All afternoon my phone buzzed, another message, another call. From friends all over the island, bystanders were we after an afternoon of heavy rain, thunder and lightening. For a while, it stormed, the road outside my house a brown stream, flowing rapidly, stones, bits of things pushed into every available crevice. The house dark without the lights on, but at least we had power, several people did not, a wide swathe. We all texted each other for reassurance, that we were not alone, that someone was concerned, help was there if necessary, even if only a friend to metaphorically hold our hand.
The windows had been shut against the driving rain, snug inside except for the leak in the front room which annoyed the hound more than me. It dripped on his head you see. The curtains still blew straight out, the wind forcing itself between the cracks and the hurricane window above. Too wet and windy in the front, we, the dog and me, repaired to the back bedroom, the big bed cosy and inviting, layering blankets and curling up, answering texts as they came in and thinking about the things I wanted to write.
Though I waited until the rain was a steady, slower pour and the lightening gone, there were so many things I'd planned on writing for days and when I started, it flooded my page, so here they are.
Two nights ago, while watching the Stand Up to Cancer event on TV, I found myself crying at the most unexpected things. I'm not a particularly sentimental person, nor do I usually buy into the celeb for a cause thing, other than Live Aid of course; but this was close to home. Very close to home as those who read this space know. As I've said a time or two, my mother died of cancer, as did her younger brother, two aunts and a cousin. Several other cousins have been diagnosed with the disease and have fought. In addition, several friends have either died or have battled this disease. It is really close and every time someone gets ill, we all wonder. The premise for stand up to cancer is for doctors to form "dream teams" with other researchers to combat the disease. It is felt, that if there were cross functional teams greater progress would be made. No surprise there. But as a friend in medicine told me a long time ago, the greatest deterrent to finding a cure is big business. Business makes more money off of sick people than well so why find a cure. Awful as it is to contemplate, this is not a new concept, but it's really heartening to know that doctors and other people are fighting back and finding ways to get around these issues. I wish them well and my support. Even though it may not benefit us out here in the Third World at first, there is still hope that someday it might. So folks, STAND UP TO CANCER.
A work colleague was reduced to tears on Friday, her week had been particularly hard, in addition to having her home flooded last weekend, losing everything, she still had to organise her kids and come to work every day. Friday she could contain herself no more and sobbed. After a week of anger about various things, we could only stand helplessly and try to make her feel better. You really know that we have some big hearted people, this weekend many of us are raiding our own homes to try to find things that will help, not only her, but several other people. But we ask ourselves why. Not because we do not wish to help, but that it should come to this when a lot of that flooding could have been avoided with proper planning, drainage, maintenance. What vision 2020, hindsight? We wonder too what waits us on the news tonight, how many more people affected, how many more crops lost, how many more livestock killed. How long is it going to take someone to wake up and do something?
People in this country complain about the Government's customer service but you know, we're not the only guilty ones. Just so you know: this weekend, my friend went to a popular mas camp to try and pick up a cheque for some work her daughter had done for them. Well, talk about attitude, the young man behind the counter copped such an attitude, he didn't have change, it wasn't his problem it was another department, yadda, yadda, yadda. If I were a different person I would have embarrassed the life out of him in front of his camp full of people and awful costumes. As it was, I looked at my friend aghast but not surprised because this is not unusual. LIke the woman in the upscale gourmet shop who snatched away a tray of sandwiches just as we tried to purchase one. When asked whether there were going to be any more on sale, we were met with a deafening silence and a steups. Guess who left the store. Why do we treat people badly when we would not wish to be so treated?
Not that all service people suck mind you. My barrista commented after not seeing me for several weeks; we thought you must have been very ill, the last time you came in you were coughing so bad and when we didn't see you we wondered if it had gotten worse. No, not that sick, just had to get to work earlier is all. She nodded and then said, "nice to see you". No matter how badly her day is going, she still manages a smile. The other day, as I indulged in the guilty pleasure of a doughnut, instead of belabouring me about my fat, she picked out a "happy sprinkles" doughnut, laughed impishly and said," everybody needs to be a little kid sometimes". She made my day.
There are many things in the world that will get you angry and things that will make you happy. But you have to find that middle ground where you let is slide. It's hard to do sometimes and sometimes we get so caught up in always trying to be everything, we forget to be ourselves. This rainy Sunday evening as I write this, my dog at my feet patiently waiting for me to get up and romp with him some more, knowing that I must sort out my clothes for tomorrow. Admiring the stance of friend's, business people, who are standing up for what they believe, closing down their businesses for the day in support of the call to shut down the country to highlight the problems. Will a shutdown work, or will it get swallowed in a sea of spin, I don't know. But it's the first time in a very long time where I've seen and heard so many people moved to do something about their situation. As someone who used to be involved in many movements and protests, I salute all of you for the stand that you take. You know why......
The rain is still falling outside, a cup of cocoa, a book and my pet, my afternoon is set. To res, recuperate and yes, to psyche myself up for having my hip and leg manipulated in the morning so that I can walk without limping. It is these moments that remind us of our humanity and our fragility and yet, make us whole.