So, I’m driving my two-door, classic, CLK Mercedes Benz home, with my wife seated right next to me, trying hard not to express her dissatisfaction at the fact that I’m addicted to this raggedy skeleton of a car, when a taxi, out of nowhere, decided to cross in front of me. This was right at the entrance of the beautiful, modern, estate where my family and I have called home for the last few months.
My wife had previously sworn that she would not allow me to park the car anywhere near her beautiful home, as it would not fit in nicely with her décor, but alas, with her more luxurious car in need of surgery, she would have to…you know…swallow her words.
I was sure that the taxi driver that had deliberately cut me off at the entrance of the estate had sworn at me, but I decided to give the fool the benefit of the doubt. Seconds later, I would stop again, blocked by the same taxi, unable to proceed to my home which was about forty metres away, because the angry taxi driver wanted to take a piss by the bushes! I called out at the fool as he walked off! I asked him to move the car so I could go on to my house but he swore at me again and did the moonwalk, much like Sisqo in the Thong Song, all the way to the bushes which were closer to our house than to where we stood to wait.
Coming back to his taxi, the driver swore at me some more. My hands were shaking as he kept going on. I was seconds away from jumping down my car and giving the jackass my favourite Ali right hook. My wife though, being her, shook her head at me.
Years before, we went through a similar experience and I would lash out at the taxi driver, hoping to God that that fool would give in to my taunting, just so his face could say hello to my fist. My wife taught me the most valuable lesson that day and I have written about it many times before…prioritise your stress.
While the angry, stupid, fool of a taxi driver continued to spew profanity, walking slowly to his car and then taking some more time to spew more profanity before finally letting me drive past…even swearing that if I could beat him, he would never, ever drive a taxi again. He should thank my wife. My left hook alone would have knocked him out! I hadn’t even noticed his stagger as he walked until he was almost at his taxi. He was visibly drunk…or close to it. He reminded me of the one time a very drunk, very stupid man decided to threaten my father and gave fair warning before the punch came. As he swung and said, “I give you a swinger” (the man was Caucasian with a strong Yorkshire accent), my dad ducked as he responded, “and where did it land you?” as he crashed onto the hard Fajara floor.
So should I have been surprised when, in usual Latirr Carr fashion, I decided to switch from The Gambia’s most ardent Nawec critic, to its biggest fan, all to serve as some light entertainment on the dark, hot evenings. I was going to go all the way with this one; start a parody page, design graphics, have daily announcements, start a fan-mail (or hate-mail) programme and just give my people a little bit of artsy fun! Even though I shouldn’t have been surprised with some of the reactions, I was! Stupid me!
Now my audience is not usually the thin-skinned. I have in my following, people who have been with me well before Aling Domo days, but for some reason, as I grew less angry, they grew angry. Who would have thought…Latirr Carr of all people…running away from a good fight!? Prioritise your stress!
People are angry! Like, very, very angry! It was almost as if being angry at me meant a better service from Nawec. I smiled as it all happened though. I realised, like most art forms available to man, The Gambia is not ready for this one either. It explains why our artists play it safe with their art. It explains why comedy cannot be offensive; why our lyrics always sound regurgitated; why we play more defensive football than offensive (pun intended). Our people are simple people…to call them simple-minded and to be generic about it, would be…offensive. No?
Meanwhile, the story of our anger continues. Over the last two years, I have heard stories about my successes (Yal na sutura yaaga) that have gotten me screaming bomboclaat at high pitch. Like, ma nyaaka suma our people are talented. The more I spoke to people around me, the more I realised I was not alone in my predicament. Our society has sadly been built around a culture of envy, hate and a brick of lies. To make enemies, all you need to do is walk across the street with your head held high.
People get angry simply because someone speaks with an accent! Like, bloody hell! Boy dor de kham sah boy. Deka bi nyeupa warra bracket si tarr…nyeup bracket si sorna…nyeup bracket si oross, nyeup bracket si raga. The truth however is, no two people anywhere in the world are the same. You can believe all the conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and Bill Gates all you want, but to believe that your hating people, attacking them, and continuing to poke at them in every way possible, is going to suck at their destiny, is the most foolish dream any man ever had.
We create invisible battles with people around us without their knowledge…all of this while we trade smiles around and give fake social media hearts and kisses. Parent pick fights with other parents because their child was beaten in class. Parents oh! I am not talking about teenage boys fighting over a girl (or boy…considering things yi taayi). These are grown a**, should-be-retiring, failed-forever-in-life-already, leading a false life, hating on everything positive, parents.
You find this hate, envy and endless battle at the workplace. You find it in our religious circles. You find it especially now on social media and in the virtual space which is now our world. You find this stupid nonsense on our highways, at the market, in the political arena, at the bank, at our GSM companies. Everybody is angry.
Life used to be simple when we were kids. If you or your parents were angry with someone, there was no secret. Someone had to fight, get it out of the way, and forge ahead with a couple of bruises. But everyone forged ahead. Well at least that’s what most of us thought. Apparently some people didn’t fight. They kept grudges, developed their surroundings with the same hate, envy and bitterness and now our entire country is infected.
Deka bor kham neh, ken jeekuwut…nyeupa chapteh…why must we spend our very valuable time secretly trying to destroy the little good that our country has? To make it all worse, we are so creative and colourful in the way we do said destruction. Unfortunately, a society that thrives and lives for bad news has no choice but to embrace all this rubbish and make it look like the best thing since Del Piero.
“Man better not mess with me jan-ning ka’ateyayejaay
Got goons behind the scenes, ka kaano ateyayejaay
A-bere-bere manilake man silalajaay
You only get to live once, life-ol nyapayejaay”
Those words above are unfortunately not mine. They belong to one of the greatest Gambians to ever touch a mic, ST Brikama Boyo. When I need my angry music for an angry RBN I run to his ateyayejaay. Now try reading this essay all over again with a glass of wonjo, earpiece in ears and ST’s Ateyayejaay on replay. Thank me later…and please, if you’re one of those on the dark side, prioritise your stress. Don’t allow the success or happiness of others around you to make you an angry or hateful person. If you are the one going through the pain of people pissing on your success just because they think they can, hold your head up high and know we’ve all been through worse and look at us now!