Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order?

Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order?



Just days after RM and I were hitched for life, we moved to the City of Angeles so that he could embark on his early career as an aerospace design engineer in beautiful Burbank. The first month, we searched for a suitable place to live.  The one major requirement made by RM was space for a woodworking shop to accommodate his budding interest in furniture making.  This desire was fueled by his recent purchase of a Shopsmith Mark 5 multipurpose tool.  Fond of your Swiss Army Knife and its potential uses?  Then the Mark 5 is a tool for you.  It is a sander, a drill press, a router, a lathe, a table saw and more — all in one Inspector Gadget inspired machine.  But it needs ample space to operate.

I had envisioned an apartment or condo in a complex with a nice pool surrounded by palm trees but instead we made one of the many compromises over the years in our marriage, and signed a lease to a small apartment near Los Feliz Boulevard in Glendale next to Griffith Park and just a hop and skip over to Hollywood.  I liked the location, he got a shop.

Our apartment was located over a garage in the back of a residential home occupied by another renter. The place was well-maintained, clean, in a low to middle class neighborhood, and had a back lot for a small garden which included a lovely lemon tree. RM voted for this living arrangement because he had the rights to the garage below the apartment for his wood shop. Of course, our cars parked outside in the elements as they continue to do so to this day due to his hobby, along with his propensity for collecting parts and raw materials.  I am not complaining as our home is filled with his lovely work but just stating facts to emphasize his need for space.

When we signed the lease, we didn’t realize the proximity to a very busy Taco Bell that was located just on the other side of the cement wall.  We also didn’t realize how thin the walls were in this apartment.  Not only did I get to hear the sounds of a busy woodworking shop below –  that Mark 5 could put out some white noise – but the fatal malady to our happy first home was the amplified voices of the fast food orders coming through the speaker at the Taco Bell discussing options like Nachos Bell Grande or “do you want a drink with that?” at all hours of the day and night.  I have to give the staff at the Bell credit, they were consistent with their greeting of “Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order?” or “Would you like hot, medium or mild sauce with that?”  The sounds of the orders and multiple options over and over again was akin to the annoyance one gets with lots of repetitive noise like a person chewing loudly, a workmate snapping gum, water dripping in your sink or the constant clearing of a loved ones throat.

We both developed the condition which I later learned is called misophonia or literally, hatred of sound.  Not much research had been done on this sickness but the sound of fast food ordering through the loud-speaker even to this day triggers the condition and continues to bug us both. When we hear the echoing voice through the speaker, it triggers anxiety, our heart rate goes up, we might sweat a little and then our usual tendency is to just get away from the noise as quickly as possible.

Today, we avoid ordering through the drive-thru and instead opt to park and go in. We never eat at Taco Bell. It is the amplified voice that still sends us both up the wall even thirty or more years later.  So my advise to you all is to be sure you sleep one night in any place you pick to rent or buy before signing a contract, so that you avoid a morning greeting of “Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order?”




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