Dive Roll for your life: An epic tale where preparation meets inopportunity

They say everything happens for a reason. Back in my High School days, I used to do gymnastics/ acrobatics. Funnest memories were of dive rolling through hoops for a presentation for the school. Folks like Jillia Cato, Roannta Dalrymple and Jivaan Bennett were also part of that troupe. Good times :). I just found the certificate from  the acrobatics camp we did in 2002 and realized two things. 1. My name was spelled incorrectly, and 2. the training I received there is still embedded somewhere in my subconscious and is perhaps what saved my face and quite possibly my life back in 2014.

IMG_20150212_024133

On Tuesday 17th June 2014, I walked away from yet another robbery attempt. For some reason I had recently become a person of interest to the criminal element. When would people realize that what I have that is worth anything at all is intangible? What I have is up here <Points to head> and in here <touches heart> and no one could never take it by force.  #ThugLyfe!

So here’s what happened…

I was waiting by Kaydonna on the Highway for a taxi to head to a rehearsal in Port of Spain. I’d been waiting there for some time.. about three green lights (If I can use that as a measurement of time) when a vehicle; which was later described by someone who made a police report as a “Silver Honda Fit”, turning onto the highway from the southern main road stopped in front of me. It wasn’t an “H” car, it was a “P” but that’s nothing out of the ordinary in our society, and heck, when taxis running scarce and you have somewhere to be P/H doh really make a difference. I noted that when the car stopped it didn’t stop in the way a regular taxi would stop.. ah mean, It didn’t flash its lights, so for a split second I thought it stopped for someone else… I even looked around to see who it could have stopped for, but I was the only one there, so I hopped in because I knew If i was late,  Carol would have had my hide. (I ended up giving my hide it to the asphalt instead.. but we reaching there). The car was being driven by a slim, possibly tall man of African descent, very prominent cheek bones, scruffy, patchy sets of facial hair and either plaits or dreadlocks… the inside of the car was dark.

Kaydonna

Kaydonna

Somewhere along the highway, which may or may not have been El Socorro, (the last feature I recalled was a walkover), a male voice in the back seat told the driver “Slow down here”. I thought.. wait na… somebody else here? but didn’t pay it much mind. When he slowed to a stop, an arm wrapped round my neck from the back seat and the voice said “Doh move!” initially I thought this is some kinda prank (as I have done similar pranks before… Karma may be coming back to me). I sat calm and uninterested but  when I noticed the driver motion, as if to lock the door, my survival mode kicked in and I immediately opened my door. I saw some men across the road by a Chinese restaurant and began calling out to the men…. I called and called and they just stood there and watched… I yelled “they’re trying to rob me”.. still not a flinch, not a look of agitation,  not a nothing… they just stood and watched. That annoyed the fcuk outa me… Clearly I am going to have to be my own salvation. From this point on everything happened very quickly… I was hit on top the head from the back a couple times and  the voice said “make noise and ah go shoot yuh”… I have said it before.. in my bubble, guns don’t exist. I am not intimidated by folks who tell me or indicate that they have a gun.. I dunno why.. but somehow that just makes them look weak in my eyes. (I think it has something to do with me being unarmed, which makes brandishing a weapon on their end quite cowardly) but I digress. I started kicking the open car door… It was my intention to break it or something… I’m not sure if a human can break off a car door, but it didn’t hurt to try. With the door still open; my legs kicking at it violently, and my range of movement limited by the arm from the unknown in still wrapped tightly around my neck – The driver sped off.

Honda-Fit-Color-Alabaster-Silver-Metallic

Silver Honda Fit

While speeding, we passed a  guy standing by the highway (probably waiting on a taxi)… not too sure if he even knew what was going on. The area where the car was at this point was lined by businesses and industries, all closed at this time; up ahead – to the left of the highway was bush; lots and lots of bush, to the right, the Beetham; a village that is notorious for criminal activity and I would be dammed if I let myself be taken into, or stranded in that area. Plus, the longer I stayed the more speed that was being built up.  Forgetting that I was strapped in (seat belts save lives.) I made a failed attempt to jump out of the vehicle. My foot touched the floor… it felt like it almost broke. I processed that thought and wondered If jumping out was the best option. Before my mind could make up itself, my arms unbuckled the seat belt and I threw myself out. The meat of my shoulder made first impact; I tucked my head in, (in retrospect, the technique I learned in gymnastics from Mr. Robinson), then my butt hit and I tumbled a good few times on the asphalt before I stood up, (saw that the car had stopped, the door was closed, and then it sped off again). I walked very giddily for a considerable distance, passed the guy we passed on the highway (who made no attempt to assist while i stumbled toward him) before collapsing.

