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Category Archives: Family

Love Actually


People have asked me, if I have ever been in love and when my response results in a “No” , they are shocked. It is the common belief that we have all been in love at some point in time

By my definition or “understanding” of love, I have to say that I have been “in like”, “strong infatuation” and “in lust” way too many times, but love…ummm never!

I am sure of it!

Then this happens………

On Wednesday afternoon, I pick up my god-daughter, Kai, from school to carry her home to Chaguanas.  All is going as planned so far. We first stop off at Hi-Lo in Woodbrook to secure a juice box, some gummi bears and bottle of water. While there she spots a toy purse with Dora the Explorer plastered all over it.

Kai: Uncle Tefan can I get Dora please!

I smile and first think if her mommy would be pleased if I purchased it. Fearing a sharp scolding and probably a thump in the head, I answered Kai:

Me: No Kai, we will get you Dora for Christmas, but not now

Kai’s face gives a slightly puzzled look and continues to look at the toy.

Kai: But I want Elmo

Me: Well will see about getting you those things for Christmas

Kai: But ah want it now.

I smile and push the stuff towards the Cashier to ring up and pretend she didn’t almost win an argument with me. I can’t always be a pushover.

Ok we are off again.

photo 2

There is a heavy amount of traffic on Wrightson Road and as a result we are stuck in it with slight movement every few minutes or so. Kai was singing to a song on the radio when all of sudden it was announced:

Kai: Uncle Tefan, I need to wee wee.

Me: (slightly panicking) Oh ok Kai, we will get you to a place just now.

Traffic is not moving an inch. I see Capital Plaza (formerly Crowne Plaza) ahead and I think it is an ideal spot for her to use the bathroom.

Two minutes later……….

Kai: Uncle Tefan I think it coming down!

Now, listen, I am not about to let my goddaughter pee at the side of the road like some proletariat’s offspring so I start looking at options.

  1. I can park the car and run with her in my hands to Capital Plaza and hopefully she can make it there.
  2. I have an empty glad container in the car and she can use that until we can sort stuff out.

Ok, yes I know the last idea was very bad but I was worried about her discomfort in slow moving traffic.

We start creeping to London Street and I see this Tyre shop called “Quick Service” at the corner and realise that if traffic were moving faster we could be by Capital Plaza in no time.

Kai: Uncle Tefan I have to go.

With that statement I climb the pavement and drive into the Tyre Shop, grab her out of the car and ask the woman at the front desk if there is a customer bathroom nearby. She points me in the direction of it and we are off.

We get there only to discover that the door is locked and therefore someone is inside.

Kai: Why we not going in?

Me: Because the door is locked so that means someone is in there. Hopefully they will finish quickly to help out this little girl who needs to use the bathroom (said in the direction of the door)

Did you think that person took me on?

Oh hell no, Mr Man came took his time and came out like 5 minutes later while everyone in the store could see the child’s discomfort. He didn’t even apologise. We had to clear the way to let him pass as he was a portly gentleman and I braced myself for the smell that might follow his extended bathroom visit.

Thankfully, the smell was mild and we got through the ordeal without any soiled clothing.

Disaster averted.

We drove up to Chaguanas incident free but I did have to play Glee’s version of  Gangnyam Style like 10 times because she wasn’t interested in hearing any other song I had in my Car’s CD player or iPod.

photo 3

  After dropping her home and driving back down to town, I realised that my fear wasn’t her wetting my car seats, I worried about the humiliation she would feel over the incident and how uncomfortable the rest of the trip might have been for her.

It was at that moment that it hit me. I love this child unconditionally. My first impulse was not to protect my nice recently acquired car or the upholstery (which is normally my modus operandi when dealing with adults who sit in my car), it was the child’s well being.

Wow, am I growing up?

So this is the way love feels? Hmm not bad.

I could grow to like this!

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Family, Humor, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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How I Know You


Work Phone Rings at Desk

Me: Hello

Caller: Yeah hello ah looking for Simmons

Me: Speaking

Caller: Yeah dis is Ancil….we grow up together. You and yuh brother used to be by Aunty Dolly

Me: I don’t know an Ancil nor an Aunty dolly

Caller: it was a while ago when allyuh was young. Anyway ah calling yuh cuz yuh BROTHER tell me where u working and he said you might be able to help me

Me: Really?

Caller: Yeah i just need a $700 borrow. You go get it back Monday.

Me: So why don’t you pay whatever you have to do on Monday?

Caller: Nah it due now and since we come like family ah know you go help me out.

Me: Sir I don’t know who you are and i don’t even lend money to family.

Caller: Yuh could lend it to me. How we grow up and ting I aint go shame yuh cuz yuh mother and uncle know meh. Plus ah go give you meh ID to hold til I pay you back on Monday

Me: Sir I am sorry to say but I cannot help you .

