By Comedic Storyteller Onicia Muller
“Which dates you looking at?
What’s the point of writing thoughtful messages if people not gonna read? I copied the second line from my original message. The boatman responded, “We have no trips.”
No trips on those days – never in this lifetime or the next? Stay calm, Iago. I expand the parameters. He responds with one option: a three-day roundtrip. All shade to Statia; ain’t nobody trying to get stuck there for three days. (I'm joking! Don’t cancel me!)
“Do you do any one-way trips?”
“On the 10.”
What was it with this guy and sentence fragments? On the 10 of what? Minute? Hour? Day? Month?
“Which direction? What time?”
“Time will advise.”
“Can we book a one-way from EUX to SXM at 6:30pm on July 10?”
The boatman responds with a four-second voice note. Imagine the most relaxed island drawl. “Nooo, maaan. Boat don't run so late here. Six-thirty PM? Nooo, maaan.”
My travel companions advised putting on my best dutty head Rasta gyal accent. I pop some base in my vocals. Sprinkle in double negatives and major subject-verb disagreements. Please break things down as if I was a baby ’cause money ain’t a thang.
More sentence fragments.
Cheese on Christopher Columbus! How difficult is it to put all the details in one text? This man responds with a price and an 8:00 AM departure time. Sir. We still trying to see Statia, nuh.
I humble myself. I request specifics via voice note.
Before y’all accuse me of being a city slicker who is better than simple country folks, that’s not what I'm about. This also isn't a “customer is king” piece. I really just want to know why communicating with this man was like pulling teeth.
Finally, something promising. We can join another group that’s leaving Statia in the evening. He still don’t provide a time, updated cost, or location. Whatever.
Minus seven days. We hit him up. No response.
Minus three days. We give him another nudge. “The boat is leaving tomorrow from SXM to come to Statia. Then Statia onward Saba. And then on Friday, the boat will go St. Maarten, Saba, and on to Statia – connect the people them. Yup. That’s it.”
Tomorrow? TOMORROW? Sir, we’re trying to book a trip for three days from now. WhAt ArE yOu TaLkIn AbOuT?!?!?!?
I send another voice note. Once again, I take the blame for being an idiot hoping that would inspire him to be a better communicator.
“Miss you are not confused. The boat is leaving Statia on the 12th back to Statia then to St. Maarten. And that’s how the trip going. Nothing have changes. ... So in order for you to understand, let me break it down: The vessel will leave St Maarten at 10 to Saba. It should be there for 11:30. Twelve noon up to Statia. Vica Versa. Twelve noon back to Saba. Then from Saba back up to St. Maarten. That’s how it is.”
This man had left to say “let me break it down” and then proceeded to NOT break it down. Or at least not in a way that made sense to me. We left him on read and went to Anguilla.
Shout out to Winair for being a reliable way to get to Statia. I ain't know how the tourist was gonna mek it to Golden Rock without you.
Created on St. Maarten; based in Chicago, Onicia Muller (@OniciaMuller) is an award-winning comedic storyteller. She writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. “Just Be Funny” is a weekly reflection where Onicia laughs at life. Visit www.OniciaMuller.com/JBF