The last time Jorge was here for a visit, we took a long walk on the Cowboy Trail west of town. The afternoon was a bit breezy, the cloud cover was just about 50% with spotty drizzle, and the temperature hovered around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. We passed beneath a canopy of budding oak and maple trees and noticed a squirrel observing us.
One of the benefits of befriending Jorge is that he doesn’t like chit chat, trivia, or small-talk. Neither do I, so we’re very compatible strolling companions. Oftentimes, our visits comprise of contemplation, meditation, or just silently savoring each other’s presence. As with most friendships, topics for talking bubble up spontaneously. A walk with Jorge is always a time of inner stimulation.
As we passed into a clearing, Jorge halted and looked at the river to our south. There was the quiet, but teaming marsh in front and the gently flowing Elkhorn River just beyond. He brought his gaze to the large clumping of clouds. Then Jorge looked at me and said, “The water cycle always reminds me of life.” Then he turned his head south again.
We resumed our walk. Then Jorge said that he and his partner had gotten into a discussion about biggest wishes. I laughed and said that such a topic stands squarely on the borderline between trivial and profound.
He agreed and used the common wish that people often voice, “I wish I had a new car.” It could mean that someone who is well to do is merely tired of the style and color of her Lexus and wants to trade it in on a Mercedes. Or someone of lesser means might simply want to own some sort of basic transportation so he won’t have to walk to work in the rain anymore.
I was reminded that the two most popular “biggest wishes” included one to enable endless personal greed and the other to ensure endless world peace. Jorge laughed, in return, saying that most people resort to believing that the acts of wishing and hoping will make them come true. Too many of us human beings are too lazy to actually get our hands dirty to actually make endless world peace a reality in our time. Such is the nature of the ages-old curse over humanity.
Out of the blue, I asked Jorge what his biggest wish is. He replied that he hasn’t really prioritized and narrowed down his list of wishes. So, I pressed him to just name the one that immediately comes to mind. Jorge blurted out, “I wish my boyfriend would accept my marriage proposal.”
I felt my eyebrows involuntarily rise and a cheeky grin appear on my face as I nodded for Jorge to elaborate. He quickly noted that no explanation was needed because I have the same wish. I countered by saying that I wish my relationship was as deep and far along as his, because my boyfriend is not yet out of the closet. We yelled “touche'” at the same time, laughed, then continued our stroll in silence.
Soon, I piped up that actually my biggest wish was related to endless world peace. My biggest wish is that every person on Earth will practice compassion and empathy. If that should ever come to pass, then most of the other human relations problems would soon melt away. Jorge glanced at me and raised his eyebrows. I said, “I write about this frequently and otherwise advocate whenever possible.”
We shared several more minutes of happy silence and continued westward. Then a hawk screeched as it flew eastward along the opposite bank of the river.
I stopped and allowed my vision to track the bird. Then, I asked Jorge what other wishes were in his top list. We began walking again.
He said, “To be perfectly honest, I’d like to sit down and have a heart to heart conversation with Stephen Hawking. I want to go beyond his books and videos and find out what really makes him tick.” I agreed, saying that I’ve often wondered what all goes on inside the brain of arguably the world’s most brilliant man. What an amazing time could be had listening to his thoughts and observations about the Universe around us and the deepest concerns in his heart. Dr. Hawking probably harbors as much empathy and wisdom, as he does intelligence.
I told Jorge that I was taking mental notes, so he should continue with more wishes. He then wished that his company could become an influential force for love. I asked how a cross-country trucking operation could possibly advocate for love. That sort of thing doesn’t go down well with trucker culture. Don’t most of his drivers think that line of thinking is sort of hippie-like? There’s the stereotype trucker image of redneck, conservative, country music listening, Rush Limbaugh loving, chomping on a cigar, burly sort of guy who many of us think of.
Jorge sighed in agreement, then said, yes, that’s why this is one of my biggest wishes. Truckers spend a lot of time alone. A select few of them have pushed the nonsense of us versus them thinking and politics out of their heads. Some of them have come to terms with the reality that they cannot make other people conform to their personal views of the country. Some of the truckers are actually OK with concepts like eliminating warfare, racial equality, women’s rights, and marriage equality. Not many of them are vocal about their opinions, but they hold them anyway.
I wondered exactly how Jorge’s company could become a force for love since their few tolerant drivers are reluctant to express their views. Was the trucking line owned and operated by open-minded people?
Jorge said that he wants to paint large, easy to read, positive, pithy sayings on the sides of freight trailers. His small company only owns half-a-dozen trailers. However, the messages would not only advertise love; they would also make for a distinctive public relations campaign to promote the company. Jorge has pitched the idea to his boss, but she was unenthusiastic about the suggestion.
I think the truck signage campaign is brilliant, hopefully the company will soon adopt it. Maybe they could incorporate pictures or cartoon images around a short phrase for better impact. I asked Jorge to continue selling the idea to the company.
I wondered if Jorge has regretted not fulfilling a childhood wish. He answered that he always wanted to play the saxophone. There was never enough time and his family was too poor to buy a sax and pay for lessons. Jorge says there’s not enough time for such a wish anymore, but he still wishes that he could play some jazzy music.
The sky began to darken and look threatening, so we decided to turn around and return to my car. Our pace quickened as we speed-walked to the East in silence.
The Blue Jay of Happiness wishes he could write the love story of all love stories.