Hello, emptiness, I think I’m gonna cry.

Today, when I got sick of wracking my brain for something—anything—intelligent to say about romantic literary theory, I allotted myself five minutes for a little breather. I decided to spend it in pursuit of my very favourite pastime: scouring the internet for real estate in Mesa, Arizona.

Just in case I ever fall into riches, I need to be prepared to pounce on a sweet deal for a house down there (and let’s face it, there’s no house for sale that ISN’T a sweet deal in Mesa right now {honk if you love a good recession}).

I opened up Craigslist, typed in my preferred zip code (my fingers know that five-digit magic number by heart) and waited for the exhilaration to kick in—the exhilaration that always overtakes me when I’m living out my imaginary perfect life.

I pored over images of phat crown moulding in super-quaint houses in the historic district. I smiled at the curb appeal of houses in the quainter parts of town. My mouth was watering at the invariable lack of snow in every single front yard…

…until I stumbled upon a suspiciously familiar image, and in an instant my fun was over:

That, my friends, is Taco Bell™.

Or at least, it was Taco Bell™, back when I was a whippersnapper (whatever the heck a whippersnapper is). Those readers living in less-progressive cities who haven’t yet had their Taco Bells™ updated from the ’90s will recognize those telltale arches from a mile away.

A few years ago, this particular Taco Bell™ closed down shop and moved into a brand new building they constructed in place of—what was it, I forget—a gas station?

The new Taco Bell™ was less than a block away from the old Taco Bell™, and when work was complete on the edifice, it stood in all its newly-built brightly-hued glory, plainly mocking its not-so-distant past.

“Ha,” said the new Taco Bell™ to the old, “take that.”

After its cruel abandonment, the old Taco Bell™ struggled.

Limping along, it became home to one suspicious-looking Mexican food dive after another, never holding its new tenants for more than a couple of months. Super Burrito™, I confess, was decent—their green sauce was better than Filiberto’s, and they served it generously—but they never did get many customers. I tried to keep the place afloat with my weekly carne asada burrito purchases,  but when I moved to Canada in 2007, and took my patronage with me, Super Burrito™ crumbled.

The building was cursed. If Taco Bell™ didn’t want it, nobody wanted it.

It was cursed, and I know exactly why: none of the new tenants could take the place—none of them could fill it out with any measure of dignity—because none of them were Taco Bell™.

None of them were the Taco Bell™ where my mom stopped—if it was a lucky morning—with me and my sister for breakfast burritos on our way to school circa grades one through six. None of them were the Taco Bell™ where together we three mourned the day they stopped making their excellent Picante Sauce. None of them were the Taco Bell™ where I learned to love the sixty-cent sides of nacho cheese chips and pintos ‘n cheese.

None of them were Taco Bell™; therefore, none of them would do.

You’re a kid, you feel secure, you think these places will always be around when you need them to be; but then you grow up and they’re not and it doesn’t even matter anymore because you’ve moved out of the dadgum country to a place where Taco Bells™ don’t even exist or if they do they fulfill only a shadow of their true purpose and they have made horrible adulterations to their menus like french fries supreme.

I never thought I’d live to see Taco Bell™ up for sale on Craigslist.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in change, I hate change, looking back, sad things, the great state of AZ, The Original Archives, this little girl, woe is me. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Hello, emptiness, I think I’m gonna cry.

  1. anna says:

    I haven’t eaten at Taco Bell forever. After reading this, I want to eat there this weekend and Filiberto’s.

  2. the MIL says:

    Well we ate at buca di beppo’s …does that cheer ya up?

  3. April says:

    Camille, I have been reading your blog for a while now, but had to comment on this one. I loved that Taco Bell!!! Haha, so simple, but so many memories!! Great blog by the way!

  4. Maureen says:

    We have a place like that here, but I have no idea what it was originally since I haven’t been here that long. I did have one experience with it, which would make a pretty amazing Saturday Steals post, actually. If I ever got around to taking some pictures.

  5. niki says:

    i know, right?! i’ve seen that place change three times since it was taco bell. sad song.

    i want to buy it and turn it into a pizza shop.

  6. DeAnna says:

    I remember when “the place” a.k.a. Pier 49 Pizza closed down. It was surreal, remembering all those Saturday nights spent there with friends. So many memories, but then they went & turned into a store.

    Good post!

    FYI Whippersnapper: A young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident.

  7. Whitney says:

    Its a sad sad day. Are they really selling the place for $2500? My dad has always wanted to open a candy, soda shop.

  8. Granmama says:

    Let’s buy it. Then you and Kyle could remodel it and make it inot an antique curio. I send my love.
    Granmama

  9. I think you obviously need to buy that taco bell. Then have the most interesting home of anyone you know!

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