Caller: But yuh brother say you could help me

Me: Did he now? So why didn’t he help you?

Caller: Cuz he say he aint have no money

Me: Well that is my case as well and i really don’t know you or remember you.

Caller: Call yuh brother and he will tell you who I am. Call meh back in a five when he tell you who i am. Ah trustworthy!

Me: I will call my brother but it will not change my answer.

Caller: ok

I hang up the phone.

ANTHONY SIMMONS!! WHAT DE HELL!!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Family, Humor, RANT

 

More Than Words


Some may be wondering about my absence from the world of blogging. It is not that there isn’t stuff going on in my life that I want to write about (trust me, there’s too much); it is just that when I put things into perspective sometimes (and get a tad melodramatic) I realize that what I write may be just self-involved and pointless. (Hey I did say melodramatic).

I write this because sometime in May I got an email from my music soul mate, my best buddy informing me that they had cancer.  I didn’t know what to say or do and I didn’t know how to respond to him. Weird huh?  I am known for prattling a mile a minute  for being verbose, wordy and making pointless speeches that could go on and on and yet, in that moment after reading the email, I felt alone. I felt numb. Speechless.

“Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear”

How does one write a self-indulgent blog when someone close to you is going through something bigger than any pseudo-relationship/crisis/ customer service meltdown that you might be having. All of sudden life slaps you and you begin to see that you need to grow up! I still think I am not ready to be an adult. Yes,  a 30(cough) year old man is scared to be an adult.  I have always said to most people that in most areas of my life I am adult, except when it comes to my emotions. There I think I never progressed passed the age of 14.

Unlike other people in this world, I am not accustomed to sickness or losing people in my family and when I heard the word “cancer” (which is not a death sentence anymore); it shook me to my core. What do I write to someone to express how you feel about their situation when internally you are unable to process it? I walked away from my laptop many times and just surround myself in other stuff because , honestly to acknowledge it meant that it was actually happening.

And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear, take the wheel and steer

It took me a week to write something down and even then it was feeble. It was short and all I remember writing more than once is: “Please Don’t Die”.

Thinking back on it, I realize it was a selfish request and still not supportive at all. In the midst of someone’s pain/ordeal, all I could think about was my loss of a friend.  A friend that introduced me to so much music.  A friend whose Cindy Lauper CD – Twelve Deadly Cyns and More.. I still count as mine even though it’s there because I never returned it to him… A friend who I could talk for hours on end on nonsense and 80s TV and not be ashamed. Hahahahaha. Yup… my first correspondence to him in his crisis was poor.

There were friends he told that had made regular calls to him but I didn’t know what to say when I called and I hung up the phone many times because of it.

I must admit that I am never socially prepared for bad news especially sickness and death. My way of dealing with it is to pretend that all is well and try to talk about other things while ignoring the elephant in the room. With him,  I knew this wouldn’t work. So I remained silent once again.  You have no idea how I felt like a child huddled in corner peeping out to see if the situation I did not like had changed.

It’s driven me before.  And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal

I was working on a Musical called Little Shop of Horrors at the time so I sort of claimed that as my distraction. However, it wasn’t. I was the voice of the plant (Audrey II)  and not in many scenes at all so there was always time to think. Work was hectic but there was always time to think. Think! Think! Think! Time to think but not act. Avoid. Delay Delay Delay……

Yet I came up with no solution or no introduction to a conversation with him.  He lived hundreds of miles away in another time zone so I kept on delaying the inevitable.

In May, an opportunity to do two songs at someone’s concert came up and all of sudden, I couldn’t find something to sing. I knew like over a hundred songs lyrics , and had a CD collections over 1200 albums, yet I could not think of a song.

Then it hit me that I should call him and talk to him about what to sing. Yes, this would be my intro….I wouldn’t feel awkward anymore.

I didn’t call. I couldn’t call. I trembled

Instead I chose to email him on Facebook as I had worked out in my mind that since he did not respond to my email, he must not have easy access to that account. (Yes Stefan, in the world where everyone can access everything on their phone, you picked this logic). Anyway I did it and asked for his help.

He responded.

He gave me some great advice for song choices. I used the opportunity to thank him and then I went on to explain my difficulty in talking to him about it. He laughed and just said “Stefan don’t you think I know you by now?”

It made things easier from then but I still felt stupid for not calling. What the hell is wrong with me?

Anyway, he started documenting his journey and treatment with cancer on his blog and when I saw pictures of him, I felt better about myself but I still didn’t know what to write or say.

Where do people learn this skill of sympathy/empathy? I must’ve been asleep in that class or skipped that lecture to go to a movie or something.

