Even though Jamaicans and Jamaican culture can be amazingly frustrating sometimes (more on that later), it can also make me want to burst into tears of joy at unexpected kindnesses and thoughtful interactions.
A few weeks ago, I was traveling back to Brown’s Town from May Pen, where the annual Denbigh Agriculture Show was held. Traveling via public can either be the source of entertaining stories and a general good time or it can be a sweaty, cramped nightmare. This time happened to be the former.
Before I being my story, a note should be made about Jamaican music. (Although you could write a dissertation on the subject) When Jamaica collectively loves a song, they’ll play it to death. And they happen to love (what I consider to be) the worst of American music. Nicole and I were once treated to an entire album of Backstreet Boys played TWICE in a row. Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers and the dregs of pop-country are also popular. I’ve even heard “Gangnam Style” dubbed over in patwa, which was both mind-boggling and memorable. A lot of the time, gospel with the bass turned all the way up is featured.
One of the more popular songs right now is “Cheerleader.” The lyrics aren’t exactly uplifting, but it is positively Puritanical compared to most Jamaican music. Also, it is super catchy:
On the first leg of my journey, May Pen to Mandeville, I settled in for a sweaty ride. The windows rolled down, the breeze blew past me cooling me down for a bit. All of a sudden, “Cheerleader” pumped through the speakers and dang it if everyone didn’t start singing along. It’s hard to wipe a grin off your face with then happens.
As the beautiful Clarendon bush rushed past, I knew true contentment. Jamaica will continue to surprise me.