redirecting my mood through tacos. Maybe it's because tacos are a happy food. Like, you can really feel your depression in a bowl of soup. Soup wants you to hate your life. Pasta wants you to hate your life. 

You just can't frown at a taco, though. Think about it. Try to think about sadness and tacos at the same time and you start smiling because it's impossible. This is how consolation tacos became a thing. 

So the sun is trying to peak out, my car drives like a dream again, my knee is a bit better with a wrap on it and some Advil, I have a belly full of tacos, and my better half is sitting here working, watching me like a hawk, should I get any ideas like sneaking out a side door and going skating anyway. 

Consolation tacos work wonders, but I am still me after all...

Jennifer Gulbrandsen