Today I am relaxing. In fact I relax every day. Barbados is relax central. It is hard to not relax.
Some people make it their mission to not relax. They like being miserable and unproductively busy, so Barbados is nice to them too! They have the non-productive struggle to not be relaxed heightened by the ease of life in Barbados. They get off on this, and so in their own way have the kind of life or holiday they want – even though they won’t tell you so.
Me now, I am a true Barbadian. There is a Barbadian saying: “Taking time ain’t being lazy.” Barbadians take their time over everything. If they tell you they will be at a certain point at 2 O’clock, expect them anytime from 2:30 onwards. That includes in the next day(s) or week(s). And do not bother to bother them about the time oversight. Being ‘fashionably late’ is not our thing. It is false and too sophisticated for us. We just like to take our time, and a detour is as good as an arrival.
I doubt that Barbadians really die of stress-related conditions. I used to tell people who expected me to stress over major and minor things that I don’t do stress.
Being ‘overseas’ perhaps wore at that in the last couple of years before I came home. I guess so. I met up with an old friend from Cadet days and apparently was stressing over something we were discussing, because he hit me with: “I don’t do stress”, before walking off and leaving me there bemused, kafuffled and ashamed! Yes, ashamed!
What kind of Barbadian was I? My own adage coming from his lips knocked me for six. I had to take a chill pill. Needless to say he has not returned any of my calls etc. You see, we don’t do stress. I understand. I am the same. I had a temporary lapse, being not long back home and forgetting who I was and where I was. To him I was likely coming over like a British Prat (Prattler) and he would have none of that. As for the ensuing rejection of my phone calls, as I say, I understand. I have done and do the same. Why fill your ears or space or time with whinging moaning stress-upped unproductive miserable verbiage and people? I mean, art is long and time is fleeting.
It is o.k. to cry when crying is warranted. A good old Bajan tongue-lashing is sometimes recommended. Arguments and disagreements are the things good friendships hold dear. But STRESS? That is a foreigner and a persona non grata.
Stressing over anything, is to a real Barbadian a sign that you are mad. Not mad “mad” – though it could be a first indicator that you actually might be – but mad as in crazy, foolish, stupid.
Stress is not in our vocabulary.
So visitors and holiday-makers and those thinking of re-locating here take note.
You may have to stand in the queue somewhere for an hour before being seen; once you are being ‘seen’ expect occasionally to be seen and not heard , i.e. we see you but we are busy taking a mental breather from the Prat (visitor or local) that was before you, we have to relax and clear or minds because you might be another such prat and if we don’t have this breather we could really upset you.
In any case we might have a friend or colleague who has been waiting patiently for a minute or two to ‘shoot the breeze’ with us. You may be a valued customer, patron or guest, but friends don’t come easy. Just chill, enjoy the background music and air conditioning if any, and strike up a meaningful conversation with the other possible prats waiting behind you. Who knows, you might make a friend, or at least a new acquaintance to brighten your day.
As for us Barbadians, we keep the flag flying. There is no-one like us. We can be professional, but not when it interferes with who we are.
Today I am relaxing.