For J’Ouvert, I was Death playing mas in Trinidad. Roaming the road, sharp silver scythe in hand, culling those closest to the ground, and knowing neither law nor sin.
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Can’t buy me love
One Valentine’s Day, mainly out of curiosity, I had offered to help out in a friend’s flower shop at Gulf City Mall, San Fernando. Apart from Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day was the busiest day in my friend’s establishment, so he was glad when I had asked if I could assist. Next week I’ll write about it from a Tobago perspective, but this is what I learned in Trinidad.
I spent that day-into-night surrounded by hundreds of red roses and different flowers (lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums...) witnessing with up-close fascination the frenzied commercial mass phenomenon which is promoted as “love.” Mainly men came in to buy flowers. Their expressions ranged from stressed, confused, scared, embarassed, to innocent, hopeful, eager, Casanova-ish. Some would come in and mumble something quickly under their breath, forming an entire sentence into one incomprehensible word:
“Ahcometobuysomeflowersfuhmuhgirlfriendwhatallyuhhave?”... seemingly embarrassed to be buying flowers—akin to going to a supermarket to buy tampons or sanitary pads for “their woman.” Most of the men had interesting ways of asking for flowers. One man came in and said simply: “Ah want flowers.” One man came in, cast a swift glance around, pointed to rose bouquets awaiting collection in a corner and said, “Gimme one a dem ting like dat.”
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