by Diane Brady
The woman grips the steering wheel of the old, rusty pickup truck and merges onto the highway, the cars speeding by so fast she wonders if she is moving at all. The vehicle rattles and shakes as it strains to keep up with the flow and finally settles into a steady 55 mph. Ah... life in America, where people drive shiny, new cars and move at a frenetic pace, focused on their destination instead of the journey, their personal needs instead of their neighbors’. After two years in a developing country, the woman has grown more patient with herself and others, adopting the “go slow” pace practiced by residents in her dusty village. Now, though, she feels uncomfortably trapped between two worlds, two tempos, as she navigates the busy interstates of the city and reintegrates into her own culture. An SUV full of kids – the driver with a cell phone to her ear – approaches from behind and then swerves into the middle lane, nearly clipping the truck’s rear bumper; but the woman, smiling, travels along in the slow lane, watching pensive faces streak by yet silently fearing the day she joins the race again, too.
Diane Brady recently completed her service as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, Central America.