Making resolutions for Carnival isn’t something we consciously do – except for resolving to have a sexy body…of course. But losing weight is just one of those obvious resolutions.
Looks apart, for Trinidad’s Carnival, you’ve got to navigate things like logistics and love – and this is where the not-so-obvious resolutions reveal themselves.
I’ve heard stories about some of the antics people get up to, and figured that somewhere…out there…under the pale moonlight…and under the scorching sun, those who’ve found themselves in ticklish situations, know the situations they want to get themselves in, and those they want to avoid. And therein lies my inspiration for this list of resolutions worth considering.
Let me kick things off with a situation that can only be described as commess.
Standing up to your boyfriend/girlfriend
Carnival is colour. Carnival is mas. But Carnival is also the time when people like to play de arse. Some people use Carnival as an excuse to misbehave, without any accountability.
I’ve heard of instances where people disappear for Carnival. One woman told me that every Carnival, her man – who was usually by her side every day – would disappear for about two weeks, with hardly a call or flare. Then he’d reappear after Carnival, as if everything was normal. No answers about what he was doing, where he was, or why he didn’t return phone calls. And he got away with it, for several years, until they broke up.
This is a clear case of someone wanting to be single for Carnival. But depending on who you’re with, that won’t fly. I know a guy whose girlfriend broke up with him, because he would just catch a vaps and go to fetes with his boys, without telling her or inviting her. He didn’t answer his phone either. The first time it happened, she quarrelled and he promised to not do it again. But he did. After a few repeats, she had had enough and called it quits, because she felt disrespected.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you want your relationship to last, during this season of feting, revelry, sexual freedom, and lots of alcohol consumption, know which boundaries are absolutely not up for crossing…and don’t cross them. And for the soft-hearted peeps out there, don’t let the fact that Valentine’s Day is right after Carnival give your significant other a convenient excuse to shower you with gifts and make you forget their indiscretions.
Decide to not take their crap, or – if you have the energy – control yuh property.
Remember when Iwer used to make songs that had a point?
On that note…
Not staying up all night watching Soca Monarch
I enjoy liming at home with friends and family to watch the live show, but it’s just too long. I can’t imagine why a foreigner would stay up all night, watching Soca Monarch online. And this Trini is definitely not doing it again this year.
For Soca Monarch, you could go eat pelau, brush your teeth, take a bath and a nap, and still reach back by your TV in time to catch the next performance. When will this torture end? Organisers…tighten the show nah. Tell all the early acts of dance troupes and the like that they’ll be moved to Best Village, and hire a producer who knows how to decrease the wait between acts. Oh and get some better hosts. Find some average Joes and Janes on Twitter and hire them as commentators. People tweeted some hilarious stuff last year. I got most of my jones from joining in the fun on my Twitter feed. (Shout out to my Twitter peeps.)
Word is that the organisers are trying to streamline the show this year, so let’s see if it really happens.
Staying within your Carnival budget
Did you plan to either only attend fetes or play mas, or play mas and attend only three fetes, but by now you’re at least $1,500 over your budget, because your friends ‘chain you up’ to go fete after fete after fete? Friends may carry you, but they often don’t pay your bills. No one is coming to help you clear your credit card for all those outfits you bought. Stick to your financial lane, and don’t feel ashamed to tell someone you’re not shelling out money, because you can’t afford it.
Talking to the hottie you see every year
This worked out quite well for one of my close friends, who has since married her hottie. She wined on him, then spoke to him. The morale of the story is that sometimes you see the same people every year. Some of them pique your interest. Talk to dem nah! You never know…they might be your happily ever after, or that story about the psycho man or woman who stalked you on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
Booking your holiday way in advance
For those of us who are not into Carnival and find ourselves at home, and bored, during the Carnival weekend, we always regret not making plans earlier, especially when we try to make last-minute vacation arrangements and hear that flights, ferries, hotels and guestrooms are all booked up. Did you let that happen to you again this year? I didn’t. I will be throwing my own fete in Tobago – music not provided by mosquitoes. Air condition yo!
I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating for the lazy and undisciplined among you (I should really say us, because I fall into this category of gym haters). Some of you do the smart thing and work out all year. Some of us wait until two months before Carnival, if not later, to really get serious, when – objectively – we’d need at least a full year to look however it is we want to look. We still have a few weeks to join a bootcamp, or live on callaloo. So get to it.
Get in yuh section early
One of my friends has the last-minute-rush-to-get-in-a-section routine down pat. She saunters into a mas camp – not one of the overly popular ones, but still well patronized – and takes whatever will fit her. Luckily, she’s mostly skin and bones, so getting a tiny, leftover costume is relatively easy – and a steal, if she gets a discount.
But if you know that you just cannot stay way from mas, why go through the last-minute stress? Yeah you might get through, but is the begging and bad attitudes from mas camp customer service people who make style on you worth it? Okay…I can hear the mas addicts shouting, “Yes!” Nooooo. Be decisive, and get in yuh section early.
What about those of you who organised yourselves long time, and still end up in the last-minute stress, because a friend begged you to help them find a costume? What do you do? Help them one year, then tell them, “Organise yuhself early next year eh, ‘cause I not goin’ through dat stress again!”?
Get tickets in hand
I know some of us are spontaneous. Ask us – on Monday – if we want to go a fete this Saturday, and we’ll be like, “Nah I good.” But check us back on Saturday, and we’re on Facebook, WhatsApp and BBM, in a frenzy, asking if people have tickets, hoping that we won’t end up stuck at home, ‘sucking salt’, because we failed to plan.
If you know there’s a particular, hard-to-get-tickets-for fete, like “Vale”, get them early. Or else you’ll end up with what my cousin calls “a massive hard luck”.
Moving like a veteran
Mas veterans know that they have to walk with needle and thread, safety pins, and whatever else may save them from wardrobe malfunctions on the road. But every year, like a virgin, someone plays mas for the first time. Even some veterans get caught unprepared by some new trick courtesy of Murphy’s law. So walk with your reinforcements, or know where people offer on-the-spot ‘fix-ups’ on the road (yes, that’s a cool money-making idea).
Resolving to have the best Carnival ever requires planning your logistics, rallying your crew, and misbehaving without regrets. If you find yourself missing out on some of the action, maybe it’s time you created an official Carnival resolutions list. Where should you start? What are some of the things that you always forget to get or do every Carnival? If they’re important to you, make them happen.
Image credit: time.com
Karel Mc Intosh
Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She's also the Lead Communications Trainer at Livewired Group, where she conducts workshops in business writing, social media, and other communications areas. A real online junkie, when she isn't surfing the Internet, she's thinking about surfing the Internet. Find out more about her here or tweet her @outlishmagazine.