AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Chad Cropper and I’m a gas pump attendant.
I live in Cocorite, across the highway and up the hill from the gas station.
So I could walk to work. Literally. I could zip-line and all.
When people hear, “Cocorite,” they think of crime and violence, but I feel safe because I grow up my whole life in Cocorite and I know 90 per cent of the people.
In boy days, everybody would stay by anybody until whoever mother come home. Is like everybody really was one family.
I know most people who come into the gas station, too: customers; buddies; bredrens.
I went Fatima College. Fatima was awesome, best days of my life.
That’s where I learn all my discipline and everything. Once you leave Fatima, you ready for anything in the world. Fatima is a good school. One of the number ones.
In my era, it didn’t have that “Faggy-ma” (label). After I finished school, I just wanted to spread my wings, go out there, and do what I like to do.
I literally choose to be a pump attendant. I like the outdoors and meeting people. No stress.
And in my gas station in Cocorite, you meet the whole of Trinidad. From the lowest to the tops. And all the in-betweens.
I fit into this job and I not bound to go nowhere. I don’t like office jobs. I don’t like the enclosure and the a/c.
BC Pires tell me it look like I have gangland tats on my neck but that is my son’s name, Jamani. He is six years and the neck tattoo is in dedication to him. He’s my only child.
All now, I look at him and I see my young self looking back at me. Is awesome!
I’s call him, “Half-a-Man”! He operating laptop, tablet, phone – things I getting trouble with, he’s just figure them out.
Jamani’s mom is Lauren Samuel. We’re not together again but we’s keep our relationship good because of his sake.
BC Pires tell me I will get the benefit of that back in 40 years. Is a long-term investment!
So I feel I might have to put in a next (child) and double my investment!
But his mum has another son, two years older than Jamani, so he done already have his big brother to watch and guide him.
I believe in energies. You can read people’s energies without even having a conversation.
BC Pires ask me how God could leave us, his own children, to suffer. Is thing to ponder about, in truth.
With your child, you wouldn’t even want a mosquito bite him! It does hurt me deep, too (to see suffering).
But I still try to believe in God. Just for mental satisfaction.
I don’t discriminate against nothing. I love everything in every category. I don’t like limitation on anything.
Especially when it come to beautiful woman.
In Cocorite, everything happening all around me, in front, behind, at the side, up top, below.
And it never affect me. And I never went down that road, neither. I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder and guarding and covering. I like just to be free.
I come like “Chaddy-Boy”: everybody know me and they know I just on positivity.
“Easy money” have a consequence behind it that could cost you your life.
Trinidad traffic is the worst. Carnival time, I took an hour to go up Church Street from the (Western) Main Road to the scheme!
If I coulda find a parking space, I woulda go and sip a beer. I HATE traffic, eh! But when I get stick in it, what I could do about it? So I embrace it.
I like to sip a beer and I’s take my little smoke. To relax myself and think good thoughts.
I’m a user of marijuana. It literally calms me down, keeps me cool and collected.
My brain constantly always on the go, preplanning. I will be living tomorrow today.
So I have to take down my head from over-driving. I have to slow down my brain from bubbling up because I will be speeding into next week and is only Thursday!
We never close but pump attendants have two shifts, 7am-3pm, and 3pm-11pm.
I happy to work either shift, but I more prefer the evening. Because the bosses and them will more go home.
I get along well with my bosses but bosses will always find work for you to do. That is their job!
Evening is a more relaxed shift, too, because is less sun involved.
Most people at my gas station want full service, not self-service.
Anything we could assist them with, car-wise, no problem.
And most people tip. My gas station is one of the most tipping gas stations in Trinidad, I could say that.
The bad part of the job is when we have no gas.
People will literally take the nozzle, put in their tank, then go in the car and answer their phone, and drive off. With the whole nozzle, everything.
We’s have to be looking out for the careless ones. Especially the ones who intoxicated. Could be very dangerous.
If I could go on rocket ship and go on a next planet, I would.
Every year since I know myself, the crime rate keep going up. It never went less than the year before. Murders just going up and up.
We go run out of numbers just now! That is real scary! We could lose our whole population!
Living here in Trinidad right now is kinda risky.
You don’t even have to harm somebody. Just saying the wrong thing could aggravate somebody else and make them lose their mind. Even seeing the wrong thing could cost you your life!
That could damage Trinidad on a whole, because, couple years down the road, nobody might want to come to Trinidad again.
A Trini is blessed and highly favoured and loves to have a good time, regardless of the situation.
Trinidad and Tobago is a hard one. Is an island of fun.
I never been to other places.
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com