From Fallen Flowers the Taco Truck Rises

The Taco Truck is a daily fixture, typically gathering a constant line of customers nearly all day long, at the corner of Meade and Texas in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. But after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order on March 19, 2020, the food service operation vanished—for more than three weeks. I wondered why given that eateries offering delivery or take-out were permitted to stay open. What’s not take-away about a food truck serving burritos and tacos?

A few days before April 12, when I shot the Featured Image, the Mexican meals-on-wheels reappeared, but without standing tables alongside for customers and with a whiteboard upon which was scribbled a phone number to place orders to be picked up at the window. I suppose selling something is better than nothing, despite the stolen ambience and charm that made the place popular plus—that is festive and social, and, of course, good eating.

As an emerging teen wanting escape from chilling, claustrophobic winters in Northern Maine, I would jealously look on as my sisters watched the “Partridge Family” on television and eldest Keith headed off to the taco stand. Sunny California. Bumble gum music. Singing family. And, most importantly, the exotic and readily available (where he was) meat, cheese, and lettuce-filled tortilla delight. I wanted that life. So there’s a part of my Yankee mind that gets why SoCal locals gather to gab and to grab good food and fun in the liquor store parking lot.

The Taco Truck is back where it belongs. The crowds are gone, but that’s in part (presumably) because customers are practicing good “social distancing“. What shouldn’t be is what returns tomorrow. About 2 kilometers from that Texas Street corner, and 10-minute brisk walk, the Hillcrest Farmers Market resumes. I can’t imagine how that place won’t be a SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19—hot zone. The open-air, street faire typically attracts thousands of people—body to body and touchy-feely with the goods.

Somebody spent too much time at the (cough, cough, you stink) pot dispensary before formulating the 50-shopper limit meant to maintain safe social distancing practice. One super-spreader without a mask (and maybe with one) is enough to infect a good number of the fifty within the perimeter or the hundreds (if not thousands) waiting in line to spend their hard-earned Stimulus checks on organic grub, whether fresh or packaged. Given that Novel Coronavirus typically spreads in clusters, the Hillcrest Farmers Market could quite literally be a clusterfuck.

Circling back to where we started, I took the photo of the Taco Truck primarily because of the fallen branch on the sidewalk. Perhaps the previous day’s stormy weather was too much for the tree. Inclement-threatening, I left behind my camera for my Easter Morning walk. I captured the moment using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/765 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 10:06 a.m. PDT.

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