How to Survive a Carnival Tabanca
Replace the haunted sounds of Maxwell’s “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever” with Machel’s “Advantage” and you pretty much have the same scenario. You bawlin’ your eyes out, heaving and hyperventilating, and just about ready to grab a rusty, old knife from granny’s kitchen to slit your wrists, and end it all.
How could Carnival induce a scenario normally reserved for the lowest of tabancas? Well, as most Trinis will tell you, one of the pits of living abroad is having to miss Trinidad Carnival. And just like breaking up with the man or woman of your dreams can reduce you to cold-turkey-like withdrawal symptoms, so can the thought of not attending fetes, not playing mas, and, God forbid, not crossing the stage – when we finally get back de stage!
So, since I’ve devoted 2011 to writing pieces that will help people to make it through tough times, in hopes that Santa will notice all the good I’ve done and give me that Blanchiseusse beach house I so want, I had a chat with a few Trinis who are well experienced in doing their damnest to ignore the fact that they’re in New York, London or Canada – basically far away from the action – and make it through Carnival Monday and Tuesday without ‘losing it’. Besides, it really doh make sense to get suicidal over a Carnival tabanca folks. How yuh go get to play again?
So forget about putting on an old costume J’Ouvert morning and jumping off a skyscraper. Check out these real-life stories, and know that even though each tip may not always work on its own, I’m willing to bet that a combo will definitely do the trick.
Play sh*tty Soca
Franka: “It’s easier if the music is sh*tty.”
With this in mind, build that list of the worst Soca and Chutney Soca ever made. That means blasting “Whaddap”, and a tonne of other questionable music. Note the focus on ‘questionable’, because trust me, even if you think “Town Ting” not dat hot, and that All Rounder’s “Body Wine” will only make you laugh, or feel that an Iwer tune will give you goosebumps (and not in a good way), you might find yourself doing the back wine and the neck wine to all of the above, and boohooing like an idiot before Machel can say hee ha!
Sleep through it
Reannah: “My first year in London…when I was in school… I didn’t even go to class… I slept through both days… stayed in bed and watched TV.”
Okay. So this advice will only work if you have the superhuman ability to induce sleep for at least 15 of the 24 hours we call a day. You should also have the knack for not dreaming, because imagine the horror of dreaming you’re trampling the stage and then the phone rings, you wake up and realise it was all a dream.
Anthony: “Carnival tabanca easy. All you hadda do is turn on Red 96.7, buy a bottle ah scotch and wine on dat. If dat doh work, calm down… All you have to do is inhale before you exhale and you’ll be ok.”
I don’t really understand the method to the madness here, but then again… he may have been drunk, while giving this advice.
Deny it. Deny it. Deny it.
Pier: “Ignore everything, hate on everyone and look at the pictures after with a heavy heart!”
Latoya: “Not me… I didn’t even acknowledge it.”
What else is there to say? Be a hater? Bad talk Machel’s “Advantage” and say “Wotless” should win road march?
Stay off BBM and social media aka Turn off yuh phone
Onika: “I know this tabanca season I am blocking all man jack from contacting me. I don’t want no flickin text, bbm, FB, or tweet talkin’ ‘bout it. I want to be there. And they wicked. It have wicked people so who will take pics and send every two minutes.”
Basically, withdraw from any form of media or communication that gives you constant Carnival updates, especially between Carnival Friday or Saturday, and don’t go back until a week after Carnival is over. The timing of this withdrawal is courtesy of Candice, who’ll be burying her head in her school books to ignore the pain.
Throw yourself into work
That was Latoya’s second tip. This one is easier done than said. Sign up for projects that will have you way too busy to daydream about drinking Johnnie, peltin’ waist, and revelling in glorious hedonism.
Turn your office into d Avenue
Reannah: “The last year I was in London I didn’t play. I watched a live stream in work in and I taught everyone in the office how to wine. I play Soca loud whole day. I think my boss was very lenient.”
Some of you mightn’t have bosses who are as lenient though, so you might have to approach this differently (Though if you ask me, that right there is masochistic behaviour. You might end up crying more!).
Robert: “I tend to get seriously ill from the Thursday before until Ash Wednesday.”
Logically, you could say that this would make you accept the fact that you couldn’t have made it anyway. However, if you’re one of those people who turn into a baby when you’re sick, this isn’t recommended… because you’ll just get more depressed!
At this point, I must acknowledge that some of you soon-to-be tabanca victims may not have the strength to refrain from unhealthy behaviour. Kind of like Nicole who says, “I either choose to adopt a case of amnesia and forget that Carnival exists. Meaning no Calypso, Facebook or phone calls…. or I indulge the tabanca full-scale blasting Soca at every possibility and having my sister call as she cross de stage”.
So, I figure the only way to end is to quote Lee, who pretty much sums up the life of a Carnival-tabanca-stricken Trini.
“Nothing helps! Ignoring doesn’t help! Enviously looking on via any live feed doesn’t help! Getting the latest info from those playing doesn’t help! Having all this access via Facebook doesn’t help! But say wha’! I’m a Trini… I take it in stride and the tabanca is only for a time! Having said that… hope that the lucky ones home have a safe carnival and remember to take a ‘jook and wine’ for me! Please?”
PS: If you thought Trinis were the only people who got tabanca off of Carnival, think again. Check out this YouTube video of Dianne Buckner, from Chicago, who braved a blizzard to post a video in full bikini and feathers, to show how much she wants to experience Trini Carnival. Someone needs to get this woman a plane ticket, hotel accommodation, and spending money asap!
Image courtesy guardian.co.tt.