Things you notice

The Good Life

The Good Life is a column written for the Caymanian Compass by Dave Martins and appears on Fridays.

In Cayman, as in any place you live permanently, it’s the combination of all the little oddities around you that contribute to the flavour of the place.

You may have a list of some of these things yourself, but here’s a few I’ve noticed lately.

Going east on what I continue to call Bodden Town Road there’s a real estate company with a sign advertising ‘Land in East End: $74,000 an acre.’ That’s right, $74,000. What do they have under there? Oil?

I don’t know if you’ve picked this one up, but a lot of policemen here have this trait (I must ask Chief Inspector Marlon Bodden about this) where when you ask them about some peculiarity in the law, or about traffic, or some odd public behaviour, they simply laugh.

That’s it.

No response, no explanation, just this spontaneous laugh. The implication is that they know something you don’t know, something confidential, but I suspect it’s that they don’t really know the answer.

Mannie Myles is a classic example of this. You ask him a toughie, and he laughs until his motorcycle shakes. It’s frustrating.

Will somebody please explain to me why it is that people on bicycles apparently believe traffic lights don’t apply to them? Light goes red; cars stop; trucks stop; motorcyclists stop; pedestrians stop; even police cruisers stop; but people on bicycles calmly pedal on through the red as if they’re colour blind. (Actually, I was thinking to lay this one on Mannie, but I can’t take any more of the laughing.)

If you’re driving in from Bodden Town, in the area just past Northward, some homeowner has decorated what looks like an aloes plant using empty egg shells. I’m not making this up. They have carefully emptied out the eggs by making a small hole in the shell and then placed these white globes on the pointed tips of the plant.

It is the weirdest thing (if you’re driving fast you’ll miss it) and it was actually my daughter, who was just visiting here, who first spotted it.

She asked me about this plant that grows something like ping-pong balls; I thought she had flipped.

It’s around 6.30 in the morning. Just past Renard Moxam’s house, a chap on a bicycle is pedaling very gingerly to town. He has two heavily-laden plastic bags on the handles of the bike.

In his right hand, he’s holding a small electric drill. His left hand is holding the bike’s handlebar. On a piece of cloth rolled in a circle on his head, he’s balancing a small plastic water jug. I must confess I wasn’t able to see if he had anything tied around his neck.

This one is corroboration of the line in Rundown last year where it said, ‘Wherever he goes, a Jamaican loves his mangoes.’ There’s a mango tree growing close to the road (I’m talking main artery here, not side road) a few feet inside the barbed wire fence. It is mango season, but all the mangoes you can reach from the ground are gone. A Jamaican fellow has parked a truck right up against the barbed wire. He’s standing with one foot on the truck’s tray, with the other foot resting atop one of the fence posts, and he’s picking mangoes and tossing them to his buddy on the ground. Did I tell you this was on the main road?

I’m sure that from time to time we’ve all noticed funny bits like this. If you have some you want to share with me, give me a call; my number is in the phone book. Just don’t call at 4 in the morning, and don’t just drop by unannounced – I have a bad bitin’ dog.

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