Laughing Mad


Canadians – or maybe just me – tend to be a bit reserved.  We hold back our emotions.

This morning I noticed a man actually bending over at the waist to a 90-degree angle with laughter while joking with friends.  Many times each day, I hear St. Lucian women laughing from deep in the belly.

The jokes are often in Patois and I don’t know what they’re about but sometimes when I catch on a little and let out a smile, women on the bus notice that even Harold is laughing.  Maybe I should laugh more.  Maybe we should all laugh more.

Yesterday, I heard (and then saw) two men yelling at each other from opposite sides of the street. I could hear it a block away and then walked through the heated discussion.  At one point I saw one guy walk across the street towards the other guy and I thought this could get ugly.  The other guy also crossed the street yelling all the while with no hint of physical aggression.

Other days, I hear bus drivers yelling at each other for the way they’ve parked – or drove – at the bus stop. Often one driver is mad and the other is entirely indifferent.  Sometimes, I can imagine them drinking Piton together in the same way hockey players can beat the crap out of each other on the ice and then go to the pub together for a drink.

One time a passenger (an off-duty driver) started yelling with the driver while I was on the bus.  It was the end of my first solo bus trip and I needed some directions to find my next bus.  They were yelling at each other even as one was walking away.  I said, “excuse me”, to the driver. His demeanor changed instantly and he was very helpful with directions.

Anger is a gift. That phrase often comes to my mind for a number of reasons.  I’ve heard it in the Rage Against the Machine song, “Freedom“, and I’ve read about it in social work books.  Anger doesn’t have to be threatening – it’s good to just let it out rather than bottling it in. Just don’t get mad at me though okay?!

I don’t know anyone here well enough yet to see their sadness and their grief but it must exist.  There are reasons for sadness to exist, there are always reasons.

Fortunately for me, I hear laughter in St. Lucia way more than I hear anger. I just don’t always know what people are laughing and yelling about.



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