I have witnessed other people comforting others on loss or sickness and something inside of me keeps rolling its imaginary eyes at some of the things people say. I always promise myself not to say the stupid things other people have said but I can come up with no suitable responses. I am not a hugger so what’s left for me?

I pray.

Though I am not one to attend church religiously, God and I speak often. And trust me when I say our conversations are not about forgiveness for shouting his name in vain; these conversations are moments of reflection, of thanks, of remembrance, of the scared little 30 (cough cough) year old boy afraid to deal with grown folks problems (and there are many).

I have to call at some point. I have to do it soon. I just lack the willpower and I’m scared of the tongue lashing I will receive for not doing it sooner. Yup I am a bad friend but I am mainly a scared one.  I don’t think I am bringing across the crippling fear I feel in having a conversation with him. It burdens me.

Yes yes.. I can hear all of saying.. “Just do it already!!!” But you have no idea how it feels. This is not as easy as breaking up with someone or dismissing an employee. Nope. This is a test of Manhood, of Maturity. of Friendship. of Bravery.  Guess this is a tutorial I will have to repeat.  This is reaching out to someone and feeling helpless that you are too far away to help them in anyway or that you can’t help them at all. That hurts. I can’t have the conversation.  

I don’t have any brilliant words to express or songs to sing or…….nothing. Just this helpless feeling that if I speak, what I say will sound like empty words they have heard a million times. What makes mine different? What makes mine sound genuine when I can barely believe them myself? They sound hollow and false and clichéd. A good friend is not deserving of those words.  

What to say?

All I ask is for forgiveness upfront especially to someone who has listened to me bitch cross continent as well as on the streets ofGeneva,Port of Spain,Bridgetown, Holetown,LondonandBath….

But lately I am beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

This story is still incomplete.

I have to fix it.

Heaven help….

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Emotions, Family, Relationships, Uncategorized

 

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Drive


January 25th and February 2 (between 3pm and 4:30pm)of this year, I learnt more within that time frame than I taught humanly possible.

How come?

Those were the two days that I had to pick up my god-daughter Kai from school and drop her home to Chaguanas. Working within thePort of Spain, I am her parents’ back up in case they cannot make it in time to pick her up from school.

They told me about this arrangement like a year ago but who knew the day would actually come. On January 25, I got the call around 1:00pm about the “pick up”.  I was terrified.

I wondered if Kai would actually leave the school with me as she is not a child that goes to everyone she knows easily. She has moods and moments. It take s her a while to warm up to people depending on the mood.

Strange that I wasn’t worried about the teachers or the school but my only god-daughter’s reaction to me. Rejection in any form is not nice.

Anyway, after panicking a bit and picking up a few snacks for her to have on the way home, I arrived safely in front of the daycare and got a nice parking spot.

Her kindergarten is like Fort Knoxand I had to show ID and announce myself to be allowed in.

I walked over to the area where she was and she came to me looking a little sleepy but there was calm. We got her knapsack and lunch kit and walked out to my car. She was quiet.  

Ah want to go home” was the first sentence uttered while buckling her into the back seat.

“That’s where we are going Kai”

“Ah want to go home”

“Kai, you will be home just now ok?”

“If you are hungry, there are some snacks right next to you ok?”

OK” she said very quietly.

I drove off and told her that we are going to the supermarket to get her some juice and then we will be heading home. No response.

One minute later:

“Can I have a snack please?”

“Sure Kai. Which one”

She pointed to the Motts Fruit Snack (tastes like gummi bears). I opened up the pack for her and she ate them all in the 2 minutes it took for us to get to Hi-Lo Woodbrook.

We come out of the car and I carry her into Hi-Lo. I pick up another pack of gummi bears, a small bottle of water and a small pack of juice. While cashing for it, the cashier and a lady behind her keep looking back and forth between Kai and myself to see some sort of resemblance…Sigh Trinis…

Anyway, we were back in the car and off we went….right back into Traffic!1 Ugh I detest TRAFFIC!!.  It is one of the reasons that I refuse to move back East. I rather live in the West than have to deal with this bumper to bumper traffic to get out of Port of Spain.

All in well in the car and then I hear, “Oops”

“What happened Kai?”
“I dropped some of the chips”

I looked in the back and ALL of the chips from the Plantain chip snacks were either on the ground or on the seat.  I managed to get some into a plastic bag I had for garbage and promised her to deal with the rest later.

“Untle Stefan, it scratching meh leg. Ah don’t want to sit down here.”

With this crisis, I had to pull out of traffic to the side of the road, take her out of the seat. Clean it and then put her back in. I made her stand on the other side of the back seat while I cleaned everything. She insisted on wanting to sit behind me while I drove. That wasn’t happening.

