Friday, September 3, 2010

El Trailero

Meet Omar. Even though you have just met him, you would think that you have known him for years, based on his overwhelmingly. Need a ride? He’ll pick you up curbside in his 18 wheeler complete with a trashcan top for his steering wheel or his gigantic stag that he refers as “chelito” because of his brillo. However, to even the trained eye, you will not be able to physically go anywhere with him other than by foot, because all of his modes of transport are for the sole purpose of pleasing the multitudes of personalities. But he sure is the nicest motorista I have ever met.

So people must be thinking? Are you honestly talking about a bicho? Are you just making fun of some bolo? Quite the contrary, Omar is an eighteen year old resident of my community and is probably the happiest person that I have ever encountered. He is most definitely more content than all of us strive to be in our daily lives. BUT, and here comes a big BUT, even though he has never been diagnosed, he has a condition. Whether it is autism, a strain of Down syndrome or one of those other conditions, no one will ever know. I am not exactly sure that accurate testing for those conditions exists here, but even if they did, people would still just say that he is “sick in the head.” No one refers to anything in the campo by its technical term as many PCV’s would undoubtedly know. Like diabetes, or as we know it in the campo, el azucar en el sangre. I am still surprised almost every day when I see how happy he is whilst briskly pacing the makeshift roads in Las Posas without a care in the world. I have seen him upset and that’s never pretty, but the good thing is that it only lasts for about ten minutes. And even then, he just grabs his trashcan top and peels out of the driveway. I don’t even know if he has the capacity to hold a grudge, which I suppose can be really uplifting.

For the most part, the community responds really well to a kid riding up and down the main road on what he assumes to be one monster truck. I think he might even be a better parallel parker than me. His family does their best to understand, accept and accommodate him, but eventually everyone tires. There are also times when he escapes from the confines of his family’s home, away from Mom and tries to fraternize with the bolos. That never ends well, but then again what good comes from the certified bolo? The closest friendship I have had with a bolo for me would be when he ran out of beer money and tried to get me to buy his bike for 13 big ones. I would have bought it too, but by the time I got back to the bolo hangout, he was passed out cold. Too bad too, I really could have used a set of wheels. For me, Omar just doesn’t get me around fast enough, no matter how fast he gallops.
Even though he might be handicapped in his mind, he makes up for with his spirit. In life when you encounter these people who love life just to love living; it makes one wonder about all the larger-than-life battles that we fight daily within ourselves. As PCV’s, living in rural El Salvador, I think we can all take a tip from Omar. That being, stop taking ourselves so damn seriously, myself included. As Omar always asks me, are you enjoying the ride? Even though he might be referring to his imagined 18 wheeler, it definitely brightens my day.

Then there is the update from the Alcaldia. Apparently he has been fired from his motorista position, so he has turned to his second passion; he’s a cowboy now. That would explain his long rides throughout the community galloping with a broomstick without the broom. Here I am worrying about what the community thinks of me and trying to get projects started and here all El Trailero is worried about is getting to the next destination.