Special Edition

This is 8 a.m, a monday morning on a busterminal in Choroní, and we´re climbing aboard a vehicle spraypainted with headache, the Billlabong logo sprawled a little of everywhere and we´ve seen these monsters before, waggling their metalskeletons in streets with no more than two fingers of air to the houses sidelining it, reggaeton on a nightclub volume, punctuated only with the deafening blare of a truckhorn; like the music alone wouldn´t be enough to signal its arrival.

But this is a monday morning. There are people here on their way to work, kids with gymbags and schoolbooks.

It makes no difference. This is the special edition tour. It´s like a partytrain to a ski-resort but with nowhere to go, no place to hide. They´ve got four loudspeakers in the front, the volume set high enough to drown out any conversation; cheezy ballads concerning matters of the heart, corazon y amor, you don´t have to understand the language to get the lyrics- I miss you, I hate you, I love you-  there´s a Venezuelan cover of the old Roxette-classic “Spending my time”.

The bus never seems to be full. The driver and his two nasty little helpers, cocky and arrogant, filled with that teenage belief in immortality, keeps making stops in the middle of nowhere to let even more people pile on, they´re filling it to the brim, the frontdoor of the bus constantly open since the sidestep leading up to it also functions as an extra space for passengers; the man standing there is clutching on to a handlebar on the inside.

A babyblue, plush curtain is hung low, covering the frontwindow down to the middle, causing the driver to hunch forward in order to see anything. This is party parafernalia. The curtain is patched with patterns in shades of deeper blue, a heart, a clover, a diamond, all rudimentally stitched on. The stereo-case is ornamented with the metalplatted symbol of the playboy bunny.

The driver´s got a highstrung wire connected from the roof down to the panel, like one single violin-string, and as he taps it with the tip of his fingers the whole bus lets out that pre-historic roar, causing a mild concussion for each time, and the orchestra plays at least once every ten seconds. The only redeeming thing about it is its temporary drowning out of the Enrique Iglesias record now playing.

And all through this brute noise, I´ve got a little kid, maybe 7 or 8, sleeping against my shoulder. Mouth slightly open, face peaceful, his little fingers still gripping on to the straps of his schoolbag, the grip loosening with each breath sending him deeper into sleep. Even when his head bobs out a little into the narrow aisle, and another stop is made and more people push on, creating a wave of movement backwards, the little boy gets hit in the head with bags, hips, the occasional hand, but he still doesn´t wake up. I envy him.

After a couple of hours, my brain mushed and concoured, the music and the rocky roads, even the blaring caused by the drivers violin, it sooths me into a sedated state of numbness, my eyelids grow heavy. I see now how that little boy did it.

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