One of the downsides of a propensity for wanderlust is not being able to take my handful of enduring friends everywhere with me. You can always find people to celebrate success but it is your friends who are there when life throws you (another) curved ball. But just occasionally, when you least expect it, there is the serendipity of lives walking into each other, and new friends emerging. And so it is with Warren. We met through M., his sister and my old college buddy. Not normally a whiner, he has recently complained bitterly that nothing he has ever done, or said, has been odd enough, or funny enough, to feature in this blog. Shawn, his gorgeous and talented wife has featured. M. has made an appearance. But my man, Warren? Never. This has become a more pressing concern of late as he is about to leave this small rock taking with him with the gorgeous wife as well as two beautiful brides-to-be for First and Second Born.
Warren wants to build a future in his wife’s birthplace - the land of blue mountain coffee, Bob Marley and Reach Falls. Never heard of Reach Falls? Don’t mistake this for the Dunn River scene of Ocho Rios, with little old biddies holding hands, and wading through ankle-high water, while a light mist moistens their skin. This is a half-day swim/hike to the top of the waterfall through what looks like a forgotten, sunken Garden of Eden. We did this B.C. (Before Children) and long before the Tourist Board promoted it as a site worth visiting. Now the government controls access and charges an entry fee. But at least one visitor has confirmed on the net that there are still local guides to take you up the falls the old fashioned way. A popular guide is Renny, usually found hanging out at nearby Bigga’s Tuc Shop or Jah Priest’s stall.
I have a two-centimetre scar on my right knee - a lasting memento of that visit to Reach Falls - the outcome of a heated argument with a big rock. And if you think my scar is bad - you should see what the rock looks like. As blood gushed out, a brother offered me 100% proof white rum to clean the wound, and Jah’s weed of wisdom to ease the pain. What with the lush scenery, the seductive, cool water crashing down, searing pain and the organic herbal brew flowing through my body, I and I reached a higher plane of consciousness that has not really been glimpsed at again. But I digress. This blog is not about me. It’s all about Warren.
One of Warren’s most endearing qualities is his modesty so I thought I would interview people who know him well to get to the essence of the man. I started with M. She adores her brother and is particularly proud of his tenacity. And Warren manages a good work/life balance that gives him time to go for long bike rides on weekends. Of course after this week’s budget, his bike licence jumped from $5 to $25. M. is not impressed. It is unlikely that you will find her getting up in the morning, putting on her clothes, and going down to parliament, to raise bicycle tax. And if it was just the stupid bike tax that would be alright. But the PM has effectively raised taxes by 5% across the board. At least this is a polite interpretation of what I think she said. M and I parted, promising to find time during Parliament’s summer recess for chilling out together, doing diddly squat. Five minutes later she sent a text asking me to emphasize what a supportive brother Warren is, his sense of fairness, and how much she will miss him. After all she does not want the blog to be about taxes. It must be all about Warren.
From The Sister I moved to The Wife. Warren is handsome in a rugged, I-used-to-be-a-surfer way, but The Wife is plain hot. She is also a loving, thoughtful woman and the first to help me navigate life on this small rock. We decided to meet for lunch so I could get the scoop on Warren The Lover. Turns out naughty Warren stole her from under the nose of a most suitable boyfriend by a combination of charm and a thousand tiny acts of romance. He was a law student at the time working part time in a night club. And speaking of law and lawyers, Shawn has just been through the ordeal of selling their home in Bim. It was an ordeal because of the whole conveyancing fraud that happens everywhere.
It starts with the estate agents. Few actively market your property. The preferred marketing method seems to be a prayer for divine intervention that another cash-rich Brit / Canadian / American / Trinidadian walks through the door and pays the asking price, so they can collect their 5% commission, thank you very much. And then the legal process is notoriously slow, uncertain, and more expensive than equivalent transactions in London or New York. Poor Shawn lost a good two kilos during the whole process from sheer frustration and anxiety. But it’s over now and she is off in a couple weeks to a place her heart has never left. Anyway, our lunch was quick because she was still packing. As she drove off I think she yelled something about put in the blog that Warren is the best father, and a fabulous photographer. Don’t bother to mention my little problems. It should be all about Warren!
And it would be all about Warren but he is so understated that he would never agree to being interviewed or boast about his achievements. Some people are all fancy fretwork built on shaky foundations. He is the solid foundation that every sister, brother, lover and friend needs. If I knew how, I would write a blog, and it would be all about Warren.