There are few details of my trip to Mexico that are worth speaking of, and even fewer still that are worth writing about. On my first weekend I wandered around and took some photographs of the area surrounding the hotel. During the week I got into a nasty habit of work, eat, sleep; however there was one slight peculiarity that really got my heart going. Or rather my stomach…

Day 9. Realization

I hastily carried my tray back to the table. I had become quite used to not really knowing what I was eating, and just nodding and pointing through the steamy glass to pick out my meals in the cafeteria. There were plenty of people in line and I didn’t want to anger anybody with my ignorance to Spanish cafeteria culture. Today was my first Monday in what I soon realized was a weekly lunch schedule, and Mondays were always a Cordon Bleu entree. As I sat down and greeted my fellow employees I couldn’t help but think about work. Today I didn’t have the pleasure of listening intently to decipher whose butt the guys were staring at or what kind of car they wanted to race; no my mind was stuck in code. As I took the first bite of my Chicken Cordon Bleu I was delighted by the creamy cheesiness of whatever had been stuffed inside of the breast. The breading on the outside of the chicken was just light enough that it didn’t make the dish taste greasy, but rather perfectly complimented the creamy innards. As I thought about context-sensitive ignore cases for the baseboard management controller’s system event log I took a sip of my orange flavored pop. The cool, citrus refreshment calmed the warm and gooey feeling in my tummy and was very satisfying. I went back to cutting pieces out of my piece of chicken when my stomach lurched and I suddenly was overcome by a feeling of great horror and acute sadness.

There were only two bites of my chicken left. I had been so lost in thought that I hadn’t even noticed how quickly I had been eating. In fact, I might have even been inhaling; as it’s hard to say otherwise. My mouth was agape and my stomach was doing somersaults as I stared at the bright pink center of my chicken breast. It was so uncooked that I thought I could still see the intact tendons of the once living bird. I had been eating not just undercooked chicken but raw, fresh from the freezer chicken that had probably been battered and flash fried by a careless kitchen employee. I was frozen in disbelief. I was going to die; alone and scared in Mexico. From eating raw chicken, no less. What a lame way to go.

It may have been ten minutes before my brain kicked in. I ate my grape jello and wondered how quickly salmonella would destroy my very being. I wondered if I could stick it out until the end of my work day or if I’d have to leave early and curl up on the side of the highway like a deer struck by a tractor-trailer. As I took one last slurp of delicious jello I took a closer look at my chicken dish and thought I saw something familar. A piece of the raw chicken had flaked away and revealed itself to be in a perfect square shape. That was odd; how could that happen? I used my fork with a surgeon’s precision to dissect the chicken only to realize my folly; Chicken Cordon Bleu has ham mixed into the cheesy, creamy stuffing. My chicken wasn’t undercooked I was just stupid.

Phew. No death on this day.

After this revelation I was free to finish the delicious chicken, that had only seconds before caused me to nearly have a panic attack and run out of the cafeteria screaming like a mad man. It was very yummy in my tummy. As we all finished eating and took our lunch-time walk across the parking lot, my colleagues kept asking me if I was home sick. I guess I hadn’t really been paying attention and my mind was still running cycles and visualizing recovery code execution paths. Homesick? Yes, I guess a little bit. But mostly just lost in thought. When we returned from lunch, I got to work on saving the world with my fingers. I pounded away on my laptop’s tiny, cramped keyboard and didn’t stop until my problems had been vanquished. At 5:30 Central time they shut the Air Conditioning off. Then at 7:00 they shut the lights off. Thankfully I had just fixed the problem, and the world would survive to see another day. Feeling pretty good about myself, I made my way to the receptionist’s desk and asked her, “¿Puede llamarme un taxi?”, which she complied.

We were going home. We? Yes we. As in the royal we. Don’t worry; the Dude Abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals. I guess that’s the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin’ itself. In case you haven’t guessed it by the nonsense at the beginning of this paragraph, The Big Lebowski was on Golden when I arrived home. So I called up room service, ordered some salad (I know, I know… bad idea) and enjoyed one of the finest films of all time.

Despite everything, this was a good day.

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