Time elapsed: 15 minutes from pick up.

By the time we got to the highway, she had spilt juice on herself and I wiped that up with even taking my eye off the road. Now that she had warmed up to me, the talking started and it seemed as if it would never end

 “What is this?”

“I don’t like dat music. Turn it off”

“Ah want some breeze.”

“Untle Stefan ah want to get a juice for mommy”

“What is this shadow?”

“Ah want to put up the shade”

“Can I take off the seat belt” “NO!!”

“Ah want to go home”

“Where we going?”

“Ah want some more juice please.”

This went on for what seemed like an eternity and folks I have to say that I failed to take control. The music was turned off briefly until I realised that I must be going am dot let a child dictate my pace. The windows went down also and the “air Con” was turned off, just to accommodate her. Sigh….the love of a child.

Then it came.

“Untle Stefan I wil sleep when I go home. Ok?”

“Kai, if you want you can sleep now.”

And with that, she was out like a light. My heart was filled with joy as she slept the rest of the way to her house.  Taking her out of the car when we got to her house brought on a weird feeling that I couldn’t shake no matter how hard I tried.

Kai Sleeping

 

I want this! I want this headache of taking care of a child. I want to have someone hug you like this unconditionally. I want to be able to mould a young mind into an upstanding member of society. Yes, this is what I want!! The feeling inside was strong. It felt good having this young child hold me and not want to let go.

Honestly, I like the idea of having a child (or two) and being seen around with an infant and people asking those inquisitive questions and women looking on at you with grins on their faces as you take care of a young one…well these things are nice.

Fifteen minutes later, Kai was awake and active again and wanted to play with me. And not just normal sit on lap and play with my iPad type play; no she wanted to run up and down outside.

By the time I got back into my car and finally got home, I was exhausted. The feeling had also left me and I was back to the “so good to be single” mode.  What was I thinking?

Thursday Feb 5th cam around and I got to do the trip all over again. This time. She did not sleep a wink in the car. She talked non-stop for the ENTIRE ride.

Kai Eating

The warm fuzzy feeling of wanting children, never returned with the same force it did the first time. However, I can’t escape the undeniable pleasure that I get from spending time with Kai and hopefully we will continue to have a good relationship as she grows up.

I do however realise that at the end of the day, the idea of children is a wonderful one. The responsibility for taking care of them…well that scares the black off of my skin.

 

 

God bless parents!!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Emotions, Family

 

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Comfort Zone


Ah Christmas! That magical time where we all throttle off to church for Mass to remember the birth of Jesus and then come home to ask the children: “Let’s see what Santa brought you?” Sigh.. umm weren’t you just in church? Why are you lying to people already? Awww…..that magical time where we forget the true meaning of Christmas.

Giving. SHARING. LOVING YOUR FELLOW MAN.

I say this because I always forget the true meaning of the holiday when I receive gifts. I have no problem giving gifts and honestly and I don’t expect gifts in return and nor should anyone feel obligated to give me one (because then it turns gift giving into a chore). But on the off chance I do get one, I turn into this 9-10 year old that can’t wait to open up his presents and be amazed at what he has gotten.

I say 9-10 years old as I think that was the last time I actually got a gift that I went GAGA over…

Fuji Disc Camera

No I lie., I got a BMX bike at 13 (got banned from using it by Boxing Night) and at 14 I got a Fuji Disc Camera (they don’t exist anymore but I used to love that camera a lot).

As I got older, my presents for Christmas usually came in the region of food. Yes, I see the shock on your faces; I did say FOOD.  There is not a hurt caused by a bad present that a nice warm minced pie or warm sweetbread with peanut butter or a couple pastelles can’t soothe away into oblivion. 

Sigh if only the hurt of people was easier to get rid of this way.

 

I make mention to this as I got what one would call presents on Christmas day that had me moving straight for comfort food. I swear sometimes it is as if these people do not know me and haven’t been riddled with my sarcasm enough that they don’t try harder at presents..Sigh…

 

After you read below, you can only draw one conclusion:

 

I have been naughty all year and Santa therefore didn’t get me anything.

 

GIFT ONE –

I am at home on Christmas Eve, trying in vain to wrap presents but I can’t seem to find any of the THREE pairs of scissors that are in my apartment. My attempt at using a ruler and a knife to cut the wrapping paper was a disaster (so too was the use of an envelope opener). In the midst of this chaos I get a call from a friend who asks if I am at home because they want to pass to drop off my Christmas present.

Immediately my heart starts to race as this is an unexpected present and also it will give me the opportunity to give them their present (which was wrapped in the mall because the attendant in the store offered to do it).

