I think Panama City must have been built on a swamp. The heat was oppressive. I wandered around Miguel’s apartment shirtless and slick with sweat. Getting up from the couch, I felt bad for leaving a puddle of sweat behind me.
If you ever want to open up a hostel, do it in Panama City. The city holds you captive. Not in the magical sense either. It’s physical captivation. The road ends here, and the only way across is to get a boat or fly. The time travelers have to waste in arranging this, especially the boat option, will make a hostel owner rich.
Lucky for me, I had a CouchSurfing host. Unlucky for me, he was hosting an English guy.
His name was Ross. Although I’ve disliked most of the English travelers I’ve met, I started fresh with him – open-minded and friendly.
On our first outing together in Miguel’s truck, I conceded the front seat to Ross. I wanted to establish a sharing spirit among us, and show Ross I had no sense of ownership on the front seat. Unfortunately, he was English.
I let Ross take the front seat a few more times, especially when stopping at the passenger-seat door would have impeded the flow. But then it happened. Ross stopped short at the passenger-seat door, blocking me, and making me step around him to get to the back seat. At this point it was obvious he didn’t want to give up rights to the passenger seat. It was important to him to get that artificial sense of higher value. And it was important to me to foil his ass.
So in our next face-off, although I feigned a comfortable, lazy gait, I moved to the truck with purpose as I monitored Ross’ movements. I made a casual arrival at the passenger-seat door, this time blocking Ross, who was behind me. Ross lingered behind me a few moments too long. Although I didn’t turn around to look at him because I didn’t want to draw attention to my feat, he must have felt stumped. I think he thought lining up behind me was going to indicate to me that I was in the wrong place. I got in and sat in my throne. He descended silently to the back seat.
It was war. An unspoken battle for the front seat each time we strode through the parking lot. I let him win shotgun a lot of times; I just wanted it to be equitable. But stupid English bastard never conceded it to me. He never willingly moved to the back seat; I had to take it from him.
Miguel, an internet fiend, was all over my facebook, and asked me about the photos from the John Mark clown video I had made. I explained that I was acting as a character who had a fetish for clowns. But he and Ross didn’t get it, although they enjoyed their own stupid comments and questions. This became a big interest for them. Miguel wanted to see the video and asked me where he could find it. I stalled on it because I didn’t want to expose it to them. But that didn’t stop Miguel. He hunkered down in his internet power search mode and creeped through everything he could find that was linked with me.
And eventually he found it. But, it had been taken down for copyright infringement. So they stayed up late watching almost every other video in our extensive catalog. The next few days were peppered with annoying comments.
“So if we go to the circus, and you see a clown, will you get really excited? Would we have to hold you back?”
I laughed along, although it was a struggle. These guys didn’t get it. I was especially irritated by the plain, English, boring guy. You’re too boring to understand this dude.
Then, as we were driving around, we passed a guy doing some Zen kind of Chi power-stance. From the back seat, Ross quips, “It’s like a scene out of your wanking video,” and then busts out laughing. I was pissed. I turned around and coldly asked, “How?” How, dude?! It’s frustrating when you’re getting cut down with material that’s not even good. How do you defend against it? It’s like trying to make fun of children who have an undeveloped sense of humor. Even if you get them good, they won’t get it, and then they’ll “zing” you with something that doesn’t even make sense.