Monday, September 5, 2016

WTBs

When I first arrived in Bermuda back in 1985 I played cricket with a Greek accountant from London who first coined this term.  It has stayed with me ever since and despite periods when it receded into the depths of my memory, a recent event brought it forward again.

However it also made me think about things and in particular how it can be in a group of people who’ve known each other for years and talk about events that took place 30, 40 or 50 years ago with fondness and wistfulness.  But that’s me too for when I’m in such a group (which happens fairly often these days) I enjoy it thoroughly and really don’t give any thought to others.  I suppose growing old means there’s more memories to look back on with pleasure and even those which really weren’t that great at the time seem pretty cool today by contrast.

And that brought me onto my next thought process – why is it people reinvent a story about themselves that sounds like something you might read at the start of a Star Wars movie, say, when it starts with “Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…”  People do that for themselves and their families and again it was remarkable that I should have noticed it so abundantly for it is something I don’t think I do... but am now wondering if I should.

Bermuda is a really small place of 60,000 people so it’s impossible to not run into people all the time.  Of course you have your own circles but from time to time you bump into other people’s orbits too and last night was one of those occasions.  You either know slightly or know of a lot of people, or you may have used to know them in one shape or another, from work dealings, for example, so you go into the dance.

“What are you doing with yourself these days?”

“How are your children doing?”

That sort of thing.  The questions themselves are fairly non-controversial and are likely to keep you going through a conversation or two in an evening even if they do not form the basis for ongoing lasting friendship.  But the answers though seem to have changed over the years.  Take this one from another fairly safe line of conversation starting with “how long have you been in Bermuda?”

“Well I arrived here in 19XX but my parents had been here before me and suggested I come out here to visit.  I found work here and then met (spouse’s name) and stayed on ever since.  We moved around a lot, here and there, you know, all tied up with work and things but Bermuda was in our blood and we just had to come home.” It turned out to be a 10 minute monologue!

People just have to justify a long term connection to Bermuda even if there is none, like here.  Real story is that the person came to Bermuda years ago as an expat probably on a 2 year contract like everyone else (well, certainly me anyway) and met someone that just happened to be Bermudian and stayed.  The end.

I think though that what really prompted this line of thought was the next thing this person said which was “Are you a Bermudian?”

No, was/is the answer but why is that important?  But to Bermudians, it is.  Vitally important.  Even to paper Bermudians (i.e. those that acquired citizenship by means other than being born in Bermuda to Bermudian parents) and quite possibly more so for them as there is always the dangling question “So how did you get that then…?” rather like the Monty Python segment in The Holy Grail movie.



Maybe it’s me getting older but the longer I remain in Bermuda, lovely as it is, the more I think about a book written by an English sci-fi writer called Michael Moorcock who wrote about a group of people with super powers – this was before the recent craze of super powered people, these were all immortals described in full by Wikipedia:



“The setting of which is the End of Time, an era "where entropy is king and the universe has begun collapsing upon itself". The inhabitants of this era are immortal decadents, who create flights of fancy using power rings that draw on energy devised and stored by their ancestors millions of years prior. Time travel is possible, and throughout the series various points in time are visited and revisited. Space travelers are also common, but most residents of the End of Time find leaving the planet distasteful and clich├ęd.”

They were in an eternal party at the end of time which they managed to somehow perpetuate by creating a time loop so the last week of forever kept resetting and going back to the beginning of the week so it (and time … and of course them) would never end.

Eerie.