Enjoyment is a tiny package packed with moments of intense pleasure. Everyone knows this and that is why some of us have pleasant memories of things that might have otherwise been insignificant. There was a lot of enjoyment these past holidays, and I did not have to do a night club or even try to be with people who are known to light up any place they happen to occupy.
I had been planning for the holidays because in my head, there were many fun things that I wanted to do. I do enjoy a bit of the booze and I stocked up a fair amount because I expected company who would help me dispose of the assorted liquids I had. Then I had my mother, my sisters, nieces and nephews. I couldn’t hope for anything better.
There was the food and suddenly I had no appetite. For some strange reason whenever there is a lot to eat people suddenly feel hungry. I promise to have some friends over and I will put out a lot of food. But I will have to pick the time because I have some friends who would eat me even after they had a huge meal a few minutes earlier.
But there was a strange moment during the period of my enjoyment. Two of my overseas-based sisters wanted to see the casino at Princess Hotel. They had been to casinos all over the place—Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Jamaica, The Bahamas. So they wanted to see what Guyana had to offer.
I am not a gambling person but if they wanted to try their luck then so be it. At the casino I saw Guyana-based Guyanese who managed to enter, but there was this receptionist who knew me. The child was scared that I would write something about entrance to the casino. She was right.
The child asked me for some form of American document to prove that I was foreign-based. I had my social security card. Then she wanted a picture identification. I gave her one. Then she said that I had to speak to the manager. By then my sisters and I had lost interest. The manager did say “Come on in” but the drinks on the other side beckoned.
The man said that once inside the casino I would not have to buy things; I preferred to because that heightens my enjoyment. It gives me the right to cuss the following day when my head is beating like a drum and to think that I had to pay for the discomfort. But the good thing is that I drank my money rather than give it away trying to win what I did not put in the casino.
During the holidays I saw firsthand how things people once took for granted suddenly became something most desired. My parents moved out of my native Beterverwagting in 1969. My sisters were very young, so when we went back there to reconnect they found a lot to shout about. The old school had them oohing and aahing.
Then I had to hear how things that appeared to be very large then, were so small. They found the streets too narrow; the playground they once occupied was nothing and fruits that they once tossed around were gems. They made for my enjoyment.
There were other strange things. My friend Roopan Ramotar, an Essequibian called Fowl Cock put a smile on my face. Fowl Cock once told me that he invited a friend to fly in his private aircraft. The friend, a foreigner, wanted nothing better than to see the Essequibo Coast from above. By the time he landed he was certain that he would have been looking down on the whole of Guyana from Heaven.
Ramotar took him up and flipped the plane, stalled it, and did just about everything that people would not normally do. His friend left a stench in the cabin before long. This friend also developed a new respect for life on earth, literally.
Ramotar was in the city to do some business. He collected a five-million-dollar cheque, bought some material for another couple millions and had one million dollars in cash in a bag in his vehicle. Someone must have followed him because when he stopped at Cornelia Ida, a car pulled up and someone removed the bag with his passport, the cheque, the receipts, the money, and identification cards.
Poor Ramotar decided to beg for his passport which had a United States visa and his identification card. He promised a reward.
Lo and behold, someone went to a law firm and dropped off a bag with the cheque, the passport and just about everything else except the one million dollars. Ramotar was in hog’s heaven. Had I lost a million dollars I would have been crying to this day.
Believe it or not, Ramotar wanted me to thank the person for returning his things and he begged them to use the million dollars to good effect, hopefully for the rest of their lives. He forgot that this is not the 1950s when a million dollars would have lasted for life. His actions made for my enjoyment.
But it was not all enjoyment. Then there was the 19-year-old homosexual who was found dead. A survey found that gay prostitutes are more likely to die violently in homophobic Guyana. There was the aunt who begged him to stay at home, who actually found a regular job, but who could not get the boy to comply.
She spoke of the fellow telling her that he was not going far because he had not put on make-up, but there he was, dressed in skirt and panties. The death made me realize how precious little life means these days. It also made me realize how intolerant we are of people who appear to be different in outlook.
An adopted brother of mine was found on the seawalls with his throat cut. He was gay and only he knows why he was there. This young man who was killed either late Thursday night or early Friday morning was on an empty plot, removed from view. Like my brother, he had a cut by his neck. Is there a serial killer out there targeting gay men?
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