Daniel Thwaites | Bolt nailed it
It seems as if Bolt really nailed it! I'm talking, of course, about his anthropological insight into our culture.
Because in the wake of all this unnecessary excitement about a little hit-and-run accident in Rio, the Telegraph newspaper here in London resurrected an interview where he explains that in Jamaica, particularly regarding amorous matters, we don't observe English "respectability":
"If you're famous, you need to have a family - that's what they need to sell in Britain, I don't know why. It's respectability. But I'm not English! I'm Jamaican! We have a totally different culture ... . Jamaican culture is different, when you look at women and men having more than one ... . It's different."
It seems to me that this is an accurate report from the trenches. He's nailed it well and proper.
I was introduced to this whole drama of our ambassador's mission to the students in Brazil upon deplaning in London earlier this week. I quickly gathered from the British press that Bolt had headed out on the town to celebrate his 30th birthday and his superb victories.
Anyway, one can imagine the enormous relief Bolt would have been feeling. Years of hard work are paying off with more Olympic gold. What do they expect from him?
Truthfully, regarding Bolt's travails and temptations, the British newspapers have been reporting extensively and relentlessly. They seem to have contracted an especially acute case of Boltmania.
Anyway, having achieved the triple triple on the track, evidence has been posted all over London of him going for the triple in the nightclub with three delectable brunettes, and, later, being caught in incriminating Brazilian selfies and stories about him going for the next logically appropriate triple up into the wee small hours of the morning.
Naturally, like pretty much every other Jamaican, I'm partial about how this whole situation is resolved. Here's the problem: In this otherwise unserious issue, fundamental matters of consequence have arisen.
The Evening Standard began the onslaught with pictures of Usain, grinning happily, in bed with the booming 20-year-old South American. Good so far. But then the story grew depressing. Specifically, it went on to say that Jady had made her way back to Bolt's lodgings and shared a night that was only "normal".
See what I'm saying? That's not right. What a feisty gyal! Because if she wants to class up Usain as 'normal', what does that mean for the rest of us ordinary mortals? No, sah!
I was enraged. This infamy could not go unanswered, especially as the situation was spiralling out of control. During a little visit to the Tower of London, the tour guide Beefeater asked, "Where are you from?" and I meekly replied, "The Caribbean," looking down at my flip-flops.
By then, Jady Duarte was feeding the media piranhas with continuous twittering, supposedly to apologise to Bolt's girlfriend:
"I'm sorry for everything ... Nothing special happens between @usainbolt and me."
"Nothing special"? Well!
Then another Daily Mail article appeared, containing a quote from Usain's sister that bears repeating:
"I don't think anything happened between him and the Brazilian girl... I'm looking at the pictures and it doesn't look like he was doing anything with her."
Of course, that reflection by the loving sister will be a long-term take-away from this whole episode. It goes beyond Shaggy's "it wasn't me" and crosses into territory I thought reserved for my Trinidadian friend who explained to his distraught wife that he was naked in bed with her best friend because he had 'fall dung' when drying off after a shower.
But Jady Duarte continued with the insults:
"It was not a big deal. It was normal. I would rather not talk about it... like I said, it was normal".
By Wednesday, however, things had begun to improve. The Daily Mail's story now was that Bolt had flirted seriously with a bevy of women at the nightclub, then retreated to his casa and gone for the double. All this was spelled out in great detail.
Jady Duarte even went so far as to assess Bolt's running-kit as "normal". On a more positive note, though, Duarte's rating of the overall experience had improved: Bolt had run each marathon in about one hour.
Of course, from my perspective, the major issue was settled and all is right again with the world. Despite the alarming initial news reports it turns out Usain did remember this wasn't a sprint.
Disturbingly, there was a sharp edge to some of the British press reports that I didn't appreciate. One report mentioned the desperate circumstances of Jady Duarte, her abandonment as a child, her upbringing in a Brazilian favela, her having dropped out of high school, and her impoverished situation as a mother of two children at 20.
Anyway, Duarte, the girl from the slum, says she was given 100 euros to make her way home. That's not exactly minimum wage, but if you allow a few hours for preparation, some club time, actual work time, and time for travel, it's not generous either.
As you might imagine, this is all too much information, and if one were to meditate upon it too long, it's likely to cause a fair deal of moral conflict in all but the complete savage. But we needn't detain ourselves with that sort of thing, although, mind you, had it been Lochte in this smash and dash scenario, the relationship's power-imbalance might cause us all to, I believe the expression is, 'stop in our tracks'.
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.