I get the gift and hand them theirs and they light up immediately and speed off. I spend all of the journey back upstairs into my apartment trying to decide if I should open it now or on Christmas Day.  We know who won.

I opened it and there it was…a disappointing present.

“Another One?”, I thought to myself.  

My 10 year old self stood there crushed, hurt, wounded to the core, as I looked at the present which basically said that this person took no time or effort to even think about getting me something.

At this point you must say that I am ungrateful. Well I am!! And let me tell you why. 

I get a call at 12:30am Christmas Morning thanking me for my present (I will not disclose what it is because getting someone a PUMA laptop bag is not important at all and only shows how shallow I am). They then asked what I thought of my present. I was silent for a bit and then I uttered:

The Wallet? Oh It’s nice. It’s just like the one you gave me LAST YEAR! Only this time you took it out the box that it came in!!!

There was silence on the phone and I felt an apology coming and I halted it by stating that I was wrong in being so ungrateful. I thanked them for the gift and told them that I had no right to be so sarcastic. I just got a “Merry Christmas Steffy” and the line went dead.

Yes, YES I know…There is a Special Place in Hell for me!

COMFORT FOOD: I immediately took at some sweetbread and Smuckers Peanut Butter (All Natural) and warmed it up. Eating two slices of the bread so early in the morning wasn’t wise but it dulled the pain tremendously

 

GIFT TWO

My Mother means well and she will always be unable to do any wrong in my mind. She has a heart of gold and every child in the neighbourhood loves her to death and the presents they get. Unfortunately, her children seem to get neglected as a result. I guess it must be easier to buy toys for kids than stuff for adults (Yeah I’m gonna stick with that answer).

I arrive at my mom’s house around 10:30am Christmas Morning with belly in hand and 8 Tupperware containers in the car (3 are allocated to this house but that can always change).  We begin breakfast and so I am stuffing my mouth with souse, ham sandwiches, beef pastelles, some sorrel, and grapes as far as the eye can see. All is well and right with the world. I am full and so my chakra is centred and neutralised.

I gave everyone in the house their presents and there were smiles all around. My mom turns to me and says that she has been really busy and so she didn’t get chance to wrap my present, then she reaches into a black bag and says:

Mom: Which Plaid Shirt do you like? I bought one for you and one for your brother! You wear plaid right?

(SILENCE)

My Sister:  I told you he doesn’t wear plaid.

(SILENCE – TV playing in background people staring at me waiting for a response).

Mom:  Stefan?

Mom:  Stefan? Say Something!

Me:     (I swallow) I like the one on the left

Mom:  Yuh know that is the one I actually said you would like.

I grin and give her a hug.

My sister looks at me and giggles. I walk to the back bedroom without even touching the shirt and sit on the edge of the bed. I keep wondering why after all these years does it still phase  me that my mother insists on shopping at DETOUR!  At least it’s not a t-shirt but a XXL plaid shirt. Oh JOY!!!

I sit and wonder what I have done wrong as only a week ago I gave my mom two garbage bags full of old clothing for her to give away to charity. Did she not look through the items? Did it not occur to her what my taste in clothing would be? Did she not see presents from previous years in the garbage bag? I guess not!

COMFORT FOOD: So I sit at the edge of the bed and inhale three pastelles and a ham sandwich. One would NEVER have guessed that I had eaten just a mere 15 -20 minutes before.  I had a short nap right after because  there was no way my body was going to digest all that food with me conscious and watching television or something.

 

SIDE NOTE:

I also visited my father later on the evening, only to be questioned when was I going to lose all that weight. I smiled and ask politely where the roast beef was being stored and that I had brought a special container for the callaloo. I was then reminded that my younger brother goes to the gym every afternoon like clockwork and is look slim and trim!  Did you say you had pastelles for me too?

———-

These stories, my friends, represent the results of my sins for the entire year.  Apparently, I did no good this year and therefore my penance is bad gifts. Getting no gifts doesn’t hurt at all, as my expectation is geared towards that reality. But to lull me into a false sense of wonder by telling me I have a gift and then laying one on me that showed you barely thought of me for all of two minutes?.. Well that crap kinda hurts…

 

How come I can’t get use to disappointment after all these years?

 

As I write this, I am eating grapes. I am all worn out of pastelles and my bread intake has been in excess of the legal fat boy limit. The 8 Tupperware containers are still full of food as I haven’t eaten at home since Christmas Eve and I don’t expect to heat anything up until probably sometime in January.

Whatever the result, I’ll be fine.

Oh I did get some nice presents otherwise from sources that came out of the blue and one of these is really cool.

 The best gift however, came from my God Daughter, Kai, who hugged me tightly after she received her gifts and told me, in the sweetest two year old voice ever , that she loved me. I melted like butter after that. There was no need for comfort food at that point.

