Set out to mail a letter and when your feet want to take you to a Mexican restaurant, let them.
When the hostess tries to take you to a table, tell her you want to eat in the bar.
In the bar, order a a Margarita and a bowl of albondigas--never mind that you are a vegetarian and drink wine only on the weekends.
Admire the orbs of grease shining in your soup bowl. Look for constellations as you cut into the meatballs while praying that the animals providing this feast lived and died at the hand of kindness.
Notice the men at the table against the wall. The 80-something father, white eyebrows like awnings, his hands gripping the edges of the table as if the earth's turning on its axis might be power enough to spin him into the next world--while the son (your age) silently sips his coffee.
Listen to the conversation at the bar behind you. Young Guy With a Beer speaks to Older Woman:
"That's one big ass tortilla chip you've got there."
"Tostata or something like that," she says. He goes on to tell her without a trace of an accent that he's from Spain, and in Spain they eat soup out of bread bowls.
"You eat the soup and the bowl," he says as if it's the most exotic thing ever. She offers him a bite of the big ass chip and some guacamole, and he takes it while you nearly go insane with anticipation.
"Can I buy you a drink?" he asks.
"No, no, no," she says, but somehow its seems as though the door is still open. "I only ever have one."
"Are you sure?"
"What are you doing in the U.S.? she asks. "Are you working here?"
"I have a plumbing company" he says. "But my manager is handling things today."
Meanwhile, when the waiter comes to your table and offers you a second Margarita, order a Mexican coffee instead.
When he brings the coffee that smells more like tequila than coffee, ask what they have for dessert. Then ask him if he'd mind going through the list again. Give up pondering the three kinds of flan. Order the cheesecake.
When Older Woman gives Young Guy With a Beer the rest of her guacamole, and he takes it, imagine for minute telling her how kind she is when you run into her in the women's restroom later--which won't really happen.
Do your best not to turn around and stare when Young Guy tells Older Woman he's having lunch out as a tribute to his niece's birthday. "She has Trisomy 18," he says.
"Oh no," Older Woman says. "I'm sorry. How old is she?"
"Two," Young Guy says. "But she looks like she's a month old. My sister is beside herself."
Meanwhile a man sits down at the bar. He calls the bartender jefe. The bartender calls him jefe back and gives him a big glass of something.
Turn around just a little when Young Guy orders a shot of tequila. "The cheapest you have," he tells the bartender. Young Guy is clean cut and very tan. His ball cap sits next to him on the bar. He offers Older Woman a drink again. She's pretty. Red hair out of a bottle. Fifty or fifty-five.
"No, no, no," she says. "I only drink Chardonnay."
Tell yourself that you only drink on the weekends. That you're a vegetarian. That you're not afraid. That you're the jefe--at least of you. You are. You are. You are.
Pay your check and get the hell out of there. Walk home the long way, alternating looking up at the sky and walking with your eyes closed, counting the steps--working your way up to thirty. Thirty steps blind, always cheating with eyelids fluttering open when you try for thirty-one.