Going to town becomes less fun with every year that passes. Why, I ask myself, is the trip to town now a chore instead of a treat? I used to enjoy the drive, but the last few years have changed me, time, space, and all of creation. Nothing’s the same, but some things never change!
Driving an old pickup truck gives me some perspective on life. When it was new to me, I washed it daily and vacuumed its interior. I even used to park on the far side of the lot to avoid door bangers.
Not anymore. Now I wait for a good rain to wash my old truck. It’s shine has dulled and the floorboards have holes. The suspension struggles, the engine sputters, and the headlamp lenses are nearly opaque. It’s old, but I love it anyway. I, too, am old. I understand the struggle of an old pickup truck.
We made one more trip into town today. We made way for the newer, faster, and shinier models to pass and gawk. We took it easy. We took it slow and easy and enjoyed the drive as if it were our last. At our age, we worry less about the first time and enjoy everything more as if it will be our last time. Who knows, today may have been our last time?
I’m surrounded by young, vigorous people focused on doing everything the first time and getting more. I remember the struggle. But now, as I go down the other side of the mountain, I’m dumping things and remembering the last time.
I try to be invisible, and most of the time I am. I’m not a threat, I don’t compete, and I try not to challenge others in a way that makes them uncomfortable beyond their limits. But today I became visible – if only for a moment.
The Post Office
Older, slower, and deafer, but not yet blind, I saw an incident developing between an agitated patron and the postal clerk. I waited in line and watched the exchange escalate to a boiling point. Everyone became uncomfortable, a few left, others scowled, and some took cover. It looked like rodeo time!
My bull riding days are over, but I tried my hand as a rodeo clown today. As the clerk tried to dominate the agitated man, I imagined a bull rider at the mercy of an angry bull. I became their rodeo clown, if only for a moment.
I drew the bull’s attention as the rider recovered. He saw me. He charged. I sidestepped and smiled. He tired, and we talked. I neither feared him nor challenged him. He just needed a hug. I just needed to feel useful.
I was exhausted after the drive and the rodeo. Coffee may have put me over the edge but tea softened my edge. I had mangostino tea in San Francisco. You know, don’t you, we have a San Francisco in Panama?
I became invisible again and thanked my God for one more day. I thanked Him for allowing me to participate and to be useful, if only for a moment.
My mangostino tea at Paraíso Café was what I needed to stop, think, relax, and regroup before getting back into my old truck to make the trip home again.
I like the city, I love the people, but I prefer the country. It felt good to serve people, if only for a moment, even as their rodeo clown.