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Our men seem so callous

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dear Editor,

I am really disappointed with the men in our midst – so many seem so callous.

On June 28, I was in an express bus plying the Portmore route but because of a noxious gas leak it had to deviate from the official route – the Portmore Causeway to Mandela Highway. I recalled looking at my watch when the bus pulled out of Half-Way-Tree. It was 4:15 pm.

It took almost 30 minutes from Half-Way-Tree to the intersection of Waltham Park Road and Hagley Park Road. By that time people were standing in the passageway of the bus because of the uncertainty of the moment. Three men were standing, excluding me, two women and a schoolgirl about 16 years old.

To avoid the traffic the bus took the route across the Waltham Park Road to Molynes Road then down to the Boulevard at a snail’s pace. I decided to give my seat to the eldest lady struggling on the bus with all the younger guys in their late 20s to early 40s sitting pinging on their Blackberrys paying no attention to the women in deep agony. This was one moment I will always remember. I felt tremendous pride at being a Jamaican man.

I hadn’t seen the woman in front of me at first because I was reading my Jamaica Observer and the other two women were behind me. I asked another man to call the older woman. It took me three hours and 10 minutes before I could get a seat again – still the journey had not ended.

There was a woman who was sitting on the floor of the bus near the men. Another, seemingly in her 50s and in pain, stood at the back of the bus while six young men remained seated. I stood in awe, bewildered at their thoughtlessness.

A man who was sleeping and obviously drunk was sitting close to me. He jumped out of his slumber and went up to the driver after sleeping for nearly three and a half hours. The man started to panic and ordered the driver to stop the bus on the Mandela Highway because he felt he must have passed his house already. There was much laughter. The man came off the bus further on the route and the driver had to allow him to come back because he came off on the Mandela Highway – no man’s land. He finally came off at the Portmore Mall, definitely because he was embarrassed. The traffic moved as slowly as a 150-year-old tortoise. I got a seat near Portmore Mall – my feet were just getting a bit tired. I just read my papers standing for the entire journey because the bus was moving so slowly.

When the bus reached the terminus in Greater Portmore, I was the second to last person to come off at 8:10 pm, five minutes less than four hours.

Paris Taylor

Greater Portmore, St Catherine


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