There were quite a few people in the room, and we immediately spotted a couple we knew who recently bought a house in Alto Boquete. They had rented just down the road from us for months, trying in vain to find property they could afford in Potrerillos. But some doctor in Florida is convinced that his next million is just one deal away, and they were unable to buy the land they wanted. Tired of waiting, needing to get on with their lives, they bought a house from someone who is desperate to get out of Panamá and back to the US.
We were standing there chatting, just beyond the "Hi, how are you" stage and into the reasons why we were at the meeting. They mentioned getting driver's licenses, and karen was just starting an explanation of their situation when some jackass American, dressed in shorts, sandals and flowered shirt that cost enough to keep a Panamanian family in food for a year, walked by and said in a voice loud enough to be heard throughout the room, "Driver's license? You don't need a driver's license. That's just a folded $20 bill..." by which time he had passed out of the room and was down the hall far enough that even his overly loud and smartass voice couldn't be heard through the doors.
He really didn't have anything to add to a conversation to which he was not invited. He had nothing useful to offer. He was just trying to show how hip he was, how "smart", how cynical, what an insider he was--and what a total pr_ck he was. He succeeded admirably with the last-named.
Why me, God? I'm not a particularly nice person but even I don't deserve this sort of exposure to the ugliness of the standard Boqueteño. You can not believe how many times you get exposed to this kind of crap in Boquete. It's now a stereotype, which is why all of us assume that any ill-mannered jerk acting out in public is from Boquete. It isn't that we don't have our share of cynics or that we are romantic idealists, but in Potrerillos, anyway, we don't act out in public. Our mothers taught us better manners. Then again, maybe he didn't have a mother. He might be a biological experiment that failed--badly. Somebody contact the lab and tell them to dump that particular Petrie dish of genes.
I was tired and still weak, and in no mood to be polite but unfortunately before I could react appropriately--like booting his overdressed rear end into the Pacific and back to whatever godforsaken piece of dirt he came from--he was gone.
There were Panamanians outside, staff of the hotel, going about their duties. People like this mentally retarded boor always treat the Panamanians as if they don't exists as human beings, perhaps to show their "superiority" as Americans, born by divine right (which God?) to be above all other inferior nationalities. Perhaps to show how insecure they are, maybe their contempt. Because believe me, it is contemptuous of the Panamanians to treat them like furniture.
It's also a mistake to treat them as if they don't understand English.
Regardless, it is always illuminating to see how people act when they think no one (important) is looking.
We found out we had made the trip for nothing, got out of there, and escaped back to our little piece of the world.