Everything was a daze, I could hear chatter, I could feel myself lifted and eventually rested on very itchy grass and I heard a male voice say “What we should do? Should we call 911?”.. Well now look how I up! It is absolutely mind boggling that there are persons who don’t even know the emergency numbers for their own country! 911??!! you for real?? I had to be dreaming!! I was still trying to make sense of that sentence/ question with the group of male voices still trying to figure out what to do. I swear it was absolutely depressing.I was lifted again…. well… supported rather, my arm over his neck and my face in his grey hair, an elderly man took me over to the chinese resturant .. the same one I mentoned before, the guys who were trying to figure out what to do were the same guys I was calling out to not to long ago. I later asked them “Did ya’ll hear me calling out to you before??” They confessed that they heard but thought If they went over they will be robbed too.. so they did nothing.. Well look how that annoyed me! One guy said that he and his cousin were coming over, but that was when the driver took off. In the short time I was there If you hear how the story changed among these men. By the time I left I was hearing that they stole my car, beat me up and threw me out 😐

Back to the old guy who carried me to the Chinese restaurant, I asked him his name, he said it is Ian Waithe. Now this is a man with sense. He said he was driving behind the car when he saw me tumble out and he said to himself “but what d jail is this!!” He turned around and came back. He said he also called 999.. Yes that is our emergency number for the police people and said the phone just kept ringing. He said he had two sons of his own.. grown like me and he would like to think that if it were his sons in my situ, someone would have done the same for them. Such a sweet old man he was. After a while he found that he been waiting too long and no authorities arrived yet (turns out someone called, got through but told the officers that it was on El Socorro Road… not the highway), so he took me to a Police station in the area… now this is where things get interesting. We were told that they don’t take police reports at that station, because it is the traffic branch and we’d have to go over to Barataria police station to make a report. Well to me that is a load of shit! so I said.. that doh make any kinda sense to me and negotiated my way into making a preliminary report. I also called my mum from the station and gave her the short version of the story. she asked how I was feeling- My response: “Like frigging batman”. While making the report though, I was getting the impression that the officers were more interested in the world cup than my situation… and lord knows I loathe bad customer service. Another annoying thing was .. I am telling my story to one officer and another officer would ask me a question or questions I have already covered… It was fcuking annoying. Let me finish my story and then you could ask questions… doh interrupt. And I was interrupted by possibly two or three officers. The same thing happened at the Barataria Police Station (Yup! I still had to go make the report there), but 8414 PC Maloney was a lot more attentive. So bug shout out to him 🙂  Surprisingly my dad showed up there… I didn’t know how he found me but at least I wont be travelling home.. I could have barely walked.

I went to Mt. Hope got checked out. I have minor cuts and bruises along my right side with my shoulder and butt cheek taking most of the damage.. hence the asphalt having my hide reference. God spared my face! 🙂  I expect that my back would hurt like a bitch when I wake up.. but on the flip side, I bounce up Adam Khan and another Georgian.. Ameera i think it is, in the hospital. Georgians everywhere boy!… but at least I kept my $11. I work hard for dat. You eh getting dat without a fight! Everyone who has heard the story.. the police.. the people who stood by and did nothing, Mr. Waithe all said that I was brave.. that word was being thrown around a lot. Thing is, I didn’t act out of fear, I was thinking about all the work I have been getting that I would have left undone. I’m a workaholic. Too many things going for me now for my story to end here.

My dad on the way home asked what did I have that’s so important to risk my life for? To that I responded

“The only thing I have control over is my own actions.  I saw an opportunity and took it. I cannot leave my salvation in someone else’s hands, If I let them take me who knows how that would have ended. I will be in control of my own destiny”

My brother said “I hope now you see that Chinidad dangerous and come out of that spirit finger bubble u living in!”

