Drunkenly, I love to try and relate to cab drivers. Not in some prick way like trying to make the “plebe” driver feel loved. No, it’s my own anxiety that makes me do it. I can’t stand being in the car with someone else in silence. If the dude can’t speak English, then I can justify the silence to myself, but other than that I have to talk.
The other night, I was out until about 1:30 in the morning when I flagged a cab. I get in and notice a small Jamaican flag hanging on the rear-view next to a leaf air freshener. Well, isn’t this nice. I’m drunk, I love Reggae music and I naturally think this certain Rastafarai does too. Of course just because he is Jamaican (which he is, I asked) doesn’t mean he is a Rasta or likes Reggae. But the thirty Coors lights I had swimming in my brain told me that he did.
Now that I have established this man’s origins, I decided to totally embarrass myself by dropping my limited knowledge on his head during our five or so minutes together. It’s a little hazy (thank goodness) but I’m sure I asked him if he was “feeling irie,” which makes me want to gargle Drano because it’s so cringe-worthy. I used the word correctly, it means “alright,” but I had no business using Jamaican slang ever, ever, ever. Somehow, he didn’t put me out of the cab after that blunder and I recovered slightly by asking him what kinds of music he likes. He said, “The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and country like Florida-Georgia Line.” WHAT? Now, I swear he is pandering to me because I’m white. No. The dude likes country. Isn’t that a lesson in books and covers and judgment? You learn something every day, especially being a drunken ass.
I do love Reggae, drunk and sober. My TV is a “smart TV” and will play videos that I find with my phone at the push of a button. It’s incredible. This allows me to sit in my chair at 2 AM and sing along to many of my favorite reggae hits like a dummy. I’m listening my main reggae playlist as I write this. I thought I would include a few of my favorite songs right here:
Reggae is a pretty unique art form. There is an estimated 1 million Rastafarians on the planet and yet the majority of the artists are included in this small minority. They aren’t all in Jamaica, either. In fact, only about 30,000 reside in Jamaica. The rest are scattered throughout the world, particularly in places with a history of black slavery. I’m not going to try and explain the religion here because I think it would be disrespectful and I don’t want to reduce it to a few sentences on some dumb blog.
I’m not sure why reggae is so appealing to me. I think it stems from my father playing Bob Marley albums when I was a kid and it grew from there. It’s a unique art form that I think has been hijacked by stoners and hippies, at least in the United States. Not all Rastafarai smoke weed and neither do fans of reggae. The genius of Bob Marley is also diluted by his perceived connection to weed. He was much bigger than that. I’m not making a judgment on the use of ganja either; I believe it should be legal and you should be able to use it at your discretion; but Bob Marley was a lot more meaningful than just an artist hanging off of a spliff.
I think everyone ought to have a little reggae in their life. For the most part, its message is positive, the groove is good and it might improve your mood. To quote the Steel Pulse song, “Ravers,” Reggae bandwagon is the fashion that’s going around.