Dum Dum Dum
What to write for my first log for this new blog? (Hey, that rhymes) I had had something in mind but it slipped away. Yeah, it happens a lot. Ah yes! Here I was coming home and slipping into a car at my stand when I notice there’s a shilling on the seat next to me. Without thinking I pick it up and throw it into the tray between the driver’s seat and the front passenger’s seat. He doesn’t notice since he’s busy yapping away to the lady at the front but it brings a past experience to mind, back in my careless, well not totally for me, but happy none the less, school days. I remember I was dressed up for one of my favourite holidays, Emancipation Day. Now for those of you who are either foreign or like to conveniently forget that you ‘is trini’, check the following links to see what Emancipation day is about.
Anyway, there I was rushing off to the Kambule* when I spied a five dollar green casually descend from an unsuspecting gentleman’s pocket as he rushed off in front of me. Being the gem that I was then (ha!) I immediately scooped it up before it could find its way into another man’s pocket and returned it to the poor man who it ran away from. I will never forget the look the man gave me. I might have been an alien for all he knew and he seemed puzzled as to why I would come pelting and hailing behind him to return five dollars??
He took it mind you, with wonder as to how it had exited his pocket to begin with and again giving me the same incredulous expression of puzzlement (think of the way your brain sticks when someone tells you a thigh-slapping joke, well at least for them, and you just don’t get it), THAT was his face. It was only after I walked off beaming in the light of my good deed that would make any mother proud of her children, when it occurred to me that maybe that was the very thing that had caused the man’s confusion. He was suffering from acute shock of being blindsided by an honest person. I had never really thought about honesty then. Some things were the right thing to do and others were just not. Even if you could hide it from others you couldn’t hide it from yourself and frankly I’ve always been my biggest critic. The LAST person I want to get into an argument with is myself. Forgive me for sounding a bit loca but there’s no end to such an argument as it is impossible to ever leave yourself alone. Have I ever stolen? Milk and Sugar? Sure! But that’s because I saw the contents of those carefully screw-topped bowls at home (as if that could stop me, ha!) as partly mine. And I could either eat it now or later. But to deliberately take something of someone else’s…eh?
I tried once you know. Failed miserably. Was at the market with mummy once when I was younger and dared myself. Take that apple, you can do it! Please. Didn’t even touch it. Just merely leaned against it and gently nudged it into her market bag. Dramas! Because once it was in there I wanted it out! All the thoughts were going through my head (my ‘darn’ self again). What if the vendor saw me? Which he clearly didn’t because he didn’t even see when I put it back. And worst yet, what would happen if my mother glanced into the bag and saw it? What position that would put her in knowing she didn’t put it there? Would anyone blame her if they found out? Would she suspect it was me and make me put it back (make out scene in front the vendor!) or would she not say anything and be an accomplice to my plan? That would have probably been the worst for me. To see my mother walk away knowing the forbidden fruit was in her market bag with her other ‘paid for’ produce, and me knowing it was stealing. I couldn’t live with making my mother an accessory to my crime!!!
I know you’re saying, ‘is jus’ ah apple, relax’. But this was a big deal to my, how old could I have been then, ten maybe, yes, a big deal to my ten year old mind. Neither of the adults noticed the inner turmoil going on in my little brain and eventually the apple was back among its friends and I was on my way home. It’s amazing how adults really don’t pay attention to what children are doing. I guess though that a child’s perception of what is right and wrong is greatly shaped by their parent’s ideas of the concept. And ideas are not simply words but actions as well. People think children are air-headed, play hyped sugar rushed little bees but they notice things to. Like everytime you hide whenever the Jehovah’s Witnesses pass by. That doesn’t say much to a child’s ability to confront a situation. All it says to them is, ‘when something comes along that you would rather not deal with, hide.’ It’s amazing how detrimental that thinking can be for them in later life. Or when you sit and ‘bad talk’ a neighbour with a friend and then ‘bad talk’ the friend when the neighbour comes over to lime* in your gallery. That says to your child, that it’s okay to talk behind other peoples back about them and then smile to their face as long as they don’t find out about it. This only teaches children to be deceitful which is an easy way to lose good friends and gain real enemies.
When I think about it my main concern at that time was what would happen to my mother, what she would say, think and do. I didn’t care so much about the vendor. I didn’t even really want his lil’ apple, but I must admit that I don’t have much of a taste for apples anyway and I think that incident must have been the root of the cause. He was smart not to put the mangoes on the edge. Them was going home! Definitely! I’ve learned a little more than much in my 6-7 years in the work place and I’ve found myself numb sometimes to the ability to really care about some things due to my blind work pace and tiredness. This zombie nature tends to make us forget everything from manners to respect to kindness to simple observances of right and wrong for the sake of just getting through the day, or paying back the boss for the stress or whatever it is. I must admit that sometimes I still go through the inner ‘do it, no, don’t do it’ battle but every now and then I surprise myself, with a kind of knee jerk reaction that reflects my inner values from my first lessons. I don’t have to think, I just do. Yeah, it was just a shilling but I never once thought about keeping it until after it was in the driver’s coffer, of course. And I had realised just how easy it was to really be an honest person. For a moment and then we’re back to the world.