This is my 26th smokeless day. It hasn’t been easy. At LEAST a dozen times a day I’m ready to break down, hike up to the Chinos (sort of a Panamanian 7/11 and called a ‘Chino’ because they’re mostly owned and operated by Chinese families) and buy a pack of cigarettes. But I haven’t.
Today I had to go pay the water bill for the old house. Normally I pay it at a ‘Multipagos’ at either Romero or El Rey supermarkets, but for some reason I couldn’t actually follow, the girl at the Multipagos at Romero said I had to go to IDAAN (the water company) to pay this bill.
The easiest IDAAN office to get to is in Bugaba. That’s also where they make the cigars I enjoyed up until a month ago. Now, I quit smoking cigarettes over two years ago when I switched to cigars. The only advantage of cigars over cigarettes, at least as I see it, is you don’t inhale a cigar and I’ve already done extensive damage to my lungs. But I’m a nicotine addict. Have been since I was 12. And I have to say that I DID enjoy smoking my cigars. Really enjoyed it whereas smoking cigarettes was just shutting off the withdrawal symptoms.
Well, I checked my cash stash and had enough on hnand to buy a month’s supply and still have enough left over to finish off the month without having to go to the bank to get more. So, I went down to El Cruce, where the Boquerón road crosses the InterAmerican Highway to pick up a bus for Bugaba. (It’s in the opposite direction from the buses I ride into David)
There’s a big caseta there. A caseta is a bus waiting station. The one at El Cruce is about 70 feet long. It’s basically a large bench with a roof to keep things dry when it rains. Plopped right down in the middle of the floor of the caseta was a used condom. That gives one pause to think about what must have been going on there last night or early this morning.
There are easily eight or nine different bus routes that stop at El Cruce. Two of those, the Cerro Punta bus and the Serrano bus, pass by the cigar factory. The others don’t. I decided I’d take the first bus that stopped at the caseta and that would determine whether what I would do.
After contemplating the discarded condom for a moment I looked up to see a Cerro Punta bus whiz right on past without even slowing down. Okay. Perhaps the Serrano bus will be next. But it wasn’t it was a Puerto Armuelles bus, it had empty seats and I took it. Now I could have taken that bus into Bugaba and waited around for a CP or Serrano bus and gotten to the cigar factory for an extra 35 cents. But, instead, I got off at the town’s center, walked down to the IDAAN office, paid the bill and put another $10 down against future payments (water’s $2 and change per month), walked the two blocks up to a bus stop and got on a bus and came home.
Right now, I’d REALLY like to have a smoke, but I don’t have anything to light up.