Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lingering Doubts - Crime

As had been mentioned in my previous post, moving home sounds like a great idea. It's a nice thing to think about until you realize that you're thinking about it while sitting at home in your centrally heated/cooled dwelling place, watching your HD programming on your 60" LED tv, browsing the internet on a 22 mb/sec data connection while not being chewed to pieces by a million plus Raid resistant fucking hell spawn mosquitoes........but I digress.

Move back where?

There are still things to be considered first. Last time I touched on a couple of those issues namely public service and the lack of the most basic principles of customer service. Well today I have a few more issues to discuss: crime, cleanliness and creature comforts, conduct on the roads all come to mind though I'll probably just touch on crime alone today.


Let's talk about crime shall we? Honestly people get affected by villainy and skullduggery everywhere. I myself, having never been robbed or burglarized, had my apartment in Atlanta broken into just earlier this year...........twice. But for the love of God, Trinbago is taking this crime thing to another level. You know something has to be wrong when you pack only your shittiest pairs of shoes while leaving all your jewelry safely in the USA.

Seriously, I didn't bring a single piece of jewelry home with me during my last trip just last month. I packed 3 pairs of sneakers that I didn't mind having stolen if it really came down to it and I brought two watches (from a 14-piece collection). My beloved Samsung Galaxy S phone and my Galaxy Tab 7 tablet never made it out of the carry-on bag after leaving the airport; both seeing the light of day only once we landed safely in Miami on the way back.

It's not really that bad is it? You're exaggerating a bit.

I used to make it my business to at least peruse the Express, Guardian and Newsday newspaper websites on a daily basis, but there is only so much stabbing, chopping, shooting, raping, kidnapping, "dead body found in cane field" type news stories a man can take in one lifetime. Not to mention the horrific car accident reports. Trinis don't seem to get into fender benders anymore, the general mantra seems to be that if the car isn't crushed, mangled, torn in two or have had the roof torn off, you're not doing it right. It appears to be crash hard or don't bother.

You think I'm exaggerating about how rough things are crime-wise? I wasn't even home a good 4 days before witnessing a young lady getting robbed on the corner of Park Street and Charlotte Street in town. Now to be fair to the robber, it was 4 in the morning............what exactly was the would-be victim doing on Charlotte Street (of all places) at that time of the night? Looking to get robbed apparently.

As we're driving down Charlotte Street, we noticed a middle-aged man and a what seemed like an older teen-aged girl (18 or 19 maybe) scuffling on the ground in the middle of the road.

Apparently the young lady was standing on the pavement talking on her phone and the asshole passed and snatched it from her, attempting to run off with it. The brave (or slightly wacko) girl grabs him and they fight. He eventually breaks free of her in an attempt to run away. Dummy runs after him (what is wrong with this girl?) and in response, he turns around and smashes the phone into her face before running off down Piccadilly Street.......WHAT THE FUCK?!

How's that for exaggerating?

I can ignore many things because after all, T&T is my home, but I must admit, the crime thing gives me pause. When I can't walk the street without wondering not if, but when someone is going to come snatch my laptop/phone/etc. When I can't even walk up St. Paul Street anymore or even lime too late at my grandparents' homes in Picton anymore, something is terribly wrong, and for that, I may as well park my ass right where it is and stay in Atlanta.

Monday, December 12, 2011

To Stay or Not To Stay

Yeah I get it, I'm a trini.

By all accounts, I belong in Trinidad, plain and simple.

It's just that the very concept of moving back, always seems to invoke a mixed bag of emotions for me. There's the obvious excitement at getting back to the familiar (friends, family, food), but I almost always experience a slight sense of dread when giving it serious thought. Many of us talk fondly of going back, but seriously, who are we kidding? Why is it so hard to repatriate? We all have our own reasons but here a few of mine which I suspect will resonate with many of you "homesick but not so much" folks out there.

Public Services - Jeebus Cribes, why is renewing a drivers license an all day affair? Why are they going to lunch all at the same time? Why are the lines so long in the damn bank? Furthermore, a year and a half for a passport appointment? Really?!?! Call me spoiled, but I am used to things happening quickly here in the US. Drivers license, 30 minutes tops, half the damn time I can renew it online and have it come in the mail anyway. Trips to the bank, 10 minutes.

Which brings me to my next point.......what the hell is a home branch? Why is it that if I'm in Gasparillo, should I have to inquire at my home branch on Independence Square for certain services? A bank is a bank, this isn't a damn franchise, if I want to change my address, phone number, etc, a trip to the home branch for such a mundane task should not be necessary.

Service in general - Customer service in Trinidad has always been poor; so poor in fact, you'd think it was a part of the culture or something. During my most recent trip, things had obviously improved tremendously since the time I'd been there previously but still. Retailers at home, seemed to always behave as though they were doing you a favour by having you shop at their store. Have you ever had to wait for service while the mook behind the counter talks on the phone, only to give you attitude if you steups?

Oh Lord, don't even get me started on returns (or lack thereof).

Have you ever tried to return anything to a store in T&T? No, of course not, you're not stupid, who'd want to willingly subject themselves to that sort of experience. Point blank, trini retailers don't believe in returns.

 It was broken in the box when you got home? Tough, you should have checked it before you left the store. 

What's that? The product doesn't work as advertised? You probably didn't read the ad properly then.

To illustrate my point, I had an experience over the weekend at a Pizza Hut here in Atlanta. I had called ahead to order my pizza so that in the time it took me to get from Stone Mountain to Norcross, the damn thing would have been ready. By the time I got there, it turns out that not only was the pizza not ready, they hadn't even given the order to the cooks to prepare. I ended up sitting patiently while the manager lost his mind but 30 minutes later, I had a free pizza, and a $20 credit for two additional pizzas the next time I came.

Do you think that would happen at home? Don't make me laugh.

I have numerous other points of course but I won't burden you with them today. The fact of the matter is that Trinidad & Tobago is my home, I'd love to move back there at some point, but seriously, some things have to change.