This morning we missed the 9am bus as we headed to San Isidro for Discipulas. It sucks to miss the 9 o’clock bus because instead of stopping in the center of town the 9:15 bus goes a different route which drops us about 6 blocks down-hill from the taxi stand. This was a guarantee that we would arrive late and we would arrive sweaty. Our Monday morning bible study starts at 9:30 and we didn’t step off the bus until about 9:36, so we were kinda in a hurry to up the hill and get a taxi. There was coffee and sweet bread up there. Needless to say, we were ready to haul ass as soon as we stepped off the bus.
Then we met “Coka”. He hopped off right before us, carrying his usual two backpacks. Neither Lindsey nor I had ever talked with him before, but we had both seen him regularly on the bus. He has a lame tribal arm band, likes to sit one seat back from the door, and like I said, is always with those two full backpacks. He has a douchey vibe, but as I had never even heard him speak until today, I had come to no such conclusion about his character. As it turns out, a vibe can be a very reliable thing…
So Linds and I jumped off the bus ready to conquer the hill at break neck speed and claim our slow drip cream and sugar caffeine infused pots of gold. But this guy, he saw us just behind him so he slowed down to make conversation. I think I have mentioned how….um….forward… the men here can be, so it wasn’t all that unusual to have some strange dude approach us. He started with the usual array of small talk questions – What’s your name? Where are you going? Where are you from? Do you live here? – and the usual blanket statements – My name is ____. I lived in New Jersey. You are very beautiful (of course I never find this one boring or uninspired). We continued up the hill as we talked, but I noticed Lindsey was walking slower now. Then our new friend asked if we needed any marijuana. He asked in Spanish and then said, in English, “djoo no – som ‘weed’?”, like we might not understand what he meant by “marijuana”.
“Uh….no thank you.”
Then he offered us some coke, djoo no, like cocaine? Again, nope, we’re good, thanks anyway. He continued to walk with us, offering us drugs or whatever, and we were walking really slowly now because Lindsey kept hanging back farther and farther. I wanted coffee and was more than happy to walk along with this creepy pot slinging bus jockey to get to it. But Lindsey had noticed an important detail long before me. My little buddy Coka was carrying a knife in his hand. I didn’t know this until he pointed it at us, sort of waiving it back and forth casually. In that moment, I was 100% sure that we were about to be robbed. But, no, he was just showing us his knife. I asked him what it was for and without saying a word, he just turned it around and poked it into his belly a few times as if to say, “Well, duuuuhh!! It’s for stabbing people!” Silly me.
That’s when it became clear that this conversation needed to come to an end. Lindsey already had the right idea, so I joined her in a laboriously slow ascent toward the taxis. We nearly stopped altogether to admire a small child walking with her grandmother. Until, finally, the guy decided to move on. We did, however, see him once more as we passed by him in town. He called out that he was there to serve us if we needed anything – boy aren’t we the luckiest.
I will not be missing the 9 am bus any time soon. I’d prefer to keep my distance from the knife wielding dope dealer. And, it totally sucks to get to bible study all hot and sweaty from hiking 6 blocks up into town to get a cab. Nothing kills my first-sip-of-coffee moment than a trickle of sweat running down my back.