Good day, dear strangers.

Sometimes bad service doesn't stop me from frequenting a business. Like, when I'm too lazy to change cell phone providers. Or when, like, the food is really really good. I'm sure that I'm not alone in this.

I've been thinking about this topic for a few years--ever since my Uncle Will guided my sister and me to a place we now refer to as "Shigella's."

My mom and her siblings grew up in southern California, basically right on the border of Mexico in a farming town called Brawley. Brawley is in the middle of the hottest desert known to man. People who grew up there should automatically be awarded the Nobel Peace Price and an honorary doctorate from the school of their choice.

Because of its close proximity to the land of tortillas, a venture to Brawley is inevitably accompanied by a trip to Mexico.

On a side note, my sister Krisanda convinced me when I was a child that I was half Mexican. I believed this, and told others, until I was 15 years old.

Yes. 15.

This lie defied all logic as I was (and am) a pale, Irish-looking boy with absolutely no indicators whatsoever that I could have any Mexican blood in me at all.

This was the same sister who also told me about The First Eye. And that we had an older sister named Christina who was killed in a car accident and haunted the basement. Because of this sister, I now doubt the vast majority of everything I learned as a child.

Thanks, Krisanda.

A few years ago, my oldest sister Krishelle, my uncle Will, and I went to a town we all love called San Felipe, just a couple of hours south of the border. When we got there, Will pulled up to a restaurant, climbed out of the car, and ordered us three plates of something sticky and wet.

It tasted like food that had already been digested by someone else. And then left out in the refrigerator uncovered.

Krishelle and I both commented on how terrible it was. And that's when Will said something that I'll spend the rest of my life trying to understand.

Hmmm . . . Well, this is the place that gave me Shigella a couple of years ago.

We stared at him. In shock.


We already knew what it was because we remembered the epic tale of projectile vomiting into a mirror, pants-crapping continuously for 72 hours, and a near-death rush to the emergency room.

How do you get Shigella? By consuming food that has human feces in it.

Krishelle spoke first.

WHY would you go back to a place that has literally served you human crap to eat?!!

Will shrugged his shoulders and did that thing where you don't actually say the words "I don't know" but just make the voice inflection really quickly to indicate that that's what you would say if you cared enough to enunciate. Then he took another large bite of the Mexican Swamp that covered his plate.

I have since tried to imagine what kind of review he would give someone else who asked whether he would recommend Shigella's.

Oh that place? It's ok. The food is terrible and they once served me poop when I ordered the tacos . . . But I'd go back.

The thing that brought the Shigella's memory up for me recently is our much less disgusting battle with a small restaurant in Palau: Drop Off.

Here's the problem, guys: the food is super good. And yet, one has to go to battle to get any of it. Typically when my friends and I go to Drop Off together, there is about a 45 to 60 minute difference between the first person and the last person getting what they ordered, assuming they get what they ordered in the first place.

Last week three of us ordered what was essentially just a pile of raw fish. After over an hour went by without seeing anyone who was "working" that night, we finally went searching for our food. At the kitchen door we found someone and asked how much longer it would be.

They stared at us like they had never seen us before and asked us what we had ordered.

Guys, it's raw fish. When someone orders raw fish, you just walk to the kitchen, scoop some of it onto a plate, and walk it back out to the table.

But there is some serious confusion regarding the raw fish at Drop Off. Every single time I order it, I have the following conversation with the same man, who stares at me like I'm the world's biggest idiot throughout the conversation:

Can I have the Red Snapper, please?

Red Snapper?

Yes, Red Snapper.

Red Snapper is Sebus fish.


So what do you want? Tuna?

I'll have the Red Snapper.

That's Sebus.

Ok. I'll have the Sebus then.

Sebus is Red Snapper.

Fine. That's what I want. The Sebus/Red Snapper.

[5 seconds of staring blankly]

So what do you want?

Seriously?! Fine! I'll have the damn tuna!

I'm truly not kidding that this conversation occurs every. single. time. Initially I thought that the problem may have just been a result of my lack of familiarity with types of fish. Like, maybe Red Snapper was actually a type of sail-boat or something. And Sebus is the word for sail-boat. But you guys, I studied this.  I even have a poster in my office that shows pictures of the different kinds of "fishes" to eat in Palau.

I'm confused about a lot of things. Like, why people purchase cats as pets, for example. But I'm not confused about this. Red Snapper is a fish. And it is on the menu at Drop Off.

The only reason I can think of that this man would make me have this conversation with him so many times is because of hate. I don't know who or what he hates or why he hates it. But hate is the only thing that could possibly cause somebody to be this frustrating.

It's too bad I have to go back so many times.

~It Just Gets Stranger