Monday evening my friend Jen and I had a the idea that we would take our kids to Chipotle for dinner. Our husbands were working, so why not treat ourselves to GMO-free, quick-service Tex-Mex? I pulled in to the parking lot after a quick stop to buy a toy box off of Craigslist. Relieved to have made this $10 exchange without being murdered, I was feeling good and ready for a salad.
I pulled in to what I thought was an empty parking space to find it was the “Burrito Loading Zone.” Ugh! I searched for another spot. That sign should have been a sign that this Chipotle trip was not meant to be. By the way, who the hell faxes in their burrito bowl order?!
Anyway, I had to wake my 4-year-old who had dozed off in the car. Great. That will make bed time fantastic. She was foul and grumpy when I woke her. Promising a quesadilla and dinner with her friend did nothing to cheer her up. My 1-year-old had kicked off his shoes. I searched the floorboards as he wailed with hunger. I started sweating. I toted my thrashing son while scaring my daughter by telling her sudden death was imminent if she didn’t hold my hand in the parking lot. Did she not see all the other drivers being psyched out by the “Burrito Loading Zone” and circling the lot for a spot?!
I found Jen wrangling her one-year-old into a high chair and convincing her preschooler that the rice and beans would be good. We barely got a chance to greet one another. Oddly enough, our sweating stopped when we walked inside. My daughter whined, “I’m so cold, Mama!” Jen and I commented that the air conditioning in Chipotle was no joke. She asked if I wanted to move outside to the patio. I decided this brood needed to stay put. The thought of moving high chairs outside sounded exhausting. Plus, I had to pee. I couldn’t move outside because of my bladder. Don’t ask me why.
I think the one thing you can always count on at Chipotle is a line. I groaned as I hurried behind other customers, leaving my chilly, sobbing, hungry children to watch their friends eat. Jen pacified them with chips as I waited behind some lady who clearly had never been to a Mexican grill chain restaurant before. She was astonished to learn they had no carnitas after she learned what carnitas was. Then she had to ask why they didn’t have any. The employee yelled over the blaring Top 40 music about fair trade, sustainable, free-range pigs or whatever. Who could hear? I had to repeat my order no less than twice to each employee because they couldn’t hear me.
“Black or pinto beans?” “No beans on the salad, thanks.” “BLACK BEANS?” “NO BEANS. THANKS!”
“Guac?” “No, pico please.” “MEDIUM SALSA?” “NO, PICO DE GALLO.”
You guessed it. I had to send the salad back down the line to get pico on it. Adam Levine singing “Sugar” drowned me out and she thought I meant “No pico.” At least the music somewhat drowned out my screaming children. That was before the clerk revealed they didn’t have enough fruit for two kids’ sides. He gave one of the kids chips and the other fruit. My God, man! Do you know what that would mean?! Please! Just give them both chips!!!
At this point they can see me at the register and I pay as fast as my debit card will swipe. I get to the table and frantically open organic milk cartons and restrap the little one as he escapes his high chair restraints. Over the music I hear, “THIS ISN’T CHOCOLATE MILK!!!” I scold this spoiled behavior and mumble something about treats and sugar intake. I dunno. I had to pee really bad. My daughter said, “What!? Mommy, I can’t hear you! It’s so loud here!” She was crying as I rushed off to the bathroom. Of course the women’s room was occupied. Dammit! Come on Chipotle! It was a one-seater. I went to the men’s room. I had to. I hate doing that. Why are men’s restrooms so skeevy?
I came out quickly and started inhaling my salad. I couldn’t be in Chipotle for that much longer. The girl child stopped crying and actually ate her quesadilla. Baby boy ate some beans before he and his buddy across the table started throwing rice like it was a wedding a century ago.
I looked down and the floor was covered. Rice, beans, tortilla, chips and even some of my pico covered the floor under our table. An employee came by, looked at the mess and brought over a broom. He looked miffed at our mess. I shrugged and shouted over the music, “IT’S A BURRITO LOADING ZONE!”