When a Burrito Bros. Burrito Went Splat on I-395
Michael E. Grass’ ode to burrito gluttony from last week has me thinking of my weekend evenings in Adams Morgan of yesteryear. When a night of drinking came to a close, I usually made a stop at the now-closed Burrito Brothers location. The place was quiet for the most part and offered drunk food for the chilled-out and relaxed, not the testosterone-laden, sex-charged, and angry jumbo slice consumers.
My order never changed: super-sized black bean and spinach burrito, with plenty of guac. While the short little burrito-construction mavens did their thing, I was at the condiment station filling up 17 miniature cups with spicy green salsa.
Most nights, I pummeled the forearm-sized behemoth in the front window, watching guys boot in the bushes, and girls blow out their heels on uneven sidewalks. One night while out with my buddy Ryan, we decided to bounce. We grabbed two burritos to go, and hailed a cab to Shirlington across the river in Virginia.
Ryan was always the (slightly) more sensible, restrained, and patient of our pair. His burrito rested patiently in his lap while he got into a screaming match with our cab driver over politics. I, however, needed instant gratification. Despite my cab driver's insistence, I tore into my burrito in the back seat. As he threatened to pull over and eject us, I smiled, now adorning each bite with a small dollop of green hot sauce from a small plastic cup.
My disregard for the cab driver's fear of a food mess on his pleather seats, combined with a particularly scathing anti-Bill Clinton comment from Ryan proved a breaking point. The cab screeched to a halt, and we were discharged about a mile from our destination—and on the wrong side of Interstate 395.
I proposed a game of human Frogger, but a pedestrian bridge was nearby to get us across. As we started on the trek over the highway, Ryan was giddy—almost skipping. His arms swung wildly at his sides like a rag doll. And the movement of the burrito pushed the bag to its structural limits.
At the apex of one of his swings, the bottom gave way, thrusting the burrito skyward with astonishing velocity. Ryan and I stood still for that moment and stared, our eyes glossed over with martinis and Jägermeister shots. The burrito's foil reflected off streetlamps and car headlights, seemingly creating a million points of light.
Ryan's burrito hovered at its apex for what seemed like an eternity. I took a bite from my burrito, which had not left my side. Ryan’s burrito, meanwhile, fell under the forces of gravity, beginning its ever-accelerating decent onto the pavement below.
Ryan hovered over what looked like the corpse of a jumper, quivering, and unable to process the events that just unfolded. Looking over his shoulder, Ryan watched me masticate the final morsel of my super spinach with black beans. A bit of guacamole on my lip did nothing to camouflage the smile on my face.
Photo by Flickr user dbking via a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license