I was full!!

How was your Christmas?

Do Tell!!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Emotions, Family, Holidays

 

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Punishment


Do you remember being punished as a child by your parents? I do…sigh sometimes all too vividly. It is not that I was a bad or a problem child but I guess there were times when I seemed not to be listening to whatever they were saying or that my parents felt like in someway they weren’t getting through to me. Who knows!

Do I look like trouble?

I ask all of this because I was recently having a conversation with some friends and they were telling me stories of being punished. Some were put out of the house, locked out for hours, had to sleep by friends, some ran away and came home to find their bed gone (so they slept on the floor for a week) and one or two knelt on graters in the sun holding bricks (no I won’t call Kojak’s name). Those types of punishment I have never experienced.  I don’t have buried memories or flashbacks to say that can I fully relate to those experiences.  What I can relate to is “licks“. A pure unadulterated plain old fashioned cut-arse. 

The use of the pot spoon, swizzle stick, belts, the cane, piece of wood, a whip, hands, shoes among other implements may or may not have been tested on me. I assure you that due to my propensity for running away from licks some of these objects came into use. I was assured that some were used to determine their dexterity or the likelihood of me actually having a tearful reaction to them. After awhile, one can become immune/accustomed to certain methods of punishment and thereby rendering them ineffective.

Please don’t get me wrong, I was not abused in anyway (or at least so my therapist says but the sessions are new so we’ll see). I was a child that liked to explore and was occasionally rude (I stress on occasionally), so one can understand why a beating might occur. 

Now when it came to sharing licks, my mother wins hands down. There is no close competitor. I don’t think that there wasn’t a month that passed during the period say 1976 (Age 3) to 1986 (Age:13) that my mother didn’t have to scold me or ground me (ban me for the Trinis) for some minor infractions that may or may not have been committed. Back then (pre-CSI age), you didn’t require evidence to convict me, one just assumed I was guilty until the truth came out.

So what if I can’t explain why there is red sand under the living room couch or why that stray dog is in the house and refuses to come out from under the bed? So what if I didn’t hear you call me four times while I was in the road,( I know for certain that you didn’t see me roll my eyes)?  I am a good child.  I still don’t see what the problem is when I tell you that I lost the house key but was able to get into the house due to the help of some stranger you know nothing about (and have never met) and who would later serve 5 years for malicious wounding ( but no one saw that coming).

And Mom,  you are still to explain that time you beat me for no reason when you got home, because all I was doing was watching TV. So what if I was sweating profusely at the time…the house was hot.  That is no reason to beat me and utter the words “Just in case”.  I was innocent and still am to this day.

Sigh… these stories can go on and on but you get the point.  My mother and I had that kind of relationship.  If I was quiet for too long a period she would come looking for me. If she came home from work and found me sleeping, she would wake me up and I would be interrogated like a common criminal. “Stefan, what did you do? What did you do? If you tell me, I promise I won’t beat you.” Yeah right, the cut-tail didn’t come that day but a week later it would appear out of nowhere. That woman had patience like Job!!

Once, a new neighbour saw my mom and my older brother walking out the road and she stopped her and said “Oh this must be Stefan!”. To which my mother replied,” No, this is Anthony. Stefan is my younger son”. The lady was a little puzzled. She then said, “Oh I thought you only had one son. I keep hearing you call Stefan’s name all the time, I assumed it was only one child you had.” My mother still giggles about this to this day.  Do you see anything funny in that conversation? I don’t.

Anyway, while my mother experimented on ways to get through to my thick skull, my father on the other hand has only beaten me twice. Yes, folks, I’m not lying. TWICE!!. And I can recall both episodes like if it was yesterday.

Stefan Simmons & The Gasparee Caves
I was probably around 7 or 8 years old when my Dad took my brother and I “Down the Islands” with some of his co-workers and their kids. We spent the day having fun and exploring all parts of Gasparee Island. There was a section of the day when everyone had to go on a tour of the Gasparee Caves.  I did not want to go as I was having fun down at the jetty swimming. Like the good child I was, I tagged along and tried to be interested in what the people were saying. Somewhere in the Caves, I think I turned to another child suffering along with me, let’s call him Jason Elcock (any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely intentional) and told him I was bored. We somehow came up with the idea to abandon the tour and go back to the jetty. And we did.  And no one on the tour noticed.

Cut to like an hour later and there is my father shouting my name to the top of his voice as he scrambles down the stairs to where I was located. I looked up, smiled and asked, “What?”

I can’t recall what he was saying at the time but for what seemed like an eternity I was being spanked. Of course, to ensure that the beatings would be discontinued one must shed tears or express pain in some way otherwise the beatings will continue.  Trust me, at the age of 8, I wasn’t faking those tears.  That man hit me real hard that day. I still had a good time at the jetty though. In hindsight, I may see the slight error in my decision to return to the jetty.

