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Monday, December 10, 2007

Surviving your friends for Carnival

I don’t know what it is about Carnival that can wreck friendships, from choosing a costume to deciding on when to leave a fete friendships have been known to go down the drain during this time of the year. After being the “go to” girl for years, I finally relinquished that title after this year’s Carnival since it almost ruined a friendship.

I would be the one to pick a section, register, make all the communication with the mas camp after registering, constantly inform friends of what needs to be done, organize footwear and costume pick up. And after doing ALL that during Carnival 2007 for my friend AND her cousin, she ended up not picking up her costume because 1. I did not buy her mas tights so she felt unprepared and 2.she called me on Carnival Saturday during my eyelash appointment to ask me to collect both costumes (she and her cousin’s) using MY money and when I put my foot down and said it was not possible the end result was her NOT collecting the costumes. Mind you they both had all week to collect their costumes, but chose to do other things like go feteting at Salybia, instead of going to Cascadia and waited until the last possible moment to call me because they knew I had to collect mine on Carnival Saturday.

This year I took a different approach, which is every man for him/herself; it might be a totally selfish move on my part but I am only putting the effort into making sure one person is prepared for Carnival; ME! When it came time to select a section, I went ahead and made my choice, even if it meant being in a section alone, I chose the costume I wanted without consulting anyone. Surprisingly my friend also chose the same section, though I told her she was quite free to play in another. Her response was that she could not play in a different section “by herself”. Now, if you have played in any band for Carnival you would know that there is nothing forcing you to stay in your section so a friend in a different section can jump up alongside you all day. The one concession I made was for registration, where I did take the responsibility to sign us both up, however that was only because my friend had to work on that Saturday and would have lost out on getting in her section. I also have to add that she lost her TLC number, after I collected her TLC card mind you, and I ended up emailing and calling TRIBE to retrieve it for her.

It must have been a sign that TRIBE sold out so quickly because a few weeks after the fact I was informed that the cousin, the same cousin who threw a tantrum when she found out tankinis were available in her section and “I” registered her in a whole piece (by her instructions), the same one who insisted she was not playing mas if “I” did not get her a taninki, the same one who went to a fete instead of picking up her costume after TRIBE staff put it aside for them to collect on Carnival Sunday, that SAME cousin now wanted to play mas with a friend and wanted to find out if TRIBE still had sections open. I was brutally honest with my friend at that point and said listen, after this year’s fiasco you are on your own with this one, here is TRIBE’s number. At that point I was no longer the person to call for anything, which I think helped, us to remain friends, because I could not handle another drama for Carnival 2008 without using some choice words to express my feelings to all involved.

The selfish part also extends to choosing footwear and all other appointments that play a part in getting me divafied for Carnival. My friend sounded a bit pissed that I got my boots this year and did not tell her I was ordering them, but when I begged Natalie to take her in as a late appointment last December and she never showed up to get her boots made, well the responsibility of getting footwear is now hers. Friends will try to place the guilt on you once you have decided to put numero uno, yourself, first so be prepared. My friend made me feel as if I was solely responsible for getting her prepared for Carnival.; I had to get her stockings (as in buy them for her), organize her footwear as well as Monday wear for us both. Now, it is nothing for me to give advice on any of these matters, I told her where to go to get her stockings for example, since in my mind she had to match them to her complexion, but I draw the line on babysitting an adult who is quite capable of doing things on their own.

Though I will have to endure my friend’s annoyance with not having me do everything for her, I think if we had continued that type of relationship in regards to Carnival I would have lost it by now. My goal is to have her gain some confidence in being able to do the simple things that she would normally expect me to do, like calling the mas camp when she has a problem or knowing that she needs to find appropriate footwear. I am hoping that she makes provisions to pick up her costume for 2008, as I will not be doing so either; I could not believe that this year it was so easy to NOT collect your own costume and miss out on mas altogether because someone could not do the job for you. If it were me I would get my ass to where ever it needed to be and ensure I had my costume in hand, and not place that responsibility on anyone else.

When I say I am being totally selfish for 2008, that means the only person I am taking care of is me, anyone else can expect to not depend on me to bail them out of any Carnival quagmire! Tough love, I know, but it is the only way I can preserve my sanity when dealing with friends when it comes to Carnival!
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