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​Year of the Rat

ON SUNDAY, my neighbour threw pellets of rat poison around our common garbage bin space like he was pelting rice at his daughter’s wedding. He rained the poison on the flower-bed next to our fence like George Dubya Bush rained bombs on the children of Baghdad.

The disappearance of garbage trucks from Barbados — a cost-cutting exercise of the Democratic Labour Party, which lost the general election 0-30 in 2018 — meant garbage piled up for weeks at a time.
Rats do well when humans do well. Our rats had four large garbage bins plus rat CEO bonuses of overflow bags in easily ripped plastic bin liners. Over the DLP years, our rats had grown as rich as the one per cent — and not a common, garden or Trinidadian one per cent, locally-assembled, which you have to rust-proof, but the real one per cent, the Dubya voters.
Boomtown firetrucking rats.
They burrowed into the flower bed, my vain attempt to beautify (or at least less-uglify) the bins area, making it the rat equivalent of One Woodbrook Place, with the rat equivalent of PriceSmart on its doorstep. I counted seven different tunnels into what had to be a massive nest below my bromeliads.
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​Childcare BC

TWO FRIDAYS ago, based on my own 30 years-plus experience, I advised people who were suddenly new to working from home how to do it properly, in the Trinidad context. (See: https://www.bcpires.com/TGIF/?post_id=778&title=%E2%80%8Bhomework-bc.)

In the same spirit, I can give even more desperately needed advice on how to cope with your small children who have been locked into your small flat with you. I am a card-carrying, PTSD-suffering survivor of raising small unruly children into slightly larger but far more obstreperous adults who don’t do what you tell them any more.
The well-intentioned online guides simply don’t apply to Trinidad or Trinidadians, and least of all to Trinidadian children, who can repeat, “I want Kool-Aid” as often as you can explain it ent have none; indeed, one more time than you.
So, using the subheading titles of a guide written by one Annette Henderson (newsroom.co.nz/ideasroom) as a springboard, here is my advice for managing small children during lockdown, with necessary amendments to fit Trinidad.

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​...28 Snack Boxes Later

TRINIDADIANS don’t realise it yet but they’re actually on the live set of the worst zombie movie they’ve ever seen. Even with the entire population of the world cast as extras, Trinidadians still want their doubles and KFC right firetrucking now!

People outside Trinidad simply don’t believe, when told, that, in Boissiere Village, there are motorists who deliberately drive the wrong way down a 300m stretch of one-way road. Non-Trinidadians can’t make sense of a sane driver choosing to risk life and limb and front bumpers and head-on collisions over driving a little bit out of their way.
But Trinidad drivers just don’t give a flying firetruck about the lives of others, until they kill them, and, even then, they think only about the personal inconvenience of a “driving without due care and attention” charge.
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​Homework BC

MY FRIEND and colleague, Mark Lyndersay, who, like me, has worked largely from home for 30 years, used his BitDepth column this week to give good practical advice to people forced by the Corona virus crisis to work from home for the first time. (https://technewstt.com/bd1241/.)

Now, Mark (my photographic collaborator on Trini to the Bone, my Monday Newsday feature) is one of the few people writing in Trinidad — or, frankly, anywhere — whose work I can’t improve massively by cutting it drastically. Almost everything in our newspapers would be twice as good if half the words were simply deleted — but I haven’t yet found the word I can take out of Mark’s writing. And the advice he gave new homeworkers — such as designating a distinct work space at home — couldn’t be technically faulted.
But, still, “it ent go work”.
Trinidadians trying to work at home is like pot hounds entering Crufts: they could win, in theory, but, in practice, they will spend all their time trying to mount the champion bitch.
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