Saturday 23rd December, 2006

 
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My Christmas wish-list

It occurred to me so many times in the past few months, just how hot and bothersome my little rock could be. Between the concrete buildings, and all that hot air rising from the Red House and Whitehall and Centre of Excellence and Rienzi Complex, T&T people have had to put up with a lot of heat.

I’ve hoped for comfort

But I’ve never felt too safe

And in this hard life I’ve had to navigate through

Unexhausted has been my virtue

They set themselves against I

They set my pride on fire

Phoenix always rises high

Rebel crusader

Driven to decisions

They trapped me into

The Revolution Solution

I’ve come to join you

The paradox oh poverty has left us dismayed

Sliding democracy washing away

The toil of the many goes to the fortunate few

The Revolution Solution

I’ve come to join you

—Revolution Solution, Thievery Corporation

Between the freezing fog and the darkness by four in the afternoon, I’m glad to have a return ticket to Trinidad from Babylon-don.

Which is not to say I’m not enjoying the brain freeze. Truth be told, my head needed some cooling after the heat that was this year.

I needed to chill out, literally. Relax for a bit and take some time out from being my Trinidad self. The uptight, serious self. The repressed-in-a-box self that can only do so much and say so much and be so much to be acceptable.

To resist and be unacceptable is full-time work. And I’m still not sure why I do it, except that it feels right. Because if we were all to sit back and choose our battles and think that we can’t stop the tide of callous industrialisation while we all languish in our post slavery/indentureship/colonialism trauma psychosis then who would save us?

Who better to save us but ourselves? Who else understands it but us? Who else can give a name to feeling like cheated out of a safe, clean, progressive nation?

To be a no-woman in a yes-man town is hot, slavish, unrewarding and friendless work.

But in the freezing fog and the darkness by four in the afternoon, I find a calming coolness.

It occurred to me so many times in the past few months, just how hot and bothersome my little rock could be. Between the concrete buildings, and all that hot air rising from the Red House and Whitehall and Centre of Excellence and Rienzi Complex, T&T people have had to put up with a lot of heat.

And the people, Jah knows Trinidad people have a kind of heat that is more than temperature. It’s hotter than the armpits of hell up in here and some of us are content to get a contract to add fuel to the fire. The heat in our heads somehow doesn’t translate into a warmth in our hearts.

The heat is more than sexual or mental. More than black women who have never been told they are beautiful trying to outdo each other for $1,000 in a night club dutty wine competition. More than the carbon dioxide emissions of two or three aluminium smelters. More than cutting down a mangrove to create a whole town devoted to American consumerism.

It’s as if the sun and the politics and the concrete buildings and the humidity have us at boiling point. The melting pot is on the brink of a meltdown and it’s not occurring to anyone to turn down the fire.

Yet if I am to believe my Rasta bredrins, nothing can out this fire. So we are doomed to sweat it out.

I reflect on the coolness of my head standing on train platforms, gloved hands deep in jacket pockets. Dancing on one spot so that I don’t turn into a big dread icicle. The other people on the platform take no notice of me. And it’s such a relief.

It’s one of the many things I miss about life in Babylon-don. Being anonymous. Being able to walk down the street and not be sexually harassed by the supposedly indecent men and then be studiously ignored by the supposedly decent ones. To not feel pretentious because I’m lost in my little iPod world listening to John Coltrane or whistling Beethoven’s 9th and not Capleton.

To not feel like freak when I ask for the recycling bin or look for vegan and organic labels on my food.

But it’s clear to me now that Babylon-don is not and probably could never be my home. I like plantain more than I like parsnips, you see. I’d rather wear rubber slippers than knee-high boots and my shoulders miss the sting of morning sun.

On the platform at four and the darkness engulfs as quickly and silently as the freezing fog.

I can defend myself from the coldness, the iciness of winter like a fist squeezing the joy out of your heart. I’m looking forward to going home, but short of installing an air-condition unit in head, I can’t figure out a way to beat the heat.

 

 

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