Most days, I take for granted the things that I’ve seen in this world. I forget that I feel comfortable in third world countries, when others may not. I forget that most children don’t get the opportunity to try and scramble up the blocks of the pyramids in Egypt at age 6, failing epically.
I take for granted my skin color, my first world status, and my close proximity to the plethora of chip bags waiting for me in the store. Yes – they are waiting for me. *sigh* Those beautiful chip bags… Sometimes I think they talk to me… *ahem*
In 2009, on a dusty Haitian road filled with putrid roadside sewage channels, my entire subconscious ‘take things for granted’ mentality was irrevocably shattered. Like a small boy who dreams of Santa Claus and catches his paunchy father on Christmas Eve bent over under the tree in a two-sizes-too-small red flannel shirt, I sat there in disbelief.
“Don’t get out of the car,” they said. “It’s not safe for you,” they said.
The automatic locks in the SUV snapped, quickly and loudly like an overeager baby crocodile, testing its jaw springs.
I watched them enter the bank, watched the security guard open the door and usher them inside, and watched the door close behind them with a sense of finality.
“It’s ok,” I thought. “I’m safe….” I thought, as my eye squinted twitchily.
Not for long. Four local men approached the ramshackle old SUV that I sat in, lips pursed in questionable ‘smiles.’
I sat there motionless, staring at my feet, as they threatened to break the windows surrounding me.
Five more joined in. Before I had time to question how all of these men seemed to roam about in packs, the SUV started shaking. Two men jumped onto the back bumper, easily catapulting onto the roof. All I could hear was the banging of fists on metal and glass, and the strange laughter which escaped from the wolf pack surrounding me.
If I had thought of it at the time, I could have seen it all as a free, low budget, well animated, but badly produced roller coaster ride.
C’est la vie.
As if on fire, the wolves quickly fled. I peeked out through my eyelashes to see familiar faces walking towards me. Relief blanketed me in seconds.
As we drove away, I saw the faces of the wolves again. Making direct eye contact with one of the faces I thought: what if I had got out of the car? What then?
Today reminded me to value each experience I’ve had – to take nothing for granted. Whether I stick to that mindset is another story entirely. But for now, I’m loving this feeling – this thankfulness for where I am, what I have, and how I got here.
Right now, I’m thankful for head-swaying rap music, stunning calendar photos (cause the bad ones are BAD), Sherlock Holmes styled candle holders with the classic finger hole (someone give me a secret passage!), mango juice, Steve Carell, and this video (I CAN’T stop watching it! It’s bloody GENIUS).