If you dig around the archives for posts about Trinidad or even if you check the most recent posts on that topic you'll find stories that generally occurred on the island. Today I'm going to share a fun little memory about some friends who came to visit us here in the US. We've been fortunate enough to have some of our dearest friends from Trinidad come visit us in the States on occasion. It's always a delight to be able to host them and return some of the hospitality they showed us when we lived in Trinidad.
The first experience of cold weather can be an interesting thing for friends from an island located a mere 11 degree above the Equator. In Trinidad people start throwing quilts and blankets on the bed if the nighttime temperature plummets to 70 degrees, generally the point at which I was sighing in relief for a slight break in the heat. Many folks were convinced of my lack of fitness as a mother because at night I'd take my toddler and infant "out in the dew" without a cap or booties. "Put on de hat! De chile would catch she death!" With such extreme sentiments on what I considered temperate weather I was always careful to warn friends visiting us in the Autumn or Winter to be prepared with adequate clothing.
It's not uncommon for folks traveling north during those seasons to borrow sweaters and jackets from others they know who come to the US or Canada frequently enough to have invested in heavier clothing. Though I also knew a few Trinis who wore knit sweaters in weather when my only relief was fantasizing about sleeping in the freezer. In any event, the day came when a particular friend who had never left his tropical island before planned to visit us with his lovely fiancee. We gave him advice about which airport to use, which airline was best, what items on their shopping list would be easiest to find and rough estimates for cost (we also gave out Trini shopping list of items we wished for him to carry north to us). Finally, since they were arriving in late November we gave extensive advice on necessary clothing and we took their sizes so we could be sure to either have sufficient outerwear for the couple when they disembarked in the Pennsylvania tundra. We also made sure to have many extra blankets available for their beds.
During their visit we asked them several times if they had been warm enough at night and felt they had enough clothing to keep them comfortable since they certainly were not accustomed to our temperatures even though it was quite early in the season and very mild to us. The couple assured us they were indeed warm enough when sleeping and that we had given them very useful and accurate advice about how to pack and dress. Then the young man, we'll call him Winston, of the couple said there was only one particular area in which he was suffering due to the cold and for which we had not properly prepared him.
I was sincerely concerned about my friends' comfort. I quickly asked what the problem was and how I could help ease their discomfort. Winston began to say how on the first evening after a fine meal he began to feel the call of nature in a fashion which would require his Trini bamsee to rest upon our porcelain throne. He excused himself to the facilities whereupon the meeting of his tropically attuned tushie to our more tundral toilet seat (in a bathroom with no heating units) caused an inconceivable shock to his system, a shock so great he leapt from the throne in great horror and began to try warming the seat with his forearms, his breath, a rag run under hot water...ANYTHING he could think of to make it less inclined to cause frostbite to his nether regions. He related to his fiancee and hosts, who were all now convulsing with laughter at the scene he had described, how he had been completely unable to come up with an adequate solution to the icy cold john. And so it came to pass that I explained the principle of paying careful though discreet attention to when others used the facilities so one may have a pre-warmed seat upon which to rest one's more sensitive hindquarters. It was a breathtaking moment of illumination for Winston...though not nearly so breathtaking as the frigid commode had been initially.