Killing time while the front tire is replaced
There is something so magical about witnessing the moment when a young man’s father passes over the reins of the family trade to him. The moment when a young man totters on the brink between boyhood and manhood and his father decides to push him over the edge with his trust and guidance.
CA-CHUNK!!!!! All of the bus rider’s necks snap up from their lolling open-mouthed slumber in unison as the bus scrapes the side of the road, unmistakeable damaging the rim.
Except when that trade is bus driving. Specifically a bus that I am currently riding, and even more specifically on the sketchiest road in Colombia far away from any kind of civilization, mush less mechanics.
About halfway through the unpaved, rocky, muddy, wet, narrow, rainy, twisty road between Popayan and San Agustin- a road that is only about 130 kilometers, but takes 6-7 hours to traverse, the bus driver decided that it would be a good time to let his 13 year old chubby son learn the family business. Almost everyone on the bus had been lulled to sleep by the violent jerking of a bus over rocks, but I had somehow managed to avoid this, and from my front seat spot had a perfect view of the driver’s seat switcharoo.
After waking up the rest of the bus with the bone jarring ricochet off the side of the road the boy seemed to become even more nervous. After his father had to jerk the wheel to the right to avoid colliding with a semi tuck going in the opposite direction, so did I. Luckily, Papa soon decided the give the wheel to his other other son. Who was about 15 and much more experienced. Once my life was again in the capable hands of someone who could grow a mustache (even if it was one of those soft “pre-mustache” mustaches) I allowed my mouth to slacken as I too joined the sleeping masses. I drifted off to sleep, enviously eying the man who got to stretch out, with a burlap sack full of potatoes for an ottoman, and his flip-flop for a pillow.
“I shoulda brought a flip-flop!” was my last conscious thought as I entered oblivion.