AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH: Loving work and life in Barbados
MY NAME is Ricardo Dacosta Grazette and I’m a merchandiser for a baking company. My last name is Grazette and I’m from Grazettes. I’m one of the Grazettes’ Grazettes. I went to St Leonard’s Boys Secondary. I got licks at St Leonard’s. That was the norm. Not a big lot of licks though. I couldn’t have been a bad boy at school. My parents woulda go wild on me. At home, it’s me, and my elder and younger sister. It was lovely to be the only boy at home. Pampered. My mum and dad are the best parents in the world. I always wanted to be like my dad and I always wanted a girlfriend who would be like my mum. I have a little girl myself. I tried to emulate my dad but, you know, things happen, and I had to leave the girl’s mother. Ashley sees her mum on weekends. My daughter Ashley Jordan lives with me. I’m mummy and daddy. I do her ironing. Done had all her schoolbooks on the second day of vacation. Onliest thing I can’t do is plait hair. It cost me to get her hair done every week. I too big now to go buy dollies to practise plaiting hair.I believe in the Almighty but I wouldn’t call myself a Christian. I’m churchgoing if I have to; weddings, funerals. If my Daddy has men’s fellowship and he got to bring a friend to church, or if my little girl want to go and my work done fast enough on Sunday, me and she will go. I believe there is an afterlife. I’d like somebody to come back and tell me how it is – upstairs or downstairs. Musicians, lawyers, doctors, movie stars – they got a lot of downstairs people. Both my mum and my dad have high blood pressure and I always knew either one of my sisters or me would be diagnosed with it. Last year, round Crop-Over, I was drinking every day. Playing pool, I had this thing: the more I drink, the more spots I seeing on the ball to hit. One morning, last year, I saw a blood clot in my eye. My blood pressure was high. That scare me. I had stopped exercising at the time. So I put things in place and my pressure is under control now. I don’t want to go and left my little Ashley. I never played cricket to a high level but cricket is what got me limping today. I was playing IDC cricket for my company. I came into bowl and I heard this loud pop on my right side and, from then, I was limping. I have to go for surgery in November, a hip resurfacing. That’s something new on the block. You know they do hip replacement? They’re doing this hip resurfacing now. It’s ten years I have this injury now. It hurts bad. But I try not to use painkillers. I don’t want to become dependent on them. The pain got a lot worse since Kadooment Day. I jumped. I shoulda know better but the onliest way I won’t jump is if I’m not on the island. In the 14 years since I start working, I always say, as long as I have a job and could pay for a costume, I would jump. The longer jump in this year’s Kadooment was real nice. It not so nice with me limping everywhere now. Painful, man. Red Plastic Bag is my favourite. He mightn’t have the stage movements like Gabby and Blood and them, but he got real hard lyrics. I had a girl I had liked real bad and she had done with me and I couldn’t get things to eat and all kinda thing. My mummy tell me, “Girls like the bus. As soon as one pass you, you’ll see a next one coming.” I go to Brownes Beach, every day. Best beach in the world. I play my paddle ball with friends every evening. I get a good sweat and go home feeling good. I like cinema but mostly I watch DVDs. My Dream Box dead. A merchandiser makes sure his company’s products are well merchandised on the shelf. Make sure everything is attractively displayed and “FIFO”, – First in, First Out – is well in place, so we don’t have any stale bread on the shelf. I go to the office everyday but my job is mainly on the road. I have a particular set of supermarkets and groceries I go to. I got a few minimarts I cover, too. If a truck driver call in sick, I’ll drive the truck, to help out. I believe in service. On Thursdays, merchandisers have a sales meeting with the sales manager. Talk about how the week was for us, how sales going. The nicest thing about the job is meeting people. You meet a different person everyday. I drove a truck for three years and it got boring, seeing the same shopkeepers every day. There is no bad thing about the job. I love what I’m doing, see? This is my 14th year at my company and I never took a sick day yet. Not one. If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be something from my mummy. As long as mummy doing it, I eating it. I’m a mummy’s boy. A Bajan is someone born and bred, raise up in Barbados. Barbados mean everything, everything to me. My friends and me, when we done play on the beach on an evening and go in the sea, we say, “This is life!” We get a sweat and now we relaxing in the water. Sweet!