Although I will deny it if I ever become famous, I was really awkward at my first job. I could do the work fine, but in an environment rich with extremely talented writers, editors, and artists, I struggled to adjust, unsure of my own abilities and grossly intimidated by contemporaries who seemed so much more capable than I with the nuances of early-20s social graces (you know, important stuff like buying a round of beers and being well versed in the canon of early-90s indie rock).
However, lunchtime was my time to relax a little, maybe take a walk around the neighborhood and pick up a bite to eat nearby. I remember my first trip to El Pelon. I found a simple bliss, alone with a chicken burrito and a magazine. I may have been the weird, quiet girl at work, but with a fountain root beer and a side of pickled cabbage, I was at ease.
El Pelon burned down last night, along with several other establishments I knew well. No one was hurt, and there are many stories much more dire in the headlines, but in the years since that first lunch, I’ve had many more memorable meals there, alone and with friends. Adios, El Pelon.