STEUPS
For those of you who don’t know and think that sucking ones teeth means nothing, well you are WRONG!! I found out yesterday that “Steupsing” is loosely translated to “Look, kiss my ass yes!”.

Had I known this when I was 14, i would’ve saved myself from beating NUMBER TWO.

I love my grandmother. I miss her. You may have read many a story on her or on her sage advise to me. She is a gem. I can say that now easily, but back when I was a teenager, that woman was a pest!   She would harass me for no reason and had me doing weird chores just because I would be the only one in the house when she needed something.

Look, when i was 14, I read alot. I read EVERYTHING I could put my hands on especially if it was on a high shelf or hidden the back of wardrobe.  So whenever she lurked around the house for someone to do a task, there I was in some corner reading.  She never left me alone!

One day, I was going out into the yard to pretend to do something as my father was inside watching football and trying to coach the players on TV. Yep he was crazy like every other father and it was in those moments that I understood where I got my lack of athletic ability from but in his mind he is the ultimate sportsman.  So anyway, I make my way out to the porch and I am almost to the steps when Mudda says to me; “Lambkin where yuh going? Why yuh cyah keep yuh bun black backside in de house?”  Not liking the comment, I steupsed.  Then I found myself doing a pirouette on the top stair with my father standing next to me.

The man had rushed outside and slapped me so hard that I made a 360 degree turn.

I stared at him in shock and he looked at me with rage and uttered:

“Don’t you EVER suck your teeth at your grandmother EVER AGAIN!!  You hear me?”

“Why? Don’t you do it to?” was my smart-alec reply.

Have ever seen what happens to a chicken when it thinks it is about to die? Well if you haven’t let me tell you this…they sometimes poop seconds before it happens.  I am not saying the same thing happened to me that day but let’s just say that I swore my bladder was seconds away from failing me when I saw my grandmother come outside and yell at my father.

“What yuh hit de boy for? He right! You does steups at me too!”

My father stared at me for a little while longer and went back inside. I got a two hour lecture on my attitude and my need for defiance later that night.  I stopped listening after like 15 minutes or so because the TV was on behind him and he didn’t have a clue. I think to this day he believes that his speech may have turned me around on my path to being a good citizen.

——————–

Are these tales, one of caution? No they are not. And they are not signs of abuse either.  Children these days have it easy. They have no fear and therefore do as they please and wonder why they got things wrong in the process.  With no correction, one is left to figure stuff out for yourself and one lacks the sense to understand consequences for actions.

So I just dedicate this post to the people who have beaten me in my  childhood and who seem to think that it helped mould me into the neurotic, mild OCD ridden chubby person I am know today.

BTW:

Auntie Ingrid, I still haven’t forgiven you for beating me because I didn’t want to eat your sardine sandwiches. Yes I could’ve said  “No thank you” instead of ” Me aint eating that nastiness” but I still don’t think that putting a sweet cutarse on me was warranted.  It was a bit excessive.  It also seems that me telling my mother what you did had no effect and so I recognized that the bonds of sisterhood are strong.

I haven’t forgotten it. I’m just saying……..

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Emotions, Family, Humor, RANT, Uncategorized

 

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Papa Don’t Preach


(Excerpt from a conversation during a rehearsal for a play last night….

Director: So this weekend, we will be doing a photoshoot. I don’t know what day as yet but just be prepared.

Male Cast Member: If it is Saturday. I can’t make it. I have a Baby Shower

I turned and watched him with a puzzled look.

Director: Umm you have a play opening soon. Do you have to go to the shower?

MCM: Yes, it is important

Stefan: Why? What man goes to a Baby Shower?

MCM: Well it is sort of a big lime that will turn into a party

Stefan: I’m confused, why are there men at a Baby Shower?  Boy you don’t have to go

MCM: Well I do.

Female Cast Member: Is it your baby the shower is for?

MCM: Yes

My mouth opens and doesn’t close til I feel the dribble forming

 ————————————–

The reason this shocked me was the fact that this cast member is 18 years old and in Sixth Form!!  He calls his mother to pick him up from rehearsal every night. How does he have a baby? How does he get someone pregnant? If you have ever seen this person you would swear that they look like 15 but whatever the case, he obviously knew where to put it and what to do and is now going to become a father next month.

 

I stared at him a little while longer and he kept going “WHAT!” but I just couldn’t get over the fact that this teen had gotten someone pregnant and was being so non-chalant about it.

