No evangelist-type met me on the street nor came to my gate, seeking a signature for the petition. Nor did any telemarketing caller dial my listed landline to canvass support for the PNM's Section 34 petition.
It didn't matter, eventually. At least 25,000 people signed their names, endorsing the party's petition that prayed for the President to haul up the government before him, demanding they account for the abomination of the enacted and proclaimed Section 34.
As it should, the nice round 25,000 figure claimed by the PNM to have been gathered in 48 hours, was queried by government people. So far, nobody has called for an independent auditor's check of the party's presumably signature-packed pages, but T&T is also a place like that.
This is a place where people are so contented by credulously comforting assurances as to be little distracted by empirical questions of fact. Over the last two weeks of September, the signatures represented documentary evidence of the turnout for the march to President's House led by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley.
Maybe 20,000 people, say, took to the streets from Woodford Square on September 18? "Massive" appeared in some reporting, and in PNM people's reporting of the reporting.
Thereafter, it was ever to be expected that, in the zero-sum game of T&T politics, the People's Partnership would feel challenged to respond, somehow, with turnout numbers equally inviting the descriptor "massive". For this purpose, some ostensible link with the impending budget presentation afforded a handy selling line.
Round numbers; indeterminate labels: such is the character of the T&T way of politics, which is troubled by the threat of too much information.
Too much is more than is normally available, and at any rate people want to know just as much as would satisfy their predispositions. To listen and read, for example, the write-off assessments, just around its mid-term, of the People's Partnership administration, is to recognise how much comfort can be derived from the exchange of gut feelings that defines the T&T political marketplace.
By vivid contemporary contrast, regular opinion-poll findings that mark the US Presidential election campaign bespeak another world view, one which needs for its satisfaction some measurable indicators. Most of the time in T&T, however, politics rages without reference to any credible soundings of sentiment.
In the last known effort at polling political opinion in T&T, by the MFO in May 2011, 61 per cent rated Jack Warner the "best performer in Cabinet." Since then, the Warner image has steadily attracted the equivalent of lightning strikes, internationally, nationally, within the government, within the ruling coalition, and within the UNC.
Steadily, too, as the responsibilities entrusted to him extend, less and less of the benefit of the doubt appears available to give to him. But who is checking what?
That no comparably reliable poll has been updated in the last 17 months since the MFO report reflects lack of "market" demand for the information. T&T is mortally scared of empiricism: inside their comfort zones of predisposition or prejudice, people don't want to know anything different.
So the pre-modern T&T political system is disserved by the absence of any effort to check what people are really thinking, and on what basis. All opinion is born free and equal, and everywhere it is in chains to the rigmarole prefaced by "I am told".
The tin ear is a national condition. All attitudes are defined by their respective hooklines, storylines, gut feelings and favoured "narratives".
Nobody is available to count the 25,000 signatures collected by the PNM in 48 hours, in support of its Section 34 petition; nor is there any felt need to do so. This 25,000 claim promises to be as durable an item of political data as the $2 million cheque from "financiers" that some double agent had shown to Dr Rowley before the 2010 general elections.
As someone writing in this vein, I must be aware of the sweeping scope of the assertions being offered here. Well, you have to start somewhere, and my own point of departure is an attitude of radical, skeptical, dissidence toward what is thought and said in T&T.
I had wanted to start with the budget and the proverbial elephant in the room that was poked awake by the hiked price of premium gasoline. The big advance of the Howai budget, it seems, lies in getting people to think and to talk about how we get around.
For the unspoken T&T transport consensus has been that each person derives the entitlement to own and drive a car. Under Colm Imbert as transport minister, plans called for island-spanning rapid rail, water taxis and extended highways. But his clearest real-world success was the decriminalisation of PH cars.
Eventually, combining the P of private cars and the H of taxis was lost to Trini-talk irony. Instead, it gained the respectability of an acronym, explicated in the papers as "Private Hire". Under the Partnership, the consensus appeared to hold when then Trade Minister Stephen Cadiz in July 2011 actually expanded the importation of foreign-used cars.
All along, the right to own wheels was predicated upon availability of cheap fuel. If that era is truly over, an entirely new conversation is due to begin. Or so it should.