I now live in a city that by far more diverse than Jamaica. There are multiple religions and sects, and groups and subgroups that you have to contend with. A recent run-in with a heavily tattooed and pierced (white) chap in the suburbs of Connecticut, made me ponder personal hang-ups. We were on our way to Young Rod’s annual Bar-be-cue when we blew a tire. It could have been a disaster, but Joel skillfully brought the car to a stop without flipping it over. We then got out to survey the damage – it was not a pretty sight. Our pierced and tatted “friend” was according to him driving behind us and saw what happened, stopped and offered to assist. He looked scary, at least from my point of view. Joel didn’t seem overly concerned so I kept my mouth shut.
Our guy had all kinds of colorful artwork all over his body – snakes and dragons and whatnot. Just the kind of a person my fertile imagination saw chopping me up limb, by chubby limb and storing in his refrigerator, or like Hannibal, he’d probably use my brain matter to make stir-fry.
I watched as he jacked up the car, crawled under it and attempted to remove the spare without much success. He emerges several minutes later, flushed and sweating. The tire had not been removed in so long; the nuts and bolts were rusted in place.
“I’m gonna have to go get my toolbox. I don’t live very far, maybe ten minutes away, he said in his Connecticut drawl. Fifteen minutes later, he was back – three cute kids in tow, one not yet and year old. He introduced each by name, explaining it was his time to baby-sit. His wife had to go off somewhere. I felt ashamed, how could I have labeled this nice man – a God send not less – a serial killer?
When the job was finished and we offered him money, he was at pains to point out that he did not do it for financial gain, but found pleasure in helping people that needed it. We gave him a tip anyway.