Songs of Innocence and of experience.

( my Mii on the Wii- why do I feel silly as an adult even typing that?)

Hard to believe this is my first blog entry of the new year. I seem to have an easy time writing about anything but things of substance. Sometimes I am able to extemporize on the most arcane subjects but given the number of major events in the world that have happened since my last update over a month ago I have been singularly uninspired to type anything. Human nature I suppose.

I am back in Trinidad now after my all too brief sojourn in Toronto and I have been toddling along for the past few weeks pretending I am somewhere else. If one is in a drunken stupor Trinidad can seem like a land of wonder but to anything approaching sober eyes ( such as my own) it can see like a car crash in slow motion.  I have my periods of self-delusion when I manage alright but at times, such as now, the proverbial scales fall from my eyes and I am left to wonder why I am here.

Since  my return I have seen the usual half-baked T&T and Caribbean response to the Haitian disaster. This normally consists of government officials announcing that they must have meetings to determine a correct course of action and general musings that “something must be done” while the rest of the known ( and, in this case, several parts of the unknown) world send help immediately. There has also been a UNC internal election to determine the fate of  this country’s main opposition party. The result of it was that a woman and her slate beat the incumbents by a ten to one landslide. Within a matter of hours the losers announced a press conference to say that they had discovered a huge cache of party cards hidden in the executive offices that had not been distributed to members – an intimation that some nefarious undertaking had been perpetrated. The fact that the cards were found in the offices that the losers had occupied for the last many years did not enter into their argument. “Look we found these membership cards hidden in our own offices!”  Sometimes things here are so silly that they are not even worth thinking about.

I find myself worrying more and more about my folks back in Toronto. Aging is far better than the only other option available but it still sucks. I have steeled myself to the certainty that my days here are numbered and sooner rather than later I will have to be there to help them in whatever way I can. Actually, given that my life here consists of work, the supermarket and home that really isn’t exactly a huge change.

It has not escaped my notice that Trinidad continues to be one of the noisiest places imaginable. Noise is the great bane of my life. It seems to me that anything worth doing is worth doing quietly. It is no exaggeration that even if my life were in danger I would want to ensure that I didn’t make a scene. I can say this with confidence because even when someone once attacked me with a knife I dealt with it quietly. But here, if it is not barking dogs it is people having conversations at the top of their lungs even when the other person is seated right in front of them. Now Carnival is once again rearing its ugly head. For the uninitiated this means an additional cacophony of people holding outdoor steel pan concerts, blaring party music at home for the entertainment of their 6 guests and generally conducting themselves in a manner designed to rouse any relatives of theirs that may have gone to join the celestial choir.

Speaking of which Trinis are fond of pointing out that the steel pan is Trinidad’s “National Instrument.” Now, perhaps it is just me, but what exactly does that mean? Canada and the UK don’t seem to have a national instrument and they seem to be carrying on just fine. I guess it is about as meaningful as saying that the leek is the national vegetable of Wales…except in the case of an instrument you can’t chop it up and toss it into a stock pot – pity.


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