“Bad luck worse than obeah” was the crescendo to a litany of misfortune being recited.
Ordinarily, I would’ve been sympathetic, even empathized, as I, too, had experienced dizzying reversals and incomprehensible setbacks as victory beckoned mockingly.
It might have been the coffee. It was neither hot nor cold on the first sip or the second. It was insipid.
The coffee was on the house, so I couldn’t claim I was overcharged, and the hostess was pretty, pleasant, and sported a winning smile. It would’ve been beyond the pale to criticize the sale.
Nonetheless, I should have been able, free coffee or not, pretty smile or frown, to say the coffee tasted a little flat. Instead, I came away none the better and somewhat bitter in my mood.
Now you recite an extensive but not exhausted list of misfortune, and suddenly I am in no mood to stay silent or lend support to the escalatory list of grievance.
“What did you say?” I inquired.
“Bad luck worse than obeah!”
“It has the authoritative ring of the Five Gospels,” I said.
“There are Four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and Bro John.”
“Funny. Aren’t you including The Gospel of Obeah?”
There was confused silence.
“What do you know about Obeah? Have you had any experience or encounter with Obeah beyond listening to imbeciles and folks who are experts at turning a loaf of bread into crumbs?
“Have you seen any of these ‘Know It All’ turn water into wine? And here you are on this glorious morning when my coffee is a suspect in an unreported robbery. Truth be told, I haven’t lost a penny, but my own voice is yet to be raised in protest or, better yet, a negotiation for a brew strong and true.
“Surely you jest about the Obeah Fest,” I said.
“It’s a considered opinion of ourselves Forefathers.”
“Does that mean it is Gospel? Or a Cultural Heirloom fashioned from knowledge? Or rather, in lieu of knowledge, an assumption to Enlightenment?
“Well, listen carefully. Never utter such rubbish again or allow it to go unchallenged in your presence. It is a Seductive Absolution of Impotence where the urgency of self-inspection should be mandatory.
“What we have done by relying on this Crutch to show hardship and solicit sympathy is denied ourselves an honest look into our conduct and so excuse harsh and invasive scrutiny that would have exposed us to light and awareness without which our darkness hides and makes us complicit in our own misfortunes.
“What ails us is neither Obeah nor bad luck. Rather, we have practiced and cultivated a plethora of bad habits- many of which we have been persuaded to see as right, wonderful and exciting. Our non-adherence to processes and protocols and disregard for safety in trying to deliver service are not without consequences.
Failure at anything is an invitation to examine our attitude and actions. It is not an opportunity for excuses or blame. Otherwise, we will be inviting more and more misfortune to hold sway in our lives and affairs”.
“What about the coffee?”
“I have not figured out a plan for tomorrow yet, but I am leaning towards asking the nice lady if her brew is fresh and hot. I love my coffee hot.”
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Peter Peterkin, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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