Coming from work… The driver advised me to be careful when crossing the road. She said she is always fearful for pedestrians in Trinidad. If there is an accident, there is great possibility of a fatality. She said she has travelled wide and far internationally and still feels that fear when she is home. The Italians are loud, so they would shout at you through their car window, but the French just ‘bounce’ you. Trinidad has its French history, so wherever there’s an accident we can assume there’s a driver with a little French in his blood. Probably trying to french-kiss the other car.
I went to out seeing two clients. One is in her 60s and had a ‘slight’ stroke, but looks okay. She likes to sit with her legs over the chair handle, and can move her hands and speak. The relative who hired me told me that she ‘refuses’ to walk, and my job would include getting her to change her mind. A stroke is a stroke. Slight and severe aid conversation, but damage is done whether or not such is visible. It is possible that the patch of brain cells associated with walking was sufficiently deprived of oxygen to create this refusal-to-walk outcome. When I was finished massaging her I left the room as a visitor had arrived. As I was signing the time-book the visitor exited the room explaining to the Nurse that my client was sleeping. I found this curious. After the visitor left the building we pushed the door and called out her name. She turned in bed and waved to us. We asked if she was okay. She said: Yes. Hmmm. No tricks, no living. The other client is blind. I inquired how was lunch and she said it was good, except for the pepper in the food. I checked with the Cook, and she said my client’s taste-buds are blind because she does not cook with pepper. The massage got going and my client told me of how she slept well after the last massage I gave her. The Nurse asked her what the Therapist looked like. She said I was a nice dougla girl with soft ‘cocopañol’ hair like hers. The Nurse told her she will get a Therapist with a ‘ras’ for her next time. No! Not me and that, nah! Rasta too nasty. The Nurse insisted that the rasta Therapist does a very good job too. No! She felt for my hand and said she will keep her dougla Therapist. Hmmm.
As I worked with her, another resident who sat nearby, opened a book and read: ‘I under-married. Most women do.’ What you think about that? I said it was a very interesting observation after the fact. She said what a woman is, is not something that most men can understand, hence they cannot appreciate us. You might fall in love with a man in college, and if you get married, you have to transform his life, and raise your children with diligence because while he might have money and education, he has no morals. I said I think men under-marry too. Yes, but it’s pips for them. They like to keep you indebted. I see. She said that some women develop themselves and come up to par. But you know what I notice? If you develop yourself too much before the marriage, you end up under-marrying because the men at your level are already married. You know what that means? You have to put up with the fools at home, or have affairs with the ones you can relate to. Eh-em!
I had a student there with me and he worked with some of the residents. As we walked down the road I asked for his feedback on the session. He said it was ‘cool’ except for one gentleman. Silence. I told him I was listening. Well, Mr. Gentleman had indicated that he wanted his arms and legs massaged, but by the time the student got to him he decided on his back. So off to bed he went with the student in tow. During the massage he remarked that he had prostatic cancer which was ‘eating’ his sperms and he had to have surgery which included the removal of one testicle. He used the opportunity to counter accusations levelled at him by the Nurses which said that he tries to peep at the female residents and that he swore he would rape somebody. He said that is baseless because he does not get an erection, there are no sperms, and he has no desire to masturbate, even if he could. I thought that was very educational, but the student found it disturbing to be in possession of this information. He said that Mr. Gentleman was very eager to show him his lone testicle and the degree of shrinkage his penis now experiences which renders him incapable of sexually harming anyone. He had to put some effort into persuading him not to remove his pants.
Coming from work… The driver was one of those law-breakers – only going short. I got into the front seat and slouched. It was going to be a longer ride than usual since we were on the Easter Main Road. I was too lazy to go to the Bus Route. A little after we pulled off he slowed down and shouted to a driver headed in the opposite direction. Eh! Eh! Meh sista seh yuh gone thru! The other driver pretended not to hear him. Further along we stopped at a traffic light and the shouted over to yet another driver. Ah find you is a wicked Muslim. Yuh wicked! I was waiting to hear on what grounds, but the light changed and we moved along. He pointed the maxi ahead of us. See he? He is a Christian you know. A Christian. He drove up faster and slowed down alongside the maxi. Ah find you moving real f…up. Real f…up! The driver did not respond. We drove past him. He turned to me and said: Only the other day he was in pampers, now he back on de road. Again, I was looking for the basis of all this and trying to make a connection with being a Christian, moving f…up, and wearing pampers. I came off before my stop. He said he thought I was going to San Juan. I was, but I also had enough of him depriving me of the relaxing ride I had anticipated.
