Column this week
It’s winter in England. And you know what that means, don’t you? Cold season. Yes man, everybody and their tantie has the cold up here now. And not no kind of jokey cold either eh. Not the kind of cold you can have and still be respectable in polite society, delicately wiping one’s nose with a handkerchief. No. I’m talking body racking, lung shattering, snatty nose producing colds.
Every day – and I do mean each and every single day – I raise my head from my own business just in time to see somebody hacking up a lung, fail and settle for mere gobs of phlegm which they subsequently spit out on the ground in front of them, usually just a short distance away from the innocent feet of a bystander. As if this wasn’t more than enough, one gets the pleasure of seeing the previous efforts of others while making one’s way and looking at the ground occasionally to see where one is placing one’s feet. I think this country may be suffering silently from a tuberculosis epidemic that the authorities are unaware of. Could it really be that so many people in this country are just plain nasty and unaware of the fact that spit is the carrier of a myriad number of diseases?
I thought things were bad in Trinidad. I really did. It used to drive me crazow to see people coughing and spitting on the side of the road. But Trinidad good now. Because Trinidadians are boo compared to these heroes up here. Here nah, when I tell you. Some of these people up here in a whole different class by themselves. Because is not no pull over to the side of the road spitting that does be going on here yuh know. People talking to you and turning they head and hawking and spitting and wherever it fall, it lie.
But the worse thing about cold season is that it shows up those of us that had no sort of training whatsoever from our parents. People in the train, people on the bus, people walking through the crowd and coughing. And not covering their mouths. I don’t understand it. I don’t want to understand it. That is high class nastiness as we would say back home. People coughing koof, koof and wetting all the back of your neck and when you complain they more vex than you. Like you supposed to be glad they willing to share their germs with you. Like the seats on the trains and the rails on the escalators – hell, the very air itself – don’t have enough germs to mash up your immune system if you’re not careful.
Now, I learnt my lesson. I’s a woman does get the cold easy so since June I stocking up on my vitamins and so far so good. Excuse me a minute lemme go and find piece of wood to knock on. Right, I’m back. Yeah, so I taking my super duper heavy artillery vitamins since June and I’m okay so far. But I doubt the ability of these vitamins to resist the daily onslaught of phlegm, saliva and hacking coughs. And when I fold up in bed suffering with the cold and fever none of these people who sharing their cold coming to rub me down with Vicks and my moms not even in the same country as me to say she will make a lil fish broth for me. So you see why I vex.
But really, when did basic hygiene become so uncommon? When did obvious things like wiping your child’s nose and making sure you don’t spit on someone become relegated to the realms of “upper class” affectations? I remember when I was growing up manners and etiquette were two of the main things my parents drilled into my siblings and myself. And my cousins too when they happened to be around. We wouldn’t dare cough and not cover our mouths – my father would have a fit. And washing and keeping clean was almost an obsession with my mother. Their conviction was that while they did not have money to give us everything, they would sure as hell make sure they gave us the things money couldn’t buy.
So I know nobody in England will be reading this column. Is alright, they too far gone anyway. But for those of you back home reading this, have a little consideration for everybody else nuh. Is true God say to share but I’m sure he wasn’t thinking about germs when he said it. Thanks.