Jason's Jive June 2023 By Jason Inanga
I just turned 53 years old, and I am thankful and grateful to be alive and in relatively good health. God has blessed me in many ways, even when I don’t deserve it. In 2014, I survived a stroke. Was driving on 495 to somewhere in Montgomery County, going rock climbing with the Beltsville Pathfinders Club, when I got the attack while on the highway. Actually, I may have been on 270 at the time. I hate to imagine what could have happened if we were actually in the process of climbing the rocks and then I had the medical situation. I got admitted Sunday evening at Laurel Regional Hospital and was 70% recovered by Tuesday, discharged Thursday.
Then in 2018, I was on I 66, taking my son back to his boarding school at the Shenandoah Valley Academy and we hydroplaned, and the vehicle spun out of control, just as we crossed a bridge. I passed out in the process. A tractor-trailer was the next vehicle coming around the corner, having just crossed the bridge. It hit us smack on my son’s side of the car. The vehicle was a write-off. Miracle again… God saved us. All my son had was a scratch and I had a scar on my head from the airbags deploying and whiplash. I cannot give you the details due to space.
So please let us not take life for granted and live our lives right, every day. I know it can be a bit of a challenge, but it is the least one can do. Be nice to others. Sometimes people are having a rough day and just need a smile or a kind word.
Here in Dallas, part of my job has me going to a medical laboratory at UT Southwestern on a daily basis. There is a lady who walks past me around 6:30 pm daily. I see her and I know what time it is. We have gone from just a little head nod to actual greetings. The other day, she was walking with a limp, and I had to ask her what happened. She explained, and in conversation, I got to know she is of Colombian heritage. I would never have guessed. But now we look forward to walking past and smiling and exchanging kind words. I know it doesn’t work with everyone as some people just have that dominant mean spirit in them, but beneath all that, there is an element of niceness. Try smiling at someone you don’t know and exchange a pleasantry. For example, when I hold doors open for people at the gas station, as they say, ‘thank you,’ I put out my hand and tell them, ‘The doorman accepts tips,’ and it gets them laughing or gets a brief conversation going. Even though I am bad at it, I sometimes will tell them to say something, so I can guess what state the accent is from. Oh, do they love that?
Talking about accents in the USA, how good are you at hearing an accent and being able to pinpoint it to the specific state? I think that is a gift for some people. I recognize the Baltimore-type accent, and a bit of the Texas drawl. Here, I have met people at work and in conversation, someone else will say, ‘Oh, you’re from Louisiana or Missouri,’ How are you able to tell the difference? Is there an accent distinct to Maryland and North Virginia? I am going to try and guess with some folk today, just to see. Having lived in Nigeria and the Caribbean growing up, I am able to hear a Nigerian speak and to a large extent, I know what part of the country the person is from. Similarly, the Caribbean accent is easy. Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica – those accents are super easy to guess. St. Lucia and Dominica have some similarities in accents and then the general joke in the Eastern Caribbean, we say people from St. Thomas (USVI) don’t speak well. Theirs is a distinct accent. Last month I had an interaction with five gentlemen from Ireland, and I kid you not, I could not understand a word of what they said. It sounded like a totally different language. Life is amazing! So, as I close, I started with my birthday and will end with the anniversary of my employment at FedEx Express. June 1, 2023 will mark the start of 23 years. That’s the Jive!