AS SAID IN BC PIRES
My name is Jahleel Castagne and I don’t make New Years resolutions.
Most people just call me “G”. You know a nickname stuck when that’s what your mom calls you.
I am from Trincity and now live in Chaguanas.
I have five brothers and a sister.
My father passed away from MS when I was 16 (but) my wonderful mother Andrea deserves a special mention.
I am married but we have no children.
In my early childhood, I spent most of my free time playing soccer in our garden with my siblings. If we had a wind ball (aka tennis ball, for people rich enough to own tennis racquets) we would play cricket until the ball got lost in someone’s backyard or we broke someone’s window.
In adolescence, we played more in the street, with the neighborhood children. Until the ball got lost in someone’s backyard or someone’s window was smashed.
As a young adult, I rode a bicycle with friends. Partly to get away from parents and partly because neighbors were tired of having their windows smashed and / or stray bullets in their backyard.
I attended St Xavier Private Elementary School, St. George’s College, and UWI.
(As a civil engineer) I worked mainly in the private construction sector. Every day brings new and unique issues which can be very stressful.
But it’s not as boring as most jobs. And I come home each day knowing that I am part of creating something new.
(We) just installed 15 km of sewerage under San Fernando and a new wastewater treatment plant, one of the most important positive environmental projects that most people don’t know about.
I was raised RC but drifted towards more inclusive ideologies as I got older.
Like listening to old Allan Watts recordings and pretending I know what Enlightenment means.
I no longer find the relevant belief in my life, but I still love to see the strength that others can draw from it.
Funny enough, I find myself more sincere in my participation in other faiths since I left mine.
What awaits us after death is nothingness that we cannot fathom. We think that nothingness is the absence of everything, but I think that this nothingness will also be the absence of nothing. Time, temperature, even a state of consciousness will not exist for us to describe as “long”, “cold” or even “sleep”.
I think the idea of dying is a lot scarier than the thought of being dead.
Plus, it comforts me to think that my f — ups will likely be lost in the ether after I die.
My favorite color is black.
And slightly darker shades of black.
A good beer and a good barbecue can ease any situation.
Except maybe a hostage situation …
Actually now that I think about it …
If I want something quick and eye-catching, I’ll read non-fiction. I highly recommend Fast Food Nation.
If I have the time, the energy, and enough attention time in reserve, I like to get lost in longer fantasy or sci-fi series. I completed the Isaac Asimov Foundation series and moved on to Robin Hobbs’ Realm of the Elderlings Trilogy Collection.
This is undoubtedly due to growing up in long fictional series like Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The best book I have ever read was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is a book that we regret having only been able to read for the first time once.
My favorite writer is a raffle between Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore. Both have a sense of humor that would tickle your t-ts (if you agree, of course).
Life is musical. Trinis speak in melodies and sometimes include words in our sentences. Even those who don’t like music can’t walk the streets without keeping a beat.
I sometimes dance like no one is looking at me. When no one is watching.
It’s impossible to choose a favorite movie, but Interstellar was as perfect as a movie could be. If you could throw it into the sky while a live orchestra played the soundtrack, maybe you could do it justice. It still amazes me that, five years before the production of the first image of a black hole, theoretical physicists predicted what a black hole would look like, to ensure the accuracy of the depiction of the film. The representation was correct.
Give me big beef burgers from Clever Cleaver to Eddie Hart. He makes his patties from scratch, using different cuts of beef instead of fillers to create the fat content needed for the patty to stick together. If someone told me they made obeah on their burgers to make it taste so good, I would believe it.
And then order two more.
My first New Years resolution was to lose the weight I gained over Christmas time and yes I kept it… I kept the weight off.
I quit making New Years resolutions for the same reason I quit looking forward to Christmas presents as I got older.
In the same way that I could now afford to get what I want all year round, I realized that every day is a chance to make a new resolution.
Although I can still only make resolutions on Mondays for some reason.
For some people, the artificial pressure of the “once a year” opportunity for positive change gives them the extra motivation they need to stick with it; or so I think the thought goes.
(But) every Monday is like a new year for me.
I have found it more effective to remove the pain of failure as much as possible, so I am less dissuaded from starting over. Maybe sometimes it’s okay when failure is an option.
The only New Year’s resolution that would be worth making and keeping would be the resolution not to make a resolution this year, except this one … and that … and that … damn it !
Seriously, a resolution for me to try to interrupt less and listen more might be worth it. I think it will be worth it.
For those around me.
The big (life) issues that keep everyone awake worry me. Like: What will death be like?
Where do I draw the line between being nice and being a pushover?
Why is it so hard to tell people how much I love them?
Who said “po-TAH-toe?”
You can find a bit of everything in Trinidad.
Except a cool breeze and a parking space in the “good” Sando.
So many Trini have absolutely nothing in common, it seems unfair to define a Trini by just one attribute. The devout religious follower who prays every day and does not touch alcohol is just as Trini as the carnival babies who take out loans to get drunk and play at the farmhouse every year.
A Trini is anyone who first identifies as a Trini.
Trinidad and Tobago means “the world” to me.
Chances are, the best meal you’ve ever eaten was made up of ingredients that had nothing in common except on this plate. TT is a country of people who just add flavor to the mix. Because our (population) is made up of people who had nothing in common with the other inhabitants when they came to our shores. TT is like a lifelong meal.
Read the full version of this feature Friday night at www.BCPires.com