27 December 2011

Sugar Mas Is In The Air

The cats are earning their keep.  As you may recall, I'm watching my girlfriend's cats while she's on winter vacation in the States.  In under one week that I've been watching them, they've already managed to trap and kill four cockroaches and a centipede!  Nebula is the more personable of the two; she finds plenty of opportunities to find me and rub up against my arm when I am at the computer table (like right now).  Pigeon stays mostly to herself, but they both make their presence felt when it's feeding time.  The effort on my part is miniscule, as it would turn out: cleaning two small litter boxes and feeding the cats twice daily is hardly a chore, and more like fair wages paid in the name of free cleaning service.  (No cobwebs when you have two diminutive, omnipresent wanderers!)  Mostly they're a pleasure to have around, whenever Nubs isn't trying to pull my septum out of my head.

The Christmas concert was Monday the 19th; it didn't offer quite as many "edgy" pieces as last year, and eliminated all of the performances differing from singing a traditional Christmas carol.  Fortunately, my friends and I were in attendance foremost for the music, but I was disappointed to see that, perhaps, the planning committee felt that the free thinking, alternative works of poetry and dance (a few of a more political persuasion, in fact) were not in the spirit of the event.  Whatever the reason, we still enjoyed reaffirming our now veritable Christmas tradition of singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus as loudly and as functionally correct as possible at the end of the service.  That's one thing that, come this time next year, I expect I will miss about not being here!

J'ouvert was a fun ride again this year.  What with it being my second go-around, I had a jump on most of the other Caucasoids that partook in this year's reveling.  Oh, and before you ask, I'm sad to report I have no picture and video this time, due to my one planning oversight: double-checking to see that the camera I brought along had an actual battery cartridge loaded in it.  Apart from this, the measures I took were largely responsible for the whole day going off without a hitch, so to speak.  I caught a lift to the meeting place no earlier than midnight, which means I had at least 3 hours of sleep before joining the others this time (plenty if you're not planning on staying up any later than noon).  I brought along both food and water this time, as much to sate my inevitable morning hunger as to avoid a regrettable migraine should the threat arise.  Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I remembered to bring ear plugs along!  I cannot overstate how critical these little devices are at a j'ouvert jump-up.  Lastly, I did virtually all of my alcohol imbibing at the meeting place before going on the march, where the drinks were mostly harder stuff like mixed rum punch and the like.  By writing in big Sharpie® letters on my hand "BEER," I didn't even have to shout my order to the bar-trailer attendants over the cacophony of the soca blaring from over a dozen amps 100 feet away.  In the end, I had the equivalent of 2 beers during the march, which settled in nicely with the principle of always following hard drinks with beer chasers, and not the other way around.  All of this planning went a great way towards making sure I actually enjoyed myself during this year's revelries.  Now if I could just find a girl to wuk up with...

I think Peace Corps are the street performers of the world.  I say this for a couple reasons: first, because the similarities are too clear to me to be denied.  We move from a place far away to a new home, often with little or no experiential concept of the place we're going, and always end up trying to make a living doing some good works under impoverished means.  Even the people we're trying to help ultimately are presented with the choice to pay attention, or else to simply ignore us completely.  And, depending on who you ask, we probably have a comparable success rate.  Furthermore, we choose to live our lives under the wary eyes of the entire community we serve, winning some hearts and minds and confounding others.  Perhaps the last one is not unlike life everywhere for most, but when the only real currency one traffics in is personal contacts, and when one has as pessimistic an outlook as myself, a single bad connection is a tougher drain on morale than half a dozen good ones can make up for.

The second reason I've been cogitating on this is because I find myself at a vulnerable point in my term of service.  With a whole three weeks to devote in part to secondary projects, namely the ones I have let languish as the 2011 work year wound down, I nonetheless prove to have difficulty summoning the emotional energy to tackle them, fearing that my best efforts will somehow prove fruitless.  So instead of being able to address these concerns by actually trying to do the work on a given day, I am hamstrung into lounging around, choosing instead to read Fahrenheit 451, or catch up on my virtual baseball team, or write this blogpost.  Can anyone offer me any clarity on where the fault in my emotional expectations lie: in the inflexible goals that I set for myself before the holiday began, or in the fear that I've doomed my own productivity by not following through on them?  As someone who derives so much of his self-esteem from his own sense of productivity, this question is deeply concerning to me; yet even as I write it, I realize that the true answer is probably a third option that I have not considered at all.

1 comment:

  1. Is this your first read-through of Fahrenheit 451?