 

On further investigation (I pulled him aside and asked him his business – YES Ah FASS!), I discovered that he is fine with it and that parents on both sides are going to help out since they are both still in school. I asked if she considered not having the baby and he told me her parents were Anglican so it was out of the question. (I kept my thoughts about Anglicanism not actually being a real religion to myself at this point since it wouldn’t have added value to the conversation).

He then made the statement that stuck in my head..:

“My chile go get handle real good!”

I didn’t know how to translate the statement properly but I just assumed it meant that he is going to be a good father. Alas I have issues with it

 

Hearing him talk, I suddenly recalled an experience I had when I was about 19 or 20 in which I was told that someone’s period was six weeks late. Well I didn’t panic in front of her but in the privacy of my room I was sweating like a whore in church. Thoughts came flooding through my head and they all were screaming that I wasn’t ready for this. Sigh at that point I wanted to go back in time to that particular Panorama Semis and just not leave with her but it was too late. She had said thatshe was “on the pill” at the time. Thinking back it may have been Panadol she was talking about!

 

I tried to rationalize in my head all that I would do but then the most significant thought  hit me  – I didn’t want HER to be the mother of my child – And with that realisation came prayer and fasting and the promise to God to turn my life around if he spared me from having a child with someone I considered a lil bat-shit crazy but who I knew had a good heart. I wondered if the child would get her crazies and how  I would deal with that.

 

Period came. Crisis was over and I avoided her like the plague afterwards. I know it was wrong but hey I was young and  I didn’t exactly think logical back then.

 

Cut to present day and on hearing that this 18 year old is going to be a dad and I panic as I think about all the stuff this child will need and demand from a parent and how hard it is to raise a child. It still scares me to think about it now even though I am more financially secure to be able to handle it (I think).  How is he and his girlfriend going to cope? Flashes of the MTV show “Teen Mom” are now in my head and well it doesn’t take a genius to know that their lives will never be the same again and that there are going to be tough times ahead.

 

This is not the first time I encountered a young man who was having child at such an early age. During another production, one of the dancers, who flirted with EVERY woman in the cast, took two nights off from rehearsal because his baby boy was born. The boy was 17, clueless and confident in his own abilities.  I wonder how that baby is doing now?

 

Look, I know that no child brought into this world is an accident and all children deserve love and affection etc etc…. but come now, can we not be more responsible. People still go about having sex because it is the “grown up” thing to do but they never think of the consequences. Why are people so careless? Do people really think about the sacrifices when bringing a child into this world?  When I hear stories on teenage moms on their 3rd of 4th child  with “Baby Daddy No..3 or 4” I just wonder……Do people deserve the right to have children?

 

Having children is a gift that some people are not privileged to have. My friend Clint said to me today that “Every important thing we do in life we have to sit an exam for, but any old fool can become a parent”. Now this is not an indictment on the 18 year old but on society in general.

 

I want to advocate that we find a way to lock off the reproductive hormones of everyone in the world going forward and only give them the ability once they pass a one year course on parenting (with a year long psychological evaluation) component.

 

People should have to earn the right to have children!!!

 

Granted my plan would see the increased occurrence of indiscriminate sex and probably the rise in fornication and STIs but umm isn’t that happening now anyway? What we need to do is prevent people from aborting children because it will interfere with their lives or from abusing children because they are having man/woman/financial troubles. 

 

We have too many damaged people walking around today and way too many orphans that nobody wants who continue to grow up with a slight disadvantage and thereby limiting their potential to excel. I am serious here.

 

We need to imbed a chip at birth or something. We just need to do something! There are people who walk around with their babies as if they were dolls or miniature versions of themselves and dress buy brand name clothing and shoes and jewellery for these infants, yet some can’t afford to buy books for these same children alter on. It is as if they loved the children when they looked like dolls but as they got older, the effect wore off. The children are now problematic.

 

I recently met a child who, despite passing for QRC, had not a single book or uniform a week before school was to open. Daddy was absent (well a birthday present every year covered his duties apparently) and mommy was overextended.  This child deserved a fighting chance. Thankfully, the child was blessed with a godmother who came to the rescue but there are hundreds of children out there who are not so lucky. It kills me inside to think about these things.

 

Look I don’t claim to have a solution to any of these problems and Lord knows I envy every parent I see with a child, especially the parents of my godchildren, Kai and Diego, but I am scared to think of children who lack the family support or love in their lives. It is disheartening and sometimes I wish I could adopt all of them (well not really maybe two or three if God permitted).

 

Alas I am a single man and Caribbean law considers me a predator so I will have to look on and spoil my godchildren and the random children I encounter and let their parents worry about the damage I have done to their hard work.

 

I believe that children are our future….. (you know the rest)

 

Sorry… I just needed to vent.  

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Emotions, Family, RANT, Relationships

 

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