By Irina Echarry
It’s said that intellectuals are the vanguard of thought in a society. That’s true, but we cannot forget the rest, those who are not academics, those who add value to day-by-day life through their personal experiences.
Near my house is a bus depot, where the vehicles are gassed up and are parked overnight until put back into service the following day.
One day, a frightened dog shot out of there, running toward the street. Next, a man in overalls came out, who seeing me surprised by the animal’s sprint commented:
“That dog’s scared to death, the poor thing.”
“I guess they kicked it out,” I responded.
“No, it was born dead, can’t you see?” he replied.
For a moment his remark seemed crazy; the dog was running, blood was circulating in its veins. Then I figured that the man must have been referring to the creature’s thinness, since you could count its ribs in only a glance.
I continued walking alongside the man and asked him why he had said that.
“We’re just that dog; we’re scared of death, and we don’t realize that we’re dead. Look at me, do you see how I am? I finish working and go straight home. Today’s Saturday. I should go out and have a little fun, but I don’t have any money… or desire. The worst thing is to be dead and living.
“Don’t say that, life is beautiful,” I said.
“Yeah, real beautiful. Tomorrow is Easter, and my wife wants to go to church… why? At home we’ve met all the prohibitions of Holy Week without even trying to, mainly the one about not eating meat… we celebrate Holy Week all year round…”
The man spoke with a mocking tone. He spoke loud, straightforwardly, without fear of being heard. I liked that. Plus, it made me realize that he wasn’t dead.
Dead people don’t say what they feel, and they don’t allow others to. They’re the people who don’t grasp that we can be dead by inaction, by disillusionment.
The dead ones are his co-workers, who play their music loud, not permitting the neighborhood rest; those who drink nonstop before climbing up to take the wheel, without keeping in mind that they’re transporting human lives. The dead are the people who go to work the next day without objecting to anything, knowing that their pay won’t cover even the most basic necessities of the month.
A person who expresses themselves out loud is alive. Nor do they fear death; to the contrary, they cling to life and fight for its betterment.