Sundays With Mo Part Two – Church, Chipotle and the Gas Station Homies
The Church Service Seating Assignments
There’s a set seating chart during church, well at least for Mo there is. I tend to float around a little bit until I end up sitting down next to someone I know. Mo sits in the same place every Sunday and it’s pretty much become his spot. It’s near the back of the church at the end of the very last row of pews.
This specific location has become his regular seat for two main reasons: 1. because there’s an outlet right there and 2. it’s near the back door in case he needs to cool off and go for a walk (or a smoke). Mo needs to sit next to an outlet so he can plug in and charge the ankle monitor he’s been wearing the past four years he’s been or parole. This might sound funny but I’m totally used to finding an outlet for him no matter where we go (on the train, at my apartment, at Bible study, etc.).
Socializing and Finding Food
After the service is over that’s when the real socializing begins. At this point Mo’s been going to church with me for over six months so there’s not very many people who don’t know how he is. All different types of people like chatting with Mo and they all seem really interested in his story.
At this point Mo usually somehow sneaks into one of the classes/meetings that are going on between services and grabs some food. It doesn’t matter what they have, he’s more than happy to take it off their hands. I’ve seen everything from sandwiches to pies to doughnuts and fruit — if there’s something they’re willing to give up, Mo will eat it.
Mo’s Five Pound Burrito Bowl
Usually after 30-45 minutes we leave the church, which means the next stop is lunch. More times than not we head straight for a nearby Chipotle that’s seemed to become our food of choice. I always order first because Mo likes to take his time and really push the employees to turn his order into a masterpiece. My order is a fairly traditional burrito bowl that for me is a pretty good-sized meal. Mo on the other hand turns the traditional burrito bowl into what feels like a five pound bowl of Mexican awesomeness.
I can almost hear him asking those poor Chipotle employees a million things as I’m sitting here writing this.
“Can you add a little more steak on there for me please?”
“You’ve got to put the lettuce on there before the sour cream.”
“Put some more beans on there, would ya?”
“I need some more lettuce on there…can I get some more lettuce?”
“You need to drizzle the sour cream, drizzle it on there like this…” (as he makes hand motions to show them what he means)
When he would first ask all of these questions I would feel awkward and didn’t really know how to handle it. But now that we’ve gone there so many times and I know it’s just how Mo operates I actually enjoy seeing him in action. I can say all I want about it but the fact is even though it takes him longer than me to get through the line his burrito bowl weighs at least twice as much as mine does. Do your thing, Mo. Do your thing.
There’s just something about eating together with someone that brings out the best conversations. It’s like the food that you’re enjoying created the perfect opportunity to have great conversations. I can’t tell you how many times Mo and I have had some really candid chats over our Chipotle burrito bowls. Not all of them end well (Mo’s walked off multiple times) but they’ve all been a part of getting to know, trust and understand each other. I guess you could say that burrito bowls and some chips and guac have been the great equalizer for me and Mo and I’m grateful for every lunch we’ve eaten there together.
Our Homies at the Gas Station
Once we’re all good and stuffed with every Mexican ingredient Chipotle has to offer we wander back to my car, take a deep breath and start making our way to the last stop before heading to San Francisco. Even though a gas station doesn’t really seem like something you’d look forward to our last stop is always a fun way to end the Sunday long morning.
When I pull in and start pumping the gas Mo gets out and starts washing all of the windows. I never really ever told him to do this but it’s quickly become part of the routine. One time him and another one of his buddies Stewart were washing the windows on my car and an older woman who saw what they were doing walked over to ask them a question.
“Hey, can you guys wash my windows, too?”, she asked while most likely thinking that they were just a couple of guys trying to make a quick buck. Both Mo and Stewart gave the woman a funny look for a second and then quickly went over to her car and started washing her windows, too. This really gave me a good laugh, especially when the she gave them two dollars out of her purse once they were done.
The most important stop at the gas station is when we head into the convenience store and hang out with the two guys who work there. One of who has become one of my Twitter homies. His name’s Fernando, he’s going to college for design and he loves Pugs. We roll in there and I grab my Mountain Dew, Mo grabs anything he can get his hands on (ice cream, hot dogs, slurpy, candy, you name it). Even though Mo just ate 4-5 pounds of Chipotle he still somehow eats more things that I buy for him at the gas station. It’s kind of amazing how much that guy can eat.
Back Up To San Francisco For Dinner and Football
We say our good-byes, hit the road and head back up to San Francisco. On the way back we’ll jam to the R&B station until Mo falls asleep, which is usually around 2-3 minutes. After that I cruise up the rest of the way until we get back the beautiful city of San Francisco.
After we get back we’ll stop by the grocery store so Mo can get all of the food he needs to whip us up some dinner. Slowly but surely he’s building a good foundation of ingredients at my place so that he can cook some of the things he wants. For example, two things that Mo says I should always have in my kitchen are a bag of potatoes and Lawry’s seasoned salt. I guess I can’t really argue with that.
While he’s making the dinner we’ll throw some NFL games on the TV (which he loves to watch) and our laundry in the washer. Once all of that’s going I’ll usually take off to go get some work done and let Mo do his thing. When I come back I can usually smell what Mo’s cooking all the way down the hallway in my apartment building and I’m never disappointed in what he’s whipped up for us. I know I’ve said this before but he’s got some serious skills when it comes to cooking.
The final thing is eating dinner together, which we both always enjoy. Fried chicken, meatloaf, greens, hammocks, sausages, hamburgers, corn, mashed potatoes and chicken livers are just a few of the things that Mo’s cooked for us over the past few months and there’s never been a meal I didn’t love. “Man, you can really eat, Ryan!”, he’ll say to me whenever I go up for seconds. For some reason he doesn’t think that I like to eat. “Any time you cook I like to eat, Mo.”, I tell him. He usually just smiles and keeps on eating.
I love my Sundays with Mo.