Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Dreaming of Guatemala
There's a dear man who works at the parking garage in an office building that Oliver and I frequent, and every week he calls Oliver handsome and smiles gently at me. He was gone for a few weeks, replaced by a surly young man who couldn't be bothered to ask whether I needed a receipt or not, much less a greeting, so this morning when we drove in to see our friend we were quite pleased. I asked him whether he'd been on vacation, and he said yes, that he'd been home to Guatemala for three weeks. I asked him why he came back, and he said that he'd lived and worked here for nearly forty years. He was going to work for three more and then retire there. He told us that it's beautiful in Guatemala and that while the country can be dangerous, it's also very relaxing. He said, though, that you can't earn a living there, that when you're young you need to get out and come north to earn some money. He said that here, in America, it's about work, work, work. We both sighed. When I pulled away, I felt a sort of stifled despair -- a yearning toward simplicity. Why are we living like this, here? Must we always be thankful, grateful for this supposed "high" standard of living? I know that I must be content -- or not must -- but somehow acknowledge and sit with where I am now, and the now being the place to be. Now.