Saturday, 18 August 2007

Patriot Games

Hurricane Dean is wallowing into the islands north of us. Makes me ponder a peculiar idiosyncrasy of my countrymen - namely their deep-rooted conviction that God is a Trini. It makes for a certain... complacency.

Every other island in the Caribbean falls right inside the hurricane belt. Trinidad is located just south of the southernmost reaches of this swath. What this means is that we generally get tropical storm warnings and even hurricane warnings when a big storm is threatening the islands, but those storms don't hit us full on. Our sister island Tobago is a few miles north of us and as such isn't as lucky.

About 15 years ago a hurricane was running south of the usual path and the weather centres predicted that we would get a direct hit. Panic ensued. Supermarkets, gas stations, etc were packed with frantic Trinis who waited until the last possible moment to venture out and buy up everything in sight. If the generalized feelings at the time could be encapsulated into one word, that word would be 'unprepared'. So strong is the belief that God would never visit a full-fledged hurricane on this island - He's a bona fide citizen after all - that many people ignored all warnings and threw hurricane parties. Popular watering holes overflowed with merrymakers on the night the storm was supposed to slam into the island. The lager and rum flowed, people danced in the streets...

Yeah. Down here we're crazy that way.

It so happened that the eye of the hurricane passed precisely midway between Trinidad and Tobago, and the storm proceeded to devastate Venezuela. You'd think that such a near miss, that the news of widespread death and destruction on our South American neighbour would have sobered us up a bit, huh? That we'd swear to act more responsibly the next time around? Heed the warnings, be prepared?

Uh-uh. The next day, the national conviction was stronger than ever. Faith was fully restored. We had nothing to fear. Ever.

After all, God is a Trini.


PJ said...

I heard that the current hurricane might be heading towards Jamaica. Now God might be a Trini, but he definitely isn't Jamaican.

wordtryst said...

pj, my fellow Trinis would say - "Damn right".

I'm praying for Jamaica and the other places in the path of the storm. It's all I can do...

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Wait God is a Trini? I thought he was a St. Martiner.

Seriously, glad to see eveything is okay on your island. Dean really did some damage in other place.

wordtryst said...

Nyc, yes, our luck continues to hold.

God a St. Martiner? You'll start a fight here.