Get ready Yale, your Wednesday routine is about to get TWISTED. Yes, Yalies, Taco Bell Cantina has come to New Haven. Sure, it’s been posted all over Facebook’s virtual “walls” and “feeds,” but fuck, what’s a virtual feed to a good old-fashioned mouthful of soft tacos FEED? Wake up and smell the monoflavorful Mexican fast food, sheeple! Virtually relishing in Taco Bell’s hype is no substitute for popping your drunk-in-a-chain-Cantina cherry. You can take it from me.

Or you can take it from Andre, a young Kentucky transplant: “I’m from Kentucky,” he tells me, “where I used to eat Taco Bell a lot.” Like many Yale students, it’s hard for Andre in a new and unfamiliar environment. He reflects on the comforting effects of the chain’s local debut: “I think this is the best thing that has happened to New Haven.” He continues: “Probably, this will bring more to the economy than Yale University.” And there you have it, the cold hard facts one can always trust from the mouth of a psychology student.

But in all seriousness, Andre-from-Kentucky has got a point: Open the door to Taco Bell and it will open doors for you. Sure, nine times out of 10 it’s your downstairs back door, but that’s a shitty counter-argument. From their modern flash-print gold leaf wall decor to their five levels of affable hot sauce, the place keeps on giving. I’d dare say it’s contagious, that TB. It gets inside you.

For all you health freaks looking to get your stomachs roiled on kombucha: I paid $5 for a Chalupa Supreme, Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, Crunchy Taco, pack of Cinnamon Twists and a Diet Coke. I’d be concerned if you could find a person flushed out better than that experience did me. Ditch the kombucha, eat the Chalupa. Do you really know what’s in either one anyway? Tomato, to-mah-to. Kombucha, Chalupa.

But Taco Bell doesn’t just provide for those gutilly inclined, but also for those of us “gut courses”-inclined. For instance, with your free time, you can get sloshed at Taco Bell through the comfortable palette of nearly any artificial American flavor: Mountain Blast, Blue Raspberry, Caramel Apple, all sorts of vague phrases you wouldn’t expect to find in a cup! And isn’t that the beauty of the Bell? She rings liberty.

Here I am, innocently intending research on the Cantina’s beverage selection and ID processing methods when BAM, before I know it, the cashier turns tequila-pourer and as far as I’m concerned, it’s no longer early afternoon. The bartender hands me my clear plastic cup and tells me to hold it gently. The liquor is spilling off the top and I’m giggling, but I can’t help it. I’m overwhelmed with joyous perplexion: How can a bartender exist in a Taco Bell? And, circling around the joint’s grayscale and burnt-umber decor: Can a fast-food chain get gentrified? Then: What’s too much money to spend on one Taco Bell visit? More importantly: Will the News reimburse my reporting costs? And, most importantly: Can I just get my Blue Raspberry blast on the side?

All I’m saying is, the next time your suitemate asks if you’ll be at Woads on Wednesday, scoff. Make them feel small. Unfriend them on Facebook. Stop supporting their messages in your group chat. Soft smile instead of laughing at their jokes. There’s no time for Woads or Woads-goers when you’ll be plenty busy with your TWISTED Mountain Blast freeze, cozied in the Cantina’s cafe seating way before 10:30 penny drinks. Why wait until NIGHT to float down that toddy river when you could slurp your sorry sucks at 11:58 a.m. and keep on going till your worries are just a sleek mahogany Bell in the distance. Gather your three closest (read: nearest) friends and follow that beacon to Bethlehem. The Bell tolls and together, we come.

This piece was not sponsored by Taco Bell Cantina.

 

Julia Leathamjulia.leatham@yale.edu .