Saturday, June 23, 2007


Take a deep breath in ... let a deep breath out. Repeat for the rest of your life.

A short while ago I was driving to the art store to get a matte put on the above photo, as someone wants to purchase a print of it. On my way there I took a Curepe back street to avoid a long line of traffic.

On this narrow back street there were cars parked along one side, making it possible for only one car at a time to pass. I'm going to omit all of the frustrating details that occurred before this particular incident. Suffice it to say, the men driving the cars that all came speeding towards me, forcing me to reverse onto a junction (thereby endangering my own life/my car) were all "in the wrong" as the obstruction was on their side. But it is clear that this traffic 'rule' does not exist in sweet T & T.

To cut a long story short, I ended up in the middle of the junction next to a man in a green car who was being very obstinate.

As Mr. Green car forced his way next to me, he looked me straight in my face and shouted at me, his large, black toad-like face dripping with beads of sweat and contorted with distaste: "You is a C*NT?!!!"

The venom with which he hurled this at me was like nothing I had heard before. I looked straight back at him. My body shook in disbelief and rage, but my response was in my calmest voice possible: "Please don't use that language with me!"

He glared at me in a way that made me instantly remember what my parents always tell me (Elspeth, be careful. You know how you like to tell people things on the road when they give you a bad drive. These days they could pull out a gun and shoot you). If he had one, I wouldn't be surprised if he had done it. He looked cold, unfeeling and really pissed off at me.

He sucked his teeth in frustration and shouted at me again: "WHAPPEN?! YUH CYAH DRIVE?!!! YUH HOLIN UP DE TRAFFIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Meanwhile, he is causing the block-up ...)

By this time I wasn't able to be so calm. "When the obstruction is on your side, YOU have to wait!" (I know. Waste of breath).

The man behind me (who could see I had nowhere to go, but probably thought I was parked up having a pleasant chat with toad-in-green-car) was now shouting at me as well: "Move yuh cyah nah woman!!"

(Is this what they call male bonding?)

I don't know what happened after that. It was a blur. Somehow someone moved and next thing I knew I was driving again. I almost went back home but I kept going, thinking that if I turn back home and don't take this photo to be matted, I just won't feel like getting on the road again to do it later. I was shaking with anger at the way people are on the roads these days. The cumulative effect of other incidents on the way to that junction just made it all worse. The anger, the aggression, the lack of courtesy, the rush to get to God knows where - at the expense of other people's safety! And that man who probably thinks cussing women is what it means to be a man.

By the time I got to the art store, I handed the girl the photo and told her what I wanted. Then, after a short while, I just blurted out my fed-upcy and told her of the incident, accompanied by tears of frustration. I told her that there was a time when I thought the ignorance in Trinidad could change and things could get better, but now I don't think so anymore. It's actually getting worse. She agreed with me.

And the ironic thing is, there I was driving along my merry way with a photo called "HOPE".

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Anonymous Kikipotamus the Hobo said...

I know it's a terrible thing for me to say about a whole island that I'm sure also has many beautiful humans living on it. After all, you come from there. But it is clear so clear that you don't belong there anymore. I am remembering watching you in the Global Aware HQ in Toronto, making connections with others who want to make this world a better place and who are willing to donate mountains of time and energy to do so.

You were blossoming, relaxing, flourishing.

I am so sorry for this insult, for the nastiness and hate this man hurled at you.

Big hug, my sister.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Webgrl said...

many may disagree with me, but i don't think there's any point trying to put any energy into this place.
We clearly don't belong here. If you can/ want to, read your posts from canada, followed by your posts since you've returned.
It seems to me, that before you left you tried to fit yourself (a square peg) into a round hole. When you went to canada you found your square.
Upon returning you're not trying to fit yourself in any more. You've experienced a fit and nothing else will do.

Make yourself happy where and how you need to.
To hell with what anyone thinks. You're very intuitive and i know for years you've tried harder (much harder than i have ) to make this fit....but is it time to move on to where you can live happily? (not that ur not generally happy you know what i mean.) I'll give you a buzz soon chica!

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Keeds said...

Gosh, spec. I'm always the one to try and remind you of the beauty ah de place. But now, I must admit. I agree with Webgrl. You can always come home when you ready again, ent?

8:06 PM  
Anonymous The TriniGourmet said...

Hmm dunno what to say... some of the above comments have pissed me off, but I'm also really sorry you had to experience what you did. Don't know if you knew about my accident last year but it was very traumatic for me, illegal PH driver with similar attitude to the toad you describe... having experienced racial profiling overseas in a different vehicular accident, and a lengthy court battle as a result, I don't really know which is the lesser evil

6:04 AM  

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