Recently I read an article by Lloyd B. Smith in the Jamaica Observer entitled “Butuism is alive and ugly” and I had to chuckle through every paragraph. He is right….BUTUISM, “which can best be defined as a deliberate distortion or wanton disregard of the true Jamaican culture in order to display and bring out the worst in us”, is really alive and well in Jamaica. Please do not confuse the definition with utter disrespect for those in lower socio-economic circles, because the biggest butus live uptown, more so now than ever before. The general crass behaviour from the streets to the formal dining area is wanting. Each week I have a 3 hour class and in between there is a coffee break where we have 2 sandwiches, one unit of pastry and a refreshing juice drink. Each week I have to bear the 7 men barring the 5 women from being served first, while inhaling 4-5 sandwiches and 3 units of pastry and if we’re not careful, we are left with a teaspoon of drink. Finally I mustered up the courage to speak about this behaviour in the class and how uncouth it looks. To my horror, most said “ah nuh nutten”. These so called educated people see nothing wrong with their actions and behaviour and proclaimed that they don’t eat like that in public…..as if we are not in public. It clearly indicates that “education doesn’t make a man”…..I mean with all the elocution and etiquette seminars that UWI offers on a Thursday, it is clear that none of these people bothered with such courses.
Anyway, while Smith has written about “butuish” type behaviour examples, such as stopping in the middle of the road to chat to friends, honking of the horns, the perpetual lateness of Jamaicans (Jamaica time), the inappropriate gesture towards the Duchess of York, Lady Hall being addressed as “honey” and “sweetheart”, he should have been there to experience what I experienced at Carib 5 last night. A friend and I decided to go to an early movie yesterday so that we could get home early and not have to deal with the late night crowd. We paid for our Box Seats and proceeded to same. Before the movie started, a group of young men jumped the rope and seated themselves in the Box Seat section. My friend and I looked at each other and shook our heads. The usher appeared and shone the flashlight right in their faces and said “go back down deh fi mi please”. The problem started with 3 young ladies sitting at the end of our row, who, from the moment they entered were on top of their lungs. Ok….we thought “the movie hasn’t started so they can bellow all they want”……were we in for a surprise. All through the National Anthem these 3 women (not ladies) were laughing and chatting with their feet placed squarely on the back of the chair in front of them. Throughout the entire movie they chatted and even when the volume was extra loud they raised their voices above it, which in my opinion is a great feat since Carib theatre’s sound system is VERY loud. We could hardly hear what the storyline was about. In fact one of them had the audacity to answer her cell phone and speak on top of her lungs in the theatre. When people started giving her the evil eye, she toned down the conversation for a moment and then it was back to competing with the movie sound.
During intermission I went to an usher and asked them to speak to the patrons as it was very disturbing to be sitting a few seats away from them. He indicated that he would come up to speak to them, but alas, he didn’t show. I then turned to one of them (cell phone user) and asked that she and her group tone it down as it was very disturbing. She looked at me and shouted “Who yuh a chat to? Yuh hear mi and mi fren dem a chat?”. I just ignored the imp as she could never be addressing me. She asked her friends if they were chatting and they said “afta dem cyan hear wi. look how di movie loud”. On that note she stood up and said “Go suck yuh mumma! Ah soon sail di juice in a mi han’ and mi bag over inna yuh face”. I just looked at them and laughed to myself. Why am I telling this story? It is because I rarely go to the movies and when I do, it is usually Carib 5 because Sovereign is WORST than this. Now I have every reason never to return. In the past Carib has had problems with patrons and the noise and it has even been documented in the newspaper. Even the gossip columns have hinted to them to do something about this kind of behaviour. But, the truth of the matter is, Mr. Lloyd B. Smith better get used to the fact that it is BUTU time now and they are everywhere. From now on I will await the DVD. Carib 5: your ushers need to be more vigilant! Remember, the woman told me she would have sailed some liquid from her bag into my face because I asked her to tone down the chatter. Well that’s it for me as I leave this type of behaviour to fester and become the norm. I won’t be beating them and even worst: JOINING THEM!