|Don't let the dimples fool you: this is one crafty kid.|
Once, as a child, I asked for a computer game for my birthday. As the days crawled ever closer to August 28th, I could not stand the anticipation and decided to go snooping one day when my parents were out. After digging around in their closet, I found a rectangular gift, neatly wrapped up in birthday-themed wrapping paper—it had to be the game.
Unable to resist temptation, I took action.
Cue Mission Impossible music.
Surgically peeling off the tape on one side, I carefully removed the game box from the wrapping paper. Next, I opened the box, took out the game disk, and went downstairs to install it on my computer. My heart began pounding when I heard a car pull up to the curb. Creeping to the window, I peered through the curtains and saw that my mom’s minivan had just arrived.
I was out of time.
|Avoiding mom's detection.|
Running back to my computer, I swept up all of the evidence and brought it into my parent’s room. I replaced the game disk with a random CD, put the case back inside the box and slipped it back inside the wrapping paper, resealing the gift with the same tape.
Hurrying back downstairs, I sat down at my computer just as my mom stepped through the door.
“What are you playing?” she asked, walking in with some groceries.
I kept my cool and responded as ambiguously as possible, “A game.”
To her, all my games looked the same and she accepted my answer, unaware of what a nefarious little shit her son was.
But all these years later, after living in Bogotá for eleven months, I have become a master in the art of waiting.
I heard somewhere that Bogotanos spend more than half their lives waiting for and on public transportation. Given Colombia’s penchant for inefficiency and Bogotá’s sheer enormity, I believe it.
Looking back over this year, I have probably spent a good chunk of my time waiting—for the bus, on the bus, and in line to buy bus passes. And that’s just TransMilenio. I have also spent a ridiculous amount of time waiting for the colectivos that take me to and from school.
|TransMilenio at rush hour.|
In being forced to wait for, well, everything, many gringos can go crazy.
But I’ve found a way to compensate.
Crammed amongst a sea of sweaty people in a TransMilenio bus at rush hour, I search for my happy place like in Happy Gilmore. Entering a state of quasi-consciousness, I think simultaneously about everything and nothing. In this state, it does not bother me that a tiny 85-year old woman has her face awkwardly smashed against my stomach; that a fat, hairy man’s B.O.-sodden armpit is shoved in my nose; or that I know this will be my lot in life for the next 30-40 minutes.
Learning how to wait is one of the greatest gifts Colombia has given me.
But you should probably still make sure that my other gifts remain well-hidden.