Trinidad is still a wonderful place to me. I am still not afraid to walk at nights and all dem thing and maintain that Trinidad could be a lot better If people band together to help persons in need and not always think f how it will affect them. here is strength in numbers. We must band together to overcome the criminal elements plaguing our society. Props again to Mr. Ian Waithe.

My brother also recorded my mother applying mentholated spirit to my bruises. we still laugh at that. lol.

repo

The Completely Unnecessary but Very Impressive Back and Forth Dance of Sean Brown

On October 13th 2014 I met a vagrant who’s name is Sean Browne. I never give vagrants money, but I did shake his hand, told him he was awesome … started to walk away but  returned to give him a high five. It’s not money but it felt good to contribute that much. I hope it felt good for him too. I don’t know anyone who would want to touch a vagrant, let alone go back to touch them again. Here’s how that came to pass…

I was at Drink! Wine Bar for a meeting with Timmia E. Hearn Feldman, Carol Chibueze, Katherine McEwan, Zeleca Julien and Richie Daly from I Am One; a new NGO that I am working with. Although I was there for business, I will admit that the meeting concluded on a more relaxed tone… especially when a male friend of some of the ladies, who; being  a heterosexualwhite male, described himself as minority in Trinidad. I chuckled at that because he is probably right. He was the first white male that I have met that fell in that category. He offered to buy us drinks because he supports what I Am One is about. He asked me if I wan’t it Hard or Soft – referring to the drink- and I gave him a look that said I can so say something inappropriately sexual right now. We laughed. This guy seemed cool and because of that, for the purposes of this account I will refer to him as Jake. Yes! That’s his name… Jake from State Farm. He  would be a major player in the events that followed.

From the Left: Timmia, Kate and Richie finalizing the updates to the social media platforms for I AM One.

From the Left: Timmia, Kate and Richie finalizing the updates to the social media platforms for I AM One.

By this time now, we had broken off into different conversations; Tim and some other ladies were chatting with Jake from State Farm, My back was turned to them as I was rambling on about something to Kate. One of my early life adventures that I probably statused or wrote a note about at one point. So there I was telling my story with full dramatic flair as I have been known to do when a voice, with a hint of melancholy, interrupted.

“Ah doh mean to bother allyuh but…”

I turned around to see a vagrant; a man of african descent, probably in his mid-late 20s / early 30s by my guess, a Chalton Heston’s Moses kinda beard, A dark sexy smooth midnight complexion, a full length denim pants that only looked black because of how dirty it was; which was up by a piece of string which caused it to bundle by his waist. He had no shoes, was bareback and had Greek God kinda abs. Albeit dirty, he was a good looking young fella.

I NEVER give vagrants money. If I have the means to however,  I would be more willing to buy them food because I feel they’re more likely inclined to use the money on vices that they do not need and that will keep them where they are… on the streets.  As I didn’t have  the means at that point to offer food, and I had no intention of giving him a shilling even, I just shook my head in a “Sorry, can’t help you today” kinda way early off when he started. But Jake from State Farm…. nope, He got Loud… and unnecessarily so and cut him off with-

“NO! NO! YOU CAN’T START A CONVERSATION WITH EXCUSE ME I DON’T MEAN TO BOTHER YOU… AND THEN START BOTHERING PEOPLE. GO BACK! GO BACK, TAKE A COUPLE MINUTES THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY AND TRY YOUR SALES PITCH AGAIN!!!”

I was instantly irritated! I turned away.. was facing Kate and I just cringed. I think everyone did. Was all that even necessary? You can say no with out making a scene you know. Ugh! The man left and, though it was awkward to get back in conversation at that point,  I continued where I left off telling my story to Kate.

A couple minutes later, I hear a different voice.

“Hello, Good Evening, my name is Sean Browne, may I have a moment of your time. Would you all consider giving me $20….”

