The big fat obnoxious drops started to fall slowly. They
landed with metallic thunks, like little bombletts, crashing and
splashing on the exterior of my car. They impacted noticeably,
and I swear, for a second I thought it was hail. These were 15
At first they came in a halting fashion, as if unsure of their target,
but soon I was in the mist of a rain of terror upon a civilian
population. I could barely see a few feet in front of the car,
and traffic slowed to five miles per hour. And my music – I
couldn’t hear my music, lost as it was in the cacophony of the attack.
I inched up to Calle Simón Madera, I hesitated, seeing that it was no
longer the Calle Simón Madera, but El Río Simón Madera. I made a
decision to turn and attempt to ford it. How bad could it be?
water was half-way up the door on my little Ford Focus (or so it
seemed). I quickly followed a larger SUV in front of me, taking
advantage of his wake to edge the water away. It worked, until he
decided to stop and slowly make a left turn. Arrgghh,
please oh please please, don’t stall, little car. I don’t want to
deal with this now. I’m stupid, I admit it, but just don’t
stall. Mr. SUV made his turn and I continued on.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I never realized what that little car was capable of. Now I know.
sat down at my desk and began to work, when my cell phone rang.
Hmm, out of state area code. Who could be calling me? It was my
good friend Dave.
"Hey Dave, what’s up?"
"Nothin’ much, man, just thought I’d give you a call and touch base. It’s been a while."
great. It’s good to hear from you." And there we were,
chuckling and carrying on. He mentioned that PowerBall was up to
220 million dollars. We talked about the small risk of a $1
investment with a $220 million payoff. It just might make sense.
Dave, what would you do if you won? You’d take it in a lump sum, right, so
that leaves you with about $100 million. What do you do with your
life? Do you still play in the orchestra? Do you buy the
orchestra? What in the world would you do with your life if money
"Nothing. I’d probably watch a lot of TV," he chuckled.
with the kids, take trips? Hey, you could start a business.
Would you start a business? Would you compose? Would you
start up a music foundation, or some sort of foundation for the
arts? Would you donate money to the orchestra?" I was
ratta-tat-tating him with a million questions.
"I’d buy a plane, take flying lessons, and travel around. That’d be cool."
there we moved on to other things, difficulties of running a business
in Puerto Rico, poor economy, difficult market. He asked me where
I would go if I left Puerto Rico.
"I’ve thought a lot
about Colorado. I’ve read the the tech industry is booming
there." I was also thinking about the cooler weather, cheaper
cost of living, and outside recreation opportunities. Colorado
has seemed to me, from afar at least, to be a perfect blend of
mid-western hospitality, urban sophistication, and culture. Bah,
but what do I know. I’d have to try it out.
"Why do you stay in Puerto Rico, if it’s that bad?" he asked innocently.
it is bad, that’s for sure." I paused, unsure of the words or
what I was actually feeling. "It’s just that there have been
opportunities here I have shaped me in ways that I never would have
realized." Serendipity is a word that comes to mind. It’s
not that suffering for suffering’s sake is a good thing, but sometimes
you don’t know what you’re capable of. Sometimes when life is
comfortable, you don’t seek out those itchy contagions that cause you
to scratch. In the Midwest of the US, you can just blend in,
carry on with your life, and if social activism isn’t your natural
inclination, you can happily avoid it.
In Puerto Rico,
it’s in your face 24/7. Between the projects, the despair of the
fatherless youths, and the poor public education, problems
abound. They affect every strata of society, and unless you are
among the super-wealthy, you’ve no way to avoid it. So, you’ve
got two choices, do nothing or do something. Doing nothing takes
more energy that it does in the US, of that I can assure you. The
flip-side is that doing something is a bit easier. And doing
something, opens up one of the possible ways that we as humans may
grow. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if not for Puerto
Rico. I’ve a long way to go, and I am still not enchanted to be
living here, but I know Puerto Rico, I know its culture, I know its
problems, and I know its spirit, and I’m sure that this is where I’m
supposed to be right now. I’m also sure of one other thing.
I know what I’m capable of.