Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Most Memorable Character...

"I love the friends I've gathered together on this thin raft!" crows Jim
Morrison, leader singer of the legendary rock group, The Doors. I feel
this way about my friend, Jorge Ilario.
We surround ourselves with all types of friends in this life, and fortunately
for me, Ilario is the wild and crazy type - a "cool" kind of wild and crazy though.
He's unpredictable. A week ago, I pulled into my usual parking spot and made
my way to the back entrance of my building. I heard a soft, "Pssst!" followed
by a familiar whistle coming from a bush on the pathway. I looked over, and
there Ilario was, squatting, low to the ground, on his knees. "Open the door!"
he instructed. Once the door was open, he darted past me, running up the
stairs to my apartment door. He tried to quiet me down, an impossible task
as tears were nearly running down my face from laughing so hard.
"She's after me!" he explained, "She's chasing me all over the place!"
I knew what he was talking about. A cute little blonde was circling the parking lot,
going the wrong way on a one way driveway. She almost hit my truck
"head on" while trying to catch him and spoil any plans he had for the rest of the
evening. He sought refuge in the bushes, waiting until I arrived. It's a typical
scene too.
Jorge is from Honduras, coming from a small and very poor pueblo outside
the capital. Without romanticizing poverty, those humble circumstances
contribute greatly to his perspective on life today. He appreciates what he
has accumulated and accomplished today and this makes me appreciate things
that I would ordinarily take for granted. We communicate in "Spanglish", one
sentence in English, the next in Spanish, and the next two in English again. It
works well for us and confuses others. A "latino identity" brings with it a certain
unique view on life and a part of that is a happiness, a joy, or appreciation of life
living, and of being alive. It is mostly easily witnessed in the vibrant latin music
and dance. It transcends the music and manifests itself in an energetic,
enthused approach to life. Again, I benefit from exposure to this perspective.
During this life, we will make many acquaintances. We will make far fewer
friends. I am pleased to be able to call Jorge Ilario my friend and hope he will
be a part of my life for a long time to come.