I recently submitted a So it go column entitled ‘How come?’ listing some of the oddities we encounter in daily life (some comical, some not) and, as I predicted, I heard from readers with their own “how come” submissions. Some are too convoluted, or salty, to reproduce here, but one from Hubert Williams, a Barbados-based Guyanese, himself a well-known journalist, is worth sharing. He began by chiding me for naivete (he’s probably right) by saying: “Well, is you wuh ask fuh it, so ah sennin mi reply…as some uh de wutliss gurls usiz to tell wutless boys in de ole days, if you doan ask yuh wun get.”
As to why our gas prices go up when America’s rise, but not down when the US drops, Hubert argues, “Dat is becos in America dem gat spring, summer, fall and winta…we ain’t gat fall in Guyana and Barbados, suh we stuck wid duh. But fus leh mih tel yuh… dat wuh yuh seh deh is ole time tawk…de yungstahs nowadays doan tawk like duh… you is a mewzisshun, but yuh gaffa larn how fuh liss’n betta.”
As to why rich people have their court cases heard faster than poor people, he says, “Dat is becos de court bossis know dem rich people from cocktail party and party contribueshun.” And as to why I have to pay when somebody calls me on my cell phone, he argues, “Dat is becos wit all de singin yuh bin doin all dese years, and livin in farrin places, de phone people an everybaddy else tink yuh is a multimillionaire an gon pay widdout cussin dem out.” I’m nothing like a millionaire of course (the pirates took care of that) so that wrong assumption should be corrected. And as to why the TV provider doesn’t send me a refund when channels go down, as they often do, he says, “Is de same ting like de odda wun we just lef ‒ dey aftuh yuh money.”
On my complaint that there is “women’s lib but no men’s lib” Campbell argues “Men like fuh adlib and doan complain…plus dem duz shame.” I’m not sure I follow that one, but then Hubert is an erudite man; maybe I’m just a dunce. In my article I had argued that since we can vote government out every 4 or 5 years, men should be able to do the same with their wives. Hubert responds: “Doan fool yusself bai…yuh can toss she out tomarra – if yuh pakkit loaded enuff.” (I can’t say I know Hubert intimately, but a lot of his positions revolve around money – like he get shaft from a previous wife.)
As to why the telephones we buy nowadays don’t last very long, Campbell is not on the phone company’s side. “Dat is not dere problem; dat is your problem, cos it look like yuh doan know how fuh care a phone good…ah gat me own since de 1980s an it still wukkin good.” I suspect the banna fibbing on this one (the 1980s?) but I would have to go Barbados to check, and the air fares now are brutal.
He is with me, however, on my point about higher air fares from Guyana when he says: “Ah rite a artickle bout de same thing cos ah duz pay far less fuh a Boston/Buhbaydus return (12 hours flyin) dan dem 2 airlines wan me pay fuh a Guyana return. Is dats why yuh all en seein mi down deh, or els ah wudda cum fuh de Eestuh wuh jus gone.”
I had mentioned the vexation about your vehicle’s spare tire being fine until the day you actually get a flat, and Hubert suddenly became the philosopher as he fired back, “As yuh ax de questchun, ah gun tel yuh: Beecos dat is yuh spare; it ain’t gat no dissiplin. Me oan diffrunt. Once when dem pattholes on a Buhbayduz road pounchuh me tire, de spare wheel wuz hard hard, but yuh tink I gun stap pun any road at midnight seh ah changing wheel? Ah drive home jess suh, easy easy; de pounchuh tire wuz in tatters, but it save de rim. Next day in mi garaj ah put on de spare an um wuz hard an nice.”
I had pointed out the annoyance of having dinner guests here and that just as the roast is to go in the oven, blackout hits. Campbell came back with a right hook to the liver. “De ansa is yuh gaffa live in a country wuh doan gat no blackout…period.” Just to be sure I get the point, he underlined the word, “period” and put three exclamation marks after it. I can’t be sure about this one, but my suspicion is that Hubert is making a subtle point about Barbados being superior to Guyana – at least when it comes to blackouts. The exclamation marks suggest that he is emphasizing to make sure I get the message.
In my original column, I had predicted responses and Hubert proved my point. Okay, I’m not a millionaire, and I’m not easy on my telephone, but at least I can prophesy.