It was the same guy from before. Speaking in standard english and using an American accent. I wasn’t sure If he was immitating Jake from State Farm (who also had an American Accent) in an effort to impress him, or if he always had it.  It was impressive. On one hand it was sad that he actually came back after Jake from State Farm was so nasty with him, but the fact that he actually changed his “sales pitch” and tried a different approach… THIS GUY WAS AWESOME! I battled with the idea of pulling out my phone to record it cause it felt like it could be adding to the shaming process. I asked Timmia, she advised that I shouldn’t for the same reason, and I was good with that. Y’all should have seen it though. Almost everyone was smiling and decided to pitch in to give him a couple dollars. (Well except me.. I was smiling, but I sill won’t give him money.) It was a marvelous sales pitch, I said to Sean OMG YOU ARE AWESOME! I LOVE YOU!!!! I was really very impressed. Somewhere along the line, a guy in a reflective jacket.. community police perhaps, approached the scene on his bicycle, and attempted to run Sean from the area. Zeleca assured him that it’s fine; that he’s not bothering us and that there was no need for aggression. He parked his bike and stood watch menacingly anyway, but at least he let Sean stay. Someone; I can’t remember who, gave the money that was scraped together to Sean, who then looked to Jake from State Farm and asked:

“Will I be getting anything from you kind sir?

This was Jake’s response:

“NO! NO! GO BACK! YOU CAN’T COME AND PITCH SOMETHING WHILE BAREBACK AND WEARING NO SHOES! GO BACK AND CHANGE YOUR APPROACH AND TRY AGAIN!!”

Da fuq?!? Was Jake from State Farm serious?? All this is unnecessary though. My blood was boiling. I was pissed, but not pissed enough to say something yet, but Thankfully, I didn’t have to. Timmia and Carol spoke up and asked Jake from State Farm why was he being like that? I think the word “dickish” was used. *chortle* (dickish I’d be using that :-P) they asked why wouldn’t he give Sean some money because he came back specifically because He asked him to an the whole new ‘sales pitch’ was to impress him… and now he’s sending him back to do it again.

Jake from State Farm: “I’m not going to give him any money cause he’s going to use it to smoke rocks. He’s a crack head”

Tim: “and so what? You’re here drinking Rum! How do you know that anyway?!”

Jake from State Farm: “Well let’s ask him. Hey! Do you smoke rocks?”

Sean: “Yes, I Smoke Rocks”

Jake from State Farm: “See I know a crack head when I see one. Y’all just giving him money to go away.”

One of the other ladies (I can’t remember who) chimed in: “We’re giving him money because we were impressed. He came back ONLY because you asked him to come back.

At this time I noticed that Sean left

Carol: “You’re making him go back and forth -sorry to say this but- like some kinda trained monkey”

Jake from State Farm: “I was never going to give him money in the 1st place. We had that understanding from the start”

Various people: “No that was not the impression you gave. If you’re not going to give him anything why keep telling him to come back?”

Tim: “How dare you sit from your position of power and make him do all of that? It take nothing for you to just give him something but it takes everything for him to keep coming back to try to impress you”

The discourse continued for a while, then Sean came back very upbeat and charismatic. Probably almost like a caricature.

“Hey everybody! I hope you’re enjoying your evening…”

He was trying yet another approach to impress Jake from State Farm. By this time it was humiliating. I felt embarrassed for him. I wanted to hug him. We couldn’t have this guy coming back and forth like this. It is sooo not cool! Carol dipped into her bag and pulled out a $20.. the $20 that Sean asked for earlier and invited him to come for it. Jake from State Farm objected quite vociferously, so I took the $20 went over to Sean myself. I shook his hand, (my mother’s face twisted in horror when I told her that :-P), told him he was awesome once more and gave him the money…. started to walk away but then turned back and gave him a high five. It’s not money but it felt good to contribute that much.. I hope it felt good for him too. Don’t know how many regular people would actually touch a vagrant, far less for shaking their hand and giving them high fives. That being said, I immediately went inside to wash my hands.

When I came back out, Sean was still there. I didn’t really catch the conversation but at some point it was said by one of the ladies

“..but he’s still a person, you don’t know how he got here, who are you to judge.”

Just before Sean left he asked if we could do him a favor… he gave us a number and asked us to call his mother and tell her that we saw her son, and that he’s alright and also to let her know that he says to stop paying for the house, he doesn’t need it. I’m tearing up right now typing it. I took the number and as soon as I credit my phone I will definitely give her a call.

Just throwing it out there to who ever may read… what would you have done in that situation?

UPDATE: I met Sean again, and I did call the number he gave me. I’ll be writing about that soon. Do you see those four horizontal lines to the right? Click it and subscribe to Story of My Life to be notified when a new entry has been published. 🙂

19-09-2013-00-Dalai-Lama-Inspiring-Quotes