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Saturday 19 October 2019
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Commentary

Trinis too damn —– (fill in the blank)!

PAOLO KERNAHAN
PAOLO KERNAHAN

WITH THE recent flooding swamping some parts of central and south Trinidad and positively drowning areas in the North like Mt Lambert, Trinis were quick to point the finger. “Trinis too damn nasty! They trowing bottles and fridge in the river and vex when dey flood!”

The enforcement of laws is meant to fill gaps where citizens insist on doing the wrong thing. There’s a lot to be said, however, for individual responsibility, common decency and consideration for your neighbour and fellow Trini.

Yet, here we are, the innocent and law-abiding subjected to venal, wilful creatures bent on living their lives according to their warped code. “Who vex lorse” should be our national watchwords.

Last week I went to pay a bill and there was a man in line ahead of me who parked directly in front of another customer. As that customer tried to leave, she did a 23-point turn in the car park before attracting the attention of the bad parker who watched her squirm in the tight spot.

Rather than move his car he said loud enough for everyone to hear, “You mean she cyar get outta there? Dat is ah easy, easy drive. Trini cyar drive at all nah!”

Funny thing is, had that inconsiderate dullard moved his car, allowing the woman egress, he could then have slipped into the spot she vacated. For some reason it just seemed to make more sense to him to stand there craning his neck at the doorway, watching the poor woman wear her tyres down trying to get out and muttering, “she cyar pass dey?”

Sometimes these people don’t challenge your driving skills, but they dutifully remind us that everyone is on a hustle and you just have to wait.

I was at a neighbourhood supermarket last week when I saw a man pull up directly behind another who was just exiting. Poor fella!

He thought he caught the other motorist before he blocked him in and went his way. “Aye, I coming out now. Doh park dey!” This was the response: “Everybody have to wait, wha yuh want me to tell yuh.” With that, he turned and disappeared into the grocery.

The other motorist just stood there like a pleb with a what-am-I-really-doing-with-my-life look on his face. His ice cream was melting right along with his self-respect.

It’s tempting to think this behaviour is peculiar to a specific class but that’s not the case at all. A few years ago I was at the Valpark Shopping Plaza when someone parked a big macco BM Dubya right behind me.

When I looked around for the person to whom I would direct my salty dressing-down I spotted a lady of the Valsayn landed gentry. Her lacquered hair looked expensive and she was wearing designer garments and a pair of heels that might as well have been moko jumbie stilts.

As she wobbled towards her vehicle I asked how she could park behind me and take off. She glowered at me through her big, stupid Gucci sunglasses and said, “I was only going in for a minute!” She then huffed, slid into the plush seat of her ride and barrelled away.

With many Trinis, their time is always more important than yours. It’s always just a minute, and if you complain you’re being unreasonable.

Unreasonable is a word that came up quite often in a story related to me by a friend. He has been having a dusty time of it with a neighbour who has launched a full-fledged business out of the rental property next door. This business sees a lot of visitors every day and these visitors think nothing of parking in front of his driveway. Invariably, he is told by the offending customers, “You cyar pass dey?”

He has spoken to the neighbour ad nauseam about the consistent inconvenience caused by the sudden appearance of a going concern in what is supposed to be a rental residential property at the end of a quiet, narrow street. The tenant/entrepreneur usually counters with, “I just trying to earn a living.”

Often, that’s the justification used by criminals when they rob and terrorise society. Trinis are too “everything” because to them everyone else is unreasonable. Special considerations must be made for such people because the life they must endure is somehow more burdensome than everyone else’s circumstances. For everyone else, the law-abiding, mindful citizens of TT, well you could just (fill in the blank).

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