Carnival Tuesday 2020, 11 AM, Video Call from Gums by the Savannah. “Wey you Benitaaaa?” - Miss Rose is in Santo Domingo at work like a normal human being. Although I realised it might be slightly risky to answer a video call at work, I literally didn’t mind losing my job for this. So here I am watching the Mas live in front of my phone screen, and I don’t know why at one point in my life I decided to skip Trini Carnival this year to “focus on my career”, but now all I know is, it was a mistake. How important can my career be? Is this worth it? At this point it couldn’t get any worse, I had already missed most events that tend to make my life worth living. Okay, I´m not a big concert fan. I prefer the dirty cooler fetes that make you end up storming the stage, but this year I wouldn’t have mind a legendary last Machel Monday aka THE wedding.
I remember last year when I touched down Sunday night before Machel Monday and felt I shouldn’t miss Machel Monday but I was being cheap. “Okay fine, let’s go General”, I told my friends, “I eh paying that much money for Machel” (as if it wasn’t worth it paying every Trini Dollar to see this man set any fete on fire). As we reached the General section, I couldn’t even make out the stage and I was vex that I hadn’t for once listened to people who told me “NEVER GO GENERAL AT MACHEL MONDAY!”. “Nah – we going VIP”, I changed my mind and we managed to bargain with a scalper outside, who eventually gave us our VIP tickets for close to nothing. In “VIP”, although you feel nothing like “Very Important”, not even “Important”, but at least we felt like we were part of the event. Who doesn’t know this moment when you spent way too much money for a Carnival-related event and you just couldn’t help it because Carnival is life?
After Machel´s big wedding event passed this year, I peeked onto the Carnival 2020 calendar for the rest of the week and I wanted to cry. One of my favourite fetes of the year was about to be held, Punchy Wednesday. I remember how warm my heart felt when I entered the Punchy venue last time and they were giving out Punchy Punch shots at every corner. I don’t even want to know what they came up with this year, and please don’t tell me. While I am quietly going about my life here in the Dominican Republic, no Dominican is seeing my pain of missing out Carnival because so far, nobody here can even tell me where Trinidad & Tobago is located. I mean, it’s not like you can’t find distractions from Carnival here, I tried and executed everything and it partly actually worked too, but then you get a live Video Call from the center of happiness, in the House of Bacchanal, like there’s no way Miss Rose can miss this – really? Yes. Apparently. Really.
Meanwhile, moms thinks missing “one year” of Trinidad Carnival is nothing, and it’s part of life because you can’t have everything. Please, mom, nobody deserves such a life. Like so often, she is trying to be like her daughter, and comes up with a big plan of celebrating her 60ies Bday Bash Moms Style, a party I´m not supposed to miss. Since her birthday is in literally 3 weeks, I´m shaking my head. There were times (last year around this time) when I bought a last-minute ticket to Trinidad 4 days before the flight to make it to Carnival, but I can’t make this party in 3 weeks now, as a newly-self-announced professional who is needed at her full-time job, as if everything would crash without me. She clarified that she wants her big not-to-be-missed party to be “in the summer when its warm, like July or August”. But WAIT! There is only ONE thing that comes to my mind when I think about Europe and July or August. I´m checking dates, first Berlin Carnival. Too early, damn! Rotterdam Carnival? July 25th. Boom! Mom, I´m flying down “when its warm”, I can’t miss your party. Ready with a conch in my suitcase to shell di place. Carnival body ready? Never. Fetes? We doing them all. Road? Costumes for this year? Soaked in Soca got you covered! Artistes? We don’t care, we jamming to anyone and anything. Preferably Mister Killa.
Soca-fam, we doing this owah?