I’m not as bad as Stone, who once got lost in a parking lot, but I’m a very close second. I’ve been lucky to have good friends who are natural geographers and who would again and again direct me around streets in Woodbrook that I should know well and to the location of their houses, which by all rights I should be able to find blindfolded.
I was reflecting on this while getting lost near Monroe Road last week as I was trying to find my way to the National Muslim Women’s Organisation meeting.
This amazing group of primarily grandmothers is doing so many national activities and is so well organised that they would do a better job than the Partnership if they decided to put up a slate for the next election or decided to stage the most friendly, flowersy and motherly coup one could imagine, thus offering a Muslim women’s alternative to anything Abu Bakr would ever have conceived.
Coup is a bad word in Trinidad and rightly so, but we need much more of friendly on the political and national stage.
This became wretchedly obvious last week Monday as I watched Roodal Moonilal’s now-notorious character assassination of Wayne Kublalsingh. If Roody wasn’t several bags of aloo heavier than me, and because I wasn’t actually there with the UNC heartland getting a lesson in gutter politics, I wasn’t able to run up with a broom (borrowed from the back of an authentic Debe doubles stall) and sweep him and his dirt off the stage.
I’d have to have kept sweeping too, as Jack came up to do his best imitation of Ziya’s diaper before she learned to use the potty. You think I’m joking? I’m not.
I felt genuinely ill and sad watching them divide citizen against citizen, use the platform that we, the people gave them to legitimise insult and offence as a mode of political deliberation, and substitute the full depth of logical, transparent argument for the hollowness of bacchanal and crowd frenzy.
I had to stop myself from thinking that if Jack just died quick, quicker than he hoped for Wayne, there would be one less out-of-date politician sowing poison for future generations to reap as spoiled and bitter fruit.
You can understand now why I get lost driving. Being driven to distraction and destruction can make you lose your way.
To their credit, they were right, though. We should all know where Mon Desir is and Roody and Jack probably know the country better than most.
I therefore also felt inspired right then. Lost by a wrong turn and marvelling at the beauty of ordinary Trinidadian communities with their pink and yellow houses, undulating fields and pious flags, I decided that when Ziya got old enough, we would get in the car together, with a map, and just drive. Buenos Ayres, Busy Corner, Mundo Nuevo, Caigual, Cumaca, Princes Town and Poole as well as Chatham and Mon Desir, here we come.
She would learn to be a better geographer than her parents, she would see the communities for which Wayne was willing to give his life, we would visit all the Muslim women whose mission is about national harmony, respect and equality, and we’d talk politics so that Zi could chart her own path away from where lost politicians will lead.