That reminds me… I attended one of those HIV/AIDS workshops and the presenter remarked about the irony of us trying to deal with a virus that is heavily aligned with sexual behavior, but we don’t want to talk about sex. He went around the room soliciting responses to the personal meaning of sex. We had: reproduction, relationship, intimacy, comfort, pleasure, marriage, etc. His assistant wrote the words on the board. Then he went to the board and wrote: FucKing. There was a hush across the room. He said this is what sex means to the average person, and inquired whether anyone had a problem with that word. A man raised his hand to indicate that he did. The presenter asked what was his problem with the word. The man said he did not like that the presenter was mixing capital and common letters. Laughter filled the room. The presenter erased the word and wrote: Fucking. When I got out of bed that morning I had no idea I was going to be locked away with professionals who had license to swear. Brash, sassy, crass, but it was an education.
During our group session I heard: that women are now ‘empowered’ and the concept that they are unable to negotiate protection during sex could be a misrepresentation. Really? That condoms are still associated with ‘affairs’ and many men do not care for them in their ‘stable’ relationships, nor do they care to be carted off every six months to do the HIV test. Nice. That sex is supposed to be a relaxant, not a stressor and all this run around is too much. I concur. But, in the name of love a woman might gently remind her partner of his protection obligation, and he’d use the opportunity to whisper 100 loving reasons why they should not disrupt the foreplay. Does the ‘empowered’ woman jump out of the bed and leave him when she too is dizzily aroused? He might feel it’s part of the foreplay and chase her around the bedroom. What about the ‘empowered’ women who are privately disempowered and repeatedly raped by their spouses? How do they protect themselves from HIV? One participant said that AIDS is the result of loose behaviour and people should stick to their husband or wife. Hello, could someone tell her how many husbands and wives we’ve buried while prostitutes are still alive plying their trade. Thanks.
We have buried in excess of 34 million people in the 33 years the public battle with AIDS has been going on. The figure is higher because not every case is reported. I’d say we need to change the conversation because the wrath of God perspective is not reducing the death count. My whispered contribution was that the vagina is like the cozy corner of a favourite restaurant specifically designed for entertaining the penis, but the penis sometimes visits with diseased friends that could endanger the lives of future visiting penises. Further, some of these friends have the potential to destroy the whole restaurant. I’d suggest a sign on the sidewalk outside restaurant:
DRESS CODE IN EFFECT
Okay, I need to get back to what I was saying…
On this occasion I had just left a client who squeezed my hand and whispered: Ah fed up. Ah tired living like this. This ain’t no life. She asked if I had a phone so she could call her daughter. I did have one, but I told her I might be breaching some protocol in lending it to her. She did not like that and took her hand off me. Hmmm. Then she asked me to take her to urinate. I told her the Nurse will do that when they wheel her to her room. I advised the Nurse that I was ready do the massage, but that she wanted to go to the washroom first. The Nurse told her to urinate in the pamper. She protested saying it feels wet and sticky and she does not like that. Everything is sticky. After I massage her I usually have to wipe her skin dry before I leave. She wants no trace of oil. Once she was settled in bed I got started. She said now that she knows me a little better she can confide in me. I did not respond. She said she ‘saw real trouble’ to ‘grow’ her children and now her daughter (for whom she built an 8-apartment house so that she’d always have in income from the tenants) comes to see her when she pleases, and her son took over her Real Estate business and is ‘spending up’ her money on a woman ten years his junior, and every time she asks to see the account book, he promises the next time he visits. There was knock on the door. Another resident entered holding a used pamper and asked where she could put it. We had no idea. She said she probably ate ‘bad food’ because she suddenly had diahorrea. I told her we might need to inquire who else had a similar reaction before we can decide that the food was bad. She smiled and closed the door. My client continued the lament about her children. Listen, health is everything. You could have husband, and money, and house, and car, but if you don’t have health then your dog is better than you. Point taken.
Later that evening I was back on the road going to see a client who was coming to see me, but his schedule changed. I had intended to rest after working with him because I was out all morning, and having learnt of the change via email, I went to bed. The appointment was made the day before because he wanted a guaranteed slot. He got it, and couldn’t keep it. If something changed on his side, then something had to change on mine. When I awoke I saw an email asking if I could still make it over to his location. I began responding and he called. I agreed to go see him in an hour. When I got there I could not find his room. It was in another building on the compound which I would have passed on the way in. Excellent. The Receptionist made contact with him and he came out to meet me barefooted. No time wasted, the massage got started after my hands were washed. What are we dealing with? An adventurer who is into aerial photography, and had an accident that took him into surgery to replace L4 and fuse everything below that. The massage was not going well because his legs were very hairy and there seemed to be sand in his hair. I asked about the sand. Oh! No, that’s salt. He was out in the sea. I see. I asked if he could go into the bath and dissolve the salt. The salt and oil were reacting and creating a strange drag. When he returned the massage went better. We agreed that the lower back needed most of my attention. Working inferior to superior, I could feel a prolonged hard smooth surface before the hump representing L4. He is thankful he’s not in a wheelchair somewhere. Translation, he is thankful that he was working for the right company when the accident occurred so that excellent surgeons took his case.
