BC’S B’DOS – Heat of moment
IT’S THAT TIME Of year again when you’re torn between not wanting the most recent hurricane to come anywhere near Barbados, but still desperate for any little breeze that drifts by. To say it’s hot would be an understatement along the lines of saying Gabby tucked in Admiral Nelson’s shirt for him at Cohobblopot last month. As they say in Trinidad, it ain’t joke hot, it seriously hot. This is weather that could make tourists nostalgic for winter. The only creatures happy in Barbados are the lizards: they can warm their blood in ten minutes in the morning and go back to sleep for the day. I look at our poor cats, dressed head to toe in fur coats, and almost despair for them. Guinness, so named because he is a deep black (he’s also called Bubba due to his considerable belly), hardly moves if he can avoid it – like a West Indian slip fielder, and I don’t blame him. My body temperature rises just looking at him. Bajan Blackbelly sheep, covered in wool, must be suicidal. I imagine them following the lemmings over the cliff gladly or pushing to be in front when the butcher comes into their field: “Tek me! Please!”I look outside, where the grass seems to be getting higher by the moment; between the heat and the rain, it’s a jungle out there. The idea of mowing it quickly brings on thoughts of poisoning and paving it. But it could be worse: I could have long hair.You lose most of your body heat through the top of your head, which makes thinning hair a distinct personal advantage between August and October. Jah alone knows how Rastafarians survive between Crop-Over and Christmas. Forget the Catholic martyrs of ancient Rome; modern Twelve Tribes Rastafarians are truly suffering for their faith; they must break a sweat lying down in the shade. It makes you wonder if Bob Marley intended irony when he wrote Crazy Baldheads.In this kind of heat, it’s hard to think at all – but then I have that problem in the cooler months, too – but, at this time of year, what brain I have left turns, inexorably, towards one of two thoughts, both awe-inspiring: one evokes unstinting admiration, the other bewilderment in the same proportions. The first thought is always about the old enslaved populations of these islands. It’s hard enough to sit on the beach on the weekend. How could anyone have worked intensely for all the daylight hours cutting cane in this heat? No matter what prejudices were stacked up against them to allow such exploitation, anyone who survived that had to be very special.The other thought is of our own modern ruling class across the archipelago, almost all of whom voluntarily put on suits to go to work every day. They’re not protecting themselves from scorpions; they genuinely think they look cool when their bodies are actually sending messages of alarm to their brains to take their clothes off and reduce heat at once. Somewhere between those two thoughts, it seems to me, lies the direction in which these territories should seek to move, if they’re not to boil over.
• BC Pires is all for shaving the cats.