Jerry Gurerra
· 26 November 2007 ·

Everyone has got their story. I love hearing them; there´s nothing better than getting an animated account of another´s triumph or turmoil. It´s the reward for trying to be a people person. And travelling around, hostel after hotel, sleepy dirt village after asphalt jungle, I´m hard pressed for a better way to absorb the intriguing streams of humanity. Really, nothing better.

Except when it comes my turn. I go over my home, my family. Then comes this trip, those motorcycles. Every North American has a run-of-the-mill expression:

¨Hey, like Che Guevara, right?¨

Every time, spot on. Each reaction the same. My response has evolved after weeks of this middling whitebread. First, I explained, sure, I suppose there are similarities but now now—Che Guevara couldn´t have been the first guy to ride a motorcycle around South America. Just the most well known. I certainly won´t be the last.

Time and Bolivia pass. I consider typing prepared responses. Handing them out would have been absurd and offensive. (¨I thought you may say that and,¨ handing over an envelope, ¨took the liberty at peparing you this.¨)

But now I play dumb. I play so dumb it´s become an inside joke and a hilarious one at that:

¨You guys are like the Motorcycle Diaries, huh?¨ another American might ask.

¨Not following you.¨

¨That movie? The Motorcycle Diaries?¨

¨Hmm,¨ quizzical head scratching. ¨Sorry—just not ringing a bell. Wait, I keep a journal . . . more of a captain´s log, actually.¨

¨You´re kidding, right? Like Che Guevara?¨

¨Well,¨ Andy says. ¨I went to highschool with a dude named Jerry Guerrera.¨ (He didn´t.) ¨Jerr made a helluva cheese pizza.¨ (Also not true.) ¨But I don´t see how you could know him much less read his diary.¨

¨Yeah,¨ I´ll say. ¨How´d you know ol´Jerr?

¨No. He´s Castro´s friend? This is unbelievable! He went—I, uh … nevermind. Forget it.¨

I know who he is, have read a biography, seen the movie, and even part of my route has been the same as his famous excursion. And if I was spreading subversive literature, it would have a progessive tilt, not communist. And if someday Hollywood wants to make a movie on behalf of this adventure, well cool, I´m living a screenplay.

Only sometimes I give in to admit I know precisely who they mean; still, it´s usually not. It helps sort out meeting the mediocre people with their foreseeable stories.

Written by Izak Elvrum

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