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TRINIDADIANS WOKE UP Friday morning, basodee until they beh-beh, because they were forced to confront the prospect of having to go to work on a Friday morning after two consecutive public holidays in one week!
Furthermore, one of those holidays – Thursday’s, Corpus Christi – is not a fixed date, like Labour Day, the (holi)day before, which always falls on 19 June; Trinidadian bitterness was accordingly sharpened on Friday because, look here, almighty God Himself went to the trouble of making Easter Sunday come late this year, precisely so that Corpus Christi, 60 days later, could land on the day after a fixed public holiday. The way resentful Trinis see it, God Himself bent over backwards to deliver a potential five-day weekend – and the government didn’t even have the common decency to invent a holiday for Friday, the way they did in 2017, with the one-off First People’s Day. Why, Trinis are asking themselves, did we elect the PNM, if not to squeeze een an extra day-off when we need it most? How often does any responsible Cabinet get the chance to transform a solitary standalone workday into the glorious day three of a five-day weekend?
Too besides, Trinidadians want to know why we are letting in all these Venezuelans, if not to do whatever trabajo has to be done on public holidays, so that decent Trinis could enjoy their birthright of five non-stop party days?
Foreigners and other oppressed peoples accustomed to the torture of having to go to work every working day of the year could stomach this kind of thing, perhaps, but, for the sensitive Trini, to be deprived of a holiday they almost had in their grasp is to be stifled, throttled, murdered in their beds – and by hands they trusted! Trinidadians felt, on Friday morning, like West Indies cricket fans in the current World Cup: how the firetruck do you start with 321 runs and contrive to lose with eight full overs to go?
The unshakeable Trinidadian conviction is that any day that falls between a public holiday and a weekend (or vice versa) should automatically be swallowed by the holiday, like plankton by a whale. And it doesn’t matter whether or not the days-off surrounding the near-holiday are themselves actual official holidays: Trinidadian chests swell with civic pride if they manage to get to work before lunch on Ash Wednesday – don’t mind that Carnival Monday and Tuesday are not even actual public holidays!
Interrupting a five-day weekend with a single day of work is downright un-Trinidadian! It’s the kind of provocation that could make Abu Bakr & the Muslimeen rise up again.
Luckily, most people just wouldn’t treat Friday as a working day. The most forward thinking would have applied for a casual day off on the non-holiday Friday and everyone else would just take it as a sick day. Indeed, if you do not take the Friday working day off, Trinidadians suspect there must be something wrong with you!
Find the people who went to work on this non-holiday Friday and you’ll find the third political party Trinis dream of, whose Cabinet wouldn’t loot the Treasury, might actually try to govern a little bit; their voter base would be the ONR voters who got not a damned seat, the COP members who wanted Winston to lead, not follow, the masses wandering in the political dessert, waiting to be delivered into the promised land of responsible citizenship.
But then, can you really blame Trinis for wanting to avoid work? Or any of today’s realities? When any glance at anything other than the next drink, the next dance or the next bucket of KFC results in utter depression, you’re better off sticking with the day off; the Trinidadian fantasy is often better than the world reality.
Consider, e.g., that, on Friday, the next prime minister of the United Kingdom would be reduced to a choice between Boris Johnson and another clown – with only Rory Stewart even being honest enough to admit no one can deliver Brexit without parliamentary approval.
The only thing more depressing than the idea that Boris Johnson could be the next British PM is the reality that Boris Johnson is going to be the next British PM. Johnson, a sort of younger, more stupid, more self-obsessed Donald Trump, with a worse haircut – is the worst possible choice from a group Monty Python would have rejected as too pompous to be the Upper Class Twit of the Year. Choosing one from this pack of jokers is like deciding which wart you want to have at the end of your nose.
But, jump high, jump up low and shake your manifesto, the same clown who turned London into a circus as mayor is going to hold the most powerful office in the UK.
And his one idea – because only one at a time can fit in his head – is to get Brexit done.
When you have to send someone on a fool’s errand, you’re better off choosing a simpleton.
And when you wake up in a world where Trump is in the White House and his voodoo doll is getting ready to move into No 10 Downing Street, you’re well advised to do like the Trinidadian, and roll over and go back to sleep.
Better to take a day off than take on a day like today.
BC Pires is always amazed but never surprised