The Amusing Race

It wasn’t a race. It wasn’t even a competition. And yet, as I opened up my eyes this morning, my mind was set on what I wanted to do today. There was no prize to be won, and this wasn’t even a marathon with a finish line. But as I placed my feet on the road, I knew what I wanted to do.

And so there I was, the first few minutes spent walking the four-lane side street outside our home. I turned at the corner and greeted the roosters that were there. Yes, I talk to roosters. For the life of me I don’t know how it was possible, but they would always respond every time I crowed at them. And every time they did, I’d always whisper back “Thank you“. For what, even I don’t know.

I rounded another corner and ended up at a crossroad. I had to make a decision, fast. Was I going to take the vehicle that was already waiting in front of me? Or do I walk across the street? Between roosters and crossroads, why did the chicken cross the road?

I ended up on the other side, and I rode the jeep that just happened to arrive. It was still a few minutes more before I reached my first pit stop, and so I just waited.

First stop: The Public Market. I was here last night, and I asked the vendors outside the market if they had what I was looking for. Sadly, the only thing that they had which was common to my objective was its shape. So that’s definitely a no go. This morning however, I set out to enter the belly of the beast, and see if the interior offered more choices than its exterior. Alas, I’ve seen sandals, shoes, and meats, but none of the shops offered what I was searching for. There was no other option but to move on.

Detour: The Mall Just Beside The Public Market. The owner of this mall was probably feeling clever, naming it after himself. I went inside, but I didn’t spend more than a few minutes there. The shop I saw was mostly selling cellphones, and I don’t think there were any other shops here that would be worth my while. The escalator was also broken, so I took that as a convincing factor, as I walked towards the exit.

Second stop: The Farmer’s Market. I don’t know why they call it that; I never saw one farmer whenever I went there. As I entered the building I was excited at seeing the first store that I’ve been wanting to see all day. I sorted through their merchandise, and what do you know? They had the item that I was looking for. And it also came at a cheap price!

But wait. Not so fast.

I wasn’t about to walk out of there without first having tested if it was in good working condition. Seriously. And so I stood there while someone tried it out. It was utter failure. There wasn’t even anything to test. We tried another stock, but it was the same thing. And just like that, I left the store.

Now it was already past noon, and I was told that another contender was already driving towards his next pit stop. Between someone who walks and someone who’s in a car, who do you think would be faster? This is not a race. This is not a competition.

Not if I can help it.

Even though the first catch was a failure, I didn’t report it back. I was not going to concede this. I had no intention of letting this go. I rode the escalator to the top floor, but all the shops there were only selling cellphones. When you have a beat up phone like mine and you walk beside those stalls, don’t be surprised if almost everyone asks you if you’re there for a trade in. I wasn’t going to get anywhere here, I thought. I went down.

Detour: Down And Back Up Again. It’s funny how a simple detour changes everything. I was just about to leave the market when I decided to give it one more try. I was going to unfamiliar territory, and I didn’t know what to expect. I saw a store there, and as I entered, the employees greeted me with the usual what-was-I-looking-for questions. I told them what I wanted to have, and after going through their inventory, they found one for me.

Of course, I had it tested. Come on. It worked! They gave me a one week warranty, in case it breaks down or something. I reported back that I had completed the quest, and from what I could read, I could tell there was a certain hint of amusement in the reply. I wasn’t surprised. This was the sort of story other people would find amusing. Maybe because I was being serious the whole time. Maybe that was what made this story funny.

It wasn’t a race. It wasn’t even a competition. But a smile at the end of a long mile makes everything worthwhile.

-Ed. E.

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