Manners over clothes

speaking out


On June 2, while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s, I had an unforgettable experience. The office was crowded, but quiet, as some people spoke in hushed tones on their cellphones, completely ignoring the sign at the counter that read Turn Off Cellphones.

If we were all in compliance, then we would not be true New Yorkers, because some of us tend to conveniently ignore  instructions, especially if we don’t see the necessity for them.

The silence was soon broken by the voice of a lady saying a hearty “Good afternoon”. The response, in the room, was just as hushed as the phone conversations, and some people did not even respond. At that point, the woman, who was dressed nicely, sternly asked if the patients there did not speak.

And without hesitation and gusto she declared: “I am from Barbados, and where I come from we speak.”

At this point, I said a louder, second “Good afternoon”; but the others still kept quiet. She then, still visibly annoyed,  went and sat in a seat by the wall.

I quickly went over to her and identified myself as a fellow Bajan. I even showed her my pendant map. In the conversation that ensued she explained her disgust with the ones who come here and change, by forgetting their heritage and adopting unmannerly habits.

She extolled her upbringing and was proud of her Bajan manners. And, with a smile, she told me the only thing she would change were her clothes.

On my way out she gave me a wave and a broad smile. It was a pleasure meeting the woman from Parish Land, Christ Church, who also reminded me that I, being from St Michael, had to pass her to get to the airport, and how she, as a young girl, had enjoyed watching the planes come in for  landing.

Coincidentally, as reported on Wonder Wall, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. was about to honour another proud Bajan – Rihanna – in New York City that night with its Fashion Icon Award.
–– MICHAEL HEADLEY, Brooklyn, New York.

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