Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's All Good. But You Have To Dig A Little.

Regular readers know that this blog is many things. Amongst them is its role as a mental note pad, that can be as simple as a place to acknowledge how I feel as well as somewhere to pay tribute to some one else. Today, I'm going to hit that mode, but not in depth and not with any sense that I will follow up on any point. It's flows as I write, and in so doing the image I have will be a tribute to Clint Eastwood.

The Good: I just called my little daughter as she was having breakfast: I always sit with her in the mornings, and we talk and joke and get the day off to a calm start. She told me that she had made her own tea, pouring the hot water herself, using a kitchen mitt. I was impressed and told her that I was also having a cup of tea. She wanted to know when I would be back, and regaled me with how she would take my bed space while I stayed away and when I came back she would still want that space. I should have said that I would sleep in her room but I save that.

I also went for a walk yesterday and found myself 'loved' by some waitresses in a little cafe. They told me that I could have a snack then brought me a meal that made my ordering dinner seem gluttonous.I also found a young man in a computer store who was so honest about the product that he told me its virtues and just let me decide if it worked for me. We looked at my blog and he did what many people fail to do; he remembered the address perfectly just on seeing it once. He was paying attention to someone else: a rare attribute these days. Try to see how much of what you say to some one today they remember at the end of the conversation.

The Bad?: A cousin sent me a message last night. "Hi. Give me a call. It's urgent." I sent back a message "If it's urgent why not call me." Urgent and urgency are the words used in bureaucracies to get people to jump. Rarely, in fact never in my experience, has any urgent matter been such. It might have been high in a person's consciousness, but it was also something that if left for a day or longer would not really have had any different outcome. He called me and told me that an aunt had just died (a sister of our respective mothers), and that it was a mystery what had been wrong. He told me how he had had an urge to visit the aunt recently and she had mentioned no problems. I told him about 'coincidence' and how this time the message had not been passed. While I was upset to hear of the death, it was a fact and had happened many hours ago in Jamaica. I had tried to help her and her son set up businesses but that had not worked and I had wondered about how some people do not manage to get their dreams to be real even with all that is necessary in place. I still do not know.

But he's not off the hook yet. He told me that he had been trying to call me on a US number but could not get me. Eventually, I asked him to check if he had the right number. He cited a number that was good but had had to be given up when I left the US several years ago. He has all my numbers for where I live now and has spoken to me often using those numbers. Why not send me a message to confirm the number he is trying? We each have BlackBerries. I answer messages promptly. I asked him why he persisted with something that was not working when he had something that he knew works well. I always say if it makes no sense then it's nonsense.

So, the urgency was what? His need to tell me? His need for me to know? His need to get my phone numbers right? I'm not sure. If I could have saved my aunt's life with a phone call, then that would have been urgent. Last weekend he had had to rush back to Jamaica to deal with a need to operate on a patient. That's urgent. But, I try to put things in a positive light. Urgent matters are about life and death, so when a person has died there is no urgency regarding them. "Urgency" is one of those bully word that people use to get others' attention. I try to avoid it, and it cost me a bit when I worked. But, I will hold my view.

The Ugly?: I am travelling in the USA. The ostensible reason is that a chance meeting in Barbados led to the suggestion that I make a trip to see a sports event. Never done it before. Seemed like fun. Took the offer. But, like a scam I was left holding a bill and having no goods to show for it. Well, not the offered ones.

But, I did get to use Wi-Fi while flying. Whoooo!

I got to visit a city to which I had never been before. A lovely piece of America's history that has people who know what loyalty means to country, to industry, to sportsmen. They have done their parts and with the amazing success of their sports teams the city's head is always in the clouds. Nice.

I got to take up an offer from two friends to visit them, though neither turned out to be in town when I arrived: that was just bad luck and one friend (a Jamaican, whom I met in Guinea through our work) has given me his apartment and car for the days I am here. Ironically, he had to head to New York City, which I had just left!Having had my fill of tennis there, he was now going to do Daddy things like get his six year old into school...and try to see some tennis. My other friend, an American lady, with whom I had worked on saving from economic ruin some former Soviet Union country, and like me has now resigned to do her own thing, had to travel to Europe. But, in all that, we found that these two friends are virtually neighbours. The suburb where they live is a place where back a few decades they could not have been neighbours. No way. But look now.

I want to come back to visit both of them and make a trip with my daughters, big and small; in fact 'big Miss' just had an operation on her shoulder and as Percocet was kicking in she was begging me to drive to see her. I had to say no as it would be half a day of driving and only a few hours of loving. She understood, but I hope that that decision was not a bad one.

Today, I will try to do in a day what should be tried in a week. I will visit downtown and soak up all of its history. Who am I fooling? This city has some of the most famous universities in the USA and a walk around one of them would be a day well spent. But, I will just drive by. I will walk to the riversides and look and think back through the economic fortunes that have been seen and lost. I will hope to carry the image of my aunt and my cousins in the front of my mind and see them all as proud members of one side of a family that has so many different stories to tell.

I know that every day I am lucky to have the experiences that I do. So, all is good, no matter how it may seem at first or on the outside.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Hello Sir, this is Michael from the computer store! I imagine you're no longer in Pittsburgh but I hope things are going well for you whenever you may be. It was great talking to you. I'll keep checking in on your blog every now and then!