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AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH: Simpson’s got it metered

B.C. Pires

AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH: Simpson’s got it metered

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My name is Edward Simpson and I read meters for a power company.  
I raise up in Haynesville, St James but, after I got married and everything, I move out. I’ve been in St George for about 12 years.
Me and Desmond Haynes play cricket together as boys. A lot of the guys playing cricket in my day would make the West Indies team today. Guys like Leroy Leach [and]  Leroy Greaves. 
I think people see it as money now. Relationships of all kinds is about money, not about giving. It’s “What I can get”. It’s not about playing the role. Even in some marriages.
Some people bring down the young guys but I look at it from where we as parents or adults fail.  
The first marriage, I was young. But this will be the last one for certain.
I have children from the first marriage, a boy and a girl. My boy is married and living in England but I don’t know why he ain’t give me no grands yet. He wasting time. He’ll be 29 this year. If I live, I’ll be 55 on 19 July. 
That ad that used to be on – What would you do to end violence against women? – I would answer, “Nothing!” 
If you ask what I would do to end violence against men, I would say, “Nothing”. 
But if you ask me what I would do to end violence, I would say, “Well, now you ask me a good question!” I would do anything in my power to end violence but you can’t end violence against one gender and not the other and expect it to work. 
Everybody say they frighten of young people because those guys go for a knife or a gun quick. I beg to differ. I go in Haynesville – my mother still living there – if not every day, 95 per cent of the week. I have a chat with the youngsters and I never had a bad experience. Nobody ever pull a gun at me or knife or say I talking nonsense.
I explain the facts of life to my daughter early. She’s 16 now and I ain’t got no problems. 
I tell my son: watch me good; you never see the police running me down. If you have to do somebody something because it’s you or them, I understand that; but don’t say you will leave my house and go in Mr X’s house or leave home with a knife or gun in you pocket. When the police come, tell them you ain’t got a father! He came up with that attitude and so far I’m thankful that he never been in any trouble. 
You never too old to learn. I might be doing something one way for years and you come along and show me a little more productive way. I’d be foolish not to change but a lot of people don’t seem to want to accept change: “This is how I did doing it for years, I ain’t want hear no way else.”
We have to verify true religion from cultism. I went into something I figure was a church and when it boil down, I find it was an outright cult. That was one of the things that cause my first marriage to fail. I find out the difference between cult and church the hard way: I had to lose a house, car, the whole works, and start life all over again.
After gospel, you can give me Brook Benton, Nat Cole, Sam Cooke and no food and I’ll be all right. I don’t listen to the things young people listen to today at all, at all; I can’t pick no sense from the lyrics. And the boo-doop-boo-doop-boo-doop. 
You will buy some pork sometimes and you can’t get it chew. Then you have some that as soon you put in you mouth it melt away – that is proper pork!
I’ve been reading meters for about five years now but this is my 36th year with the power company. I went through the system.
We have 12 meter readers and three or four contractors. So you get rotated around. I’ve been all around Barbados.
We been fighting to get people to put meters on the outside, which would save us time and be safer. But all the new developments still got in meters inside and people still got their dogs. 
One lady held her dog on the neck and told me, “Okay, come in!” The dog bit her and came for me. I had to run and jump the fence.
I’ve never been bitten, thank God. So far, in all the instances, I’ve been faster than the dog! If I’m reading a meter with a dog nearby, I have one eye on the meter and one on the dog. I don’t look off of them!
One time, I didn’t see the dog under a [flight of] steps. He let me in, but he wouldn’t let me out. I had to jump from the steps right over the fence like MacGyver. You got to work like MacGyver a lot of the time.
One time I drove in an open electronic gate and the gate closed and nobody was home. I had to wait there until the maid came. 
The best thing about the job is you meet many people of all walks of life and you get to know Barbados. Some places you go, a guy will give you a pumpkin or a breadfruit. Some areas, you can’t even get a drink of water.
The bad thing about the job is the dogs. Otherwise, it’s a pretty good job and the company’s a good place to work.  
A Bajan is someone who will do things the Bajan way and look after the country. Persons who litter might be born in Barbados but I wouldn’t call that person a Bajan.  You cannot be a Bajan and dislike Barbados!
Barbados means a lot to me. We have a great gem of an island. We get the bad eddoes like everybody else, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else.