Where I live, I am strategically positioned to get the doo-doop from a plethora of Carnival fetes. Ambassador up one side, Country Club down another, PTSC Grounds behind, Savannah over yonder, with a view of the Stadium flood lights from my room.
But daz all I can do. Watch de lights from afar and take de bass from a distance. And clutch my wallet and bank statements feverishly while chanting: “Must…qualify…for…mortgage…”
See, food prices, alchohol prices, housing prices, and electricity prices are on the increase. A single salary cyah buy you much dese days, let alone a house. Playing with all-inclusive Carnival bands now averages about TT$3,000 (US$500). Gym memberships to help you look good in said all-inclusive bands aren’t usually less than TT$300 monthly, and can can go up to $600 a month, not even factoring in the cost of a trainer. And as the anticipation mounts, Carnival fetes are typically no less than TT$450, and can be up to $600 and $700 apiece. And daz before yuh even study yuh dan dan.
(Then again, in an interest to be judged “Cream of the Crop”, or ripe for the picking, or a “prrtee little lady”, or something of the sort for a fete like “Gyirl Farm”, I suppose the lure is too great… Who needs a mortgage when I can “thank” a “farmer” for buying my ticket to the pardy? Pick me, pick me!)
So it amazes me when every Carnival, it seems that Trinis embrace being broke as a joke. There’s something vital about the Trini psyche in that approach, and with all things, reveals both our glory and our shame. We know how to love life, sieze the moment, make merry out of the most meagre of situations… But we also doh know when to sacrifice a little instant gratification with the view to rewards to come later. It’s like we don’t trust anything but the here and now, and don’t have faith even in ourselves to build on the present, to achieve more in the future. Dat whole sustainable development ting. All the things we agitate about throughout the year get pushed to the backburner (or taken off the stove altogether) to make space for Carnival madness. And yes, de vibes nice. But trouble doh take time off to party.
But people does tell me I does study too much. So allyuh, take a jump fuh meh?