When he turned over I inquired about the peripheral nerves. What did they do with them. They’re there, just not as they would have been naturally. There was some redirecting. I see…that his penis moved like the needle of a thermometer in warm water. There was nothing heated about what I was doing so it did not go all the way up. But I saw, that whatever they did with his nerves did not adversely affect his manhood. Excellent indeed. I asked if there was anything else I should know. He said there was continuous shocking along the tibia. That makes sense. I treated him for shin splints. That’s it. Massage ended. Washed my hands again and emerged to hear him say: I have to ask… Do you do any other service? It’s always fascinating how the vaguest questions are asked when something specific is desired. I waited for him to clarify his question. He didn’t. I began putting on my sandals. He asked again. I told him I believe that our journey together has ended. There is nothing more for me to do. He got off the bed and paid me, and remarked that he was feeling much better. Said he could bend and touch his toes. Good! And I thought, if ‘other service’ implied validating his potency, then he should have read the tourist advisory that says: in this neck of the woods there’s no benefit to a woman if a man could touch his toes…that’s usurping her role.
Coming from work… The driver recounted being in a store where a pretty young lady, just like that, started to take off her clothes and ranted and raved while doing #1 and #2. She attracted quite an audience. He said there was a ‘Mother’ standing near him who was kind enough to explain to those nearby that the lady was being ‘disciplined with shame’ as she would have been given instructions by an ‘angel’ during her period of ‘mourning’ which she failed to carry out. This instruction could have been preaching on the road corner, walking miles ringing a bell, giving alms, etc. He insisted that God is forbearing and does not do embarrass us (Really? He needs to read his Bible) so to him the whole mourning process facilitates the entrance of demons that like to wield their power through humans. It’s not his fault that History neglected to tell us whether Moses did #1 and #2 when the bush started burning and a voice came from it, or Samuel when he realized who was calling him, or Jesus when the Holy Ghost descended on him, or the woman with the issue of blood when she heard an authoritative voice ask: who touched me?
Plenty people did #1 and/or #2 in public places, we’re just not privy to it, so we continue to pick sides. Meanwhile, duality marches on. If I’m for nature, then I’m carnal. If I’m for super-nature, then I’m spiritual. And further, if I say I am spiritual, I must clarify whether it’s angelic or demonic when within both dwells. A house divided against itself will not stand. Don’t make me rip myself apart just to fit a particular profile. Perceived ‘evil’ has its purpose or it would not have existed. Think of the man who spent years studying the science of Accounting and now occupies the corner office with a panoramic view of the gulf and the hills. He has been rewarded for paying attention to laws nature regarding figures. He has been emptying himself and refilling it with Accounting knowledge for years, and now he is at a stage where he can manipulate the laws of Accounting and create order out of chaos. We applaud him, we don’t say he is possessed by Accounting. The supernatural has its laws too that ensure the efficacy everything from miraculous healings, to sweating rice. The practitioners of such had to pay enough attention to the laws and masters them just like the Accountant did.
‘Mourning’ is an emptying of oneself to facilitate something else. Why should it be negatively labelled? Remember opportunity favours the prepared, so the young lady has prepared herself for something, just as the Accountant has, just like we all do… Mastery of any sort comes with overshadowings, indwellings, spontaneous enlightenment… If we want Red Seas parted and meat falling from the sky, the Piper will play the appropriate tune to facilitate such, but he must be paid. And while we judge each other, we can recall times when we were in a jam and wanted to get out so badly that we agreed to pay without even knowing who is the Piper or how the tune will affect us in the long run.
To me, it’s about knowledge. I’ve heard it said that Knowledge is a person. If the gravity of that hits home then we know that we are all possessed by something. Every time we detox something fills the space we created. Every time we do Yoga we align ourselves with something allowing it more access to us. Every time we watch TV or read a book we are taking in knowledge of some kind. This person called Knowledge testifies for us, and against us. It is not bias. When the Accountant is lauded for his genius, that’s Knowledge testifying for him. When Police forces him into a back seat with handcuffs on because he embezzled a little too much, that is Knowledge testifying against him. When the young lady is manifesting in Church and members blessing the hearts of many, that’s knowledge testifying for her. Maybe what the driver witnessed in the store was a testimony against her. Or maybe not. She could have been emptying herself for a fresh infilling. It’s not cut and dry.
I would say that the demonstration of a high level of competence in any skill we choose is the result of having acquired the spirit of the thing itself. If Knowledge is a person, then that person has a spirit, and the depths to which we desire to experience a particular skill will motivate us to go to the lengths necessary to activate spontaneous manifestation of that knowledge. Remember that morally upright young man who went to Jesus asking: what lack I yet? He was told to sell all he has, give to the poor and come follow Jesus. Translations: You are too full, empty yourself and come get the spirit of thing itself. Come get the spirit of giving. We all know Lawyers, Therapists, Cleaners, Teachers, Electricians, etc. who are exceptional. Don’t envy them. Mourn. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall become exceptionally competent. Hats off to the young lady for adopting the beatitude.