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‘Wham? Yuh cyar wait?’

Friday, July 24, 2015
Dirt Under the Nails

Local gym etiquette reflects the typical Trinidadian narcissistic mentality. Let’s draw some parallels. A gym is a public space used by many individuals. Therefore, there should be a basic sense of respect and consideration as equipment is shared. Yet, this seems to be quite an unreasonable expectation for the average gym-going Trinidadian, who lives in a bubble of “me,” just as he does on the road. 

A typical response to a request to share the squat rack between sets is met by “well ah just have 2 more sets.” If one is adept at interpreting social innuendos it really means “wait until ah finish,” and one must resort to waiting for the equipment as Mr Narcissistic Trini rests while posing in the mirror near the empty squat rack. It is the same attitude when Mr Narcissistic Trini stops in the lane of the road to waltz into a bar, unconcerned about the traffic he is causing. Horns blown at him are met with “steups” and a flail of the arm in an expression of “Wham? yuh cyar wait?”

However, I have noticed that people seldom complain on the roads now, and are content to sit and wait on Mr Narcissistic Trini, as if he is quite within his right to delay traffic for ridiculous reasons. Similarly, I have witnessed passive and complacent individuals in the gym wait for him to complete his two sets while he poses in-between. 

Mr Narcissistic Trini also leaves his sweaty butt print on the bench, and drops of his sweat on the cardio equipment, without cleaning it, despite heavy signage on the walls. Mind you, his car is spotless and pristine. God forbid if someone should leave a sweaty butt print on his pseudo leather seat! His attitude is the same as those who throw their garbage out of their car windows, leaving their litter for others to clean, or for the environment to absorb, to its detriment. 

Granted, these people will never litter their own homes. But the roadside (and gym equipment) is not theirs, so “it doh affect dem”…right? The ignorance and self-grandiosity are inexplicable. Not only does Mr Narcissistic Trini have no regard for others, he also has no care for the equipment he uses. 

After squatting, he leaves his weights on the squat rack. His dumbells are strewn all about his work area, and not replaced. He even steps on the mats with his dirty sneakers. There is no concern for the longevity of the equipment, nor the importance of keeping equipment clean and in order. 

Again this is similar behaviour to that in other facets of society. Certain security companies in Trinidad neglect and abuse their working dogs, who are poorly fed and without proper veterinary care. Interested only in the Almighty Dollar, they sacrifice the health of these poor animals for a buck. And again, just as Trinidadians allow Mr Narcissistic Trini to stop in the middle of the road and block traffic to get that beer, they continue to hire companies that abuse and neglect their animals. The passivity is disgusting. 

All gym goers are familiar with that one loud mouth who thinks he knows it all. He is the type of narcissistic Trini who gives instructions to everyone, whether they want it or not, about how to exercise. He intrusively informs them of what is wrong with their technique and then instructs them in another poor technique of the same exercise, which he claims will “make yuh bottom bigger” if you are a female. 

Yet if one attempts to inform him of the errors in his instruction, one is promptly ignored. This attitude was reflected in a recent experience I had when my car battery died. I spotted a young man with a souped up, pristine vehicle nearby. Surely he who seems to know about cars would help. I asked him for a jump start but was immediately told “no,” and he turned his back. Pretentiousness is ubiquitous in this country. 

Let’s not forget Miss Narcissistic Trini! She is the diva who dresses for the gym in clothes that are 3 sizes too small for her voluptuous bosom and proceeds to “shadow box” with her trainer. Looking more like a fairy on tip toes, she is so conscious of her “about to pop out members” and more concerned with gallerying, that she never breaks a sweat. 

She is the one who also wears five inch stilettos to a carnival fete on grass, and ends up getting “stuck in the mud”. Need I say more? 

Narcissism is a common trait among Trinidadians these days. It is “self-centredness arising from failure to distinguish self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a mental disorder.” So either Trinidadians never grew up, or are mad. 

•Carla Rauseo, DPT, CSCS, ATRIC is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Aquatic Therapy Rehabilitation Instructor at Total Rehabilitation Centre in San Juan. 


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