Christmas has been changing a lot for me over the years but somehow the season still imbues me with a strong sense of tradition.
Christmas is almost universal, at least it is within the Caribbean. What I like about this holiday is that no matter where you go at this time of year, you’ll find a Christmas tree or plastic Santa Clause or two to reassure you that the rest of the world is just as keen as spending money they don’t have as you are.
Or, less cynically, that everyone celebrates the same things you do. It’s a lot easier to spend Christmas away from home when all the same traditions apply here as well: all day cooking, baking fruit cake, Christmas sprucing-up, sit-down dinners.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. . .
. . .so enjoy the cast of Doctor Who singing a Christmas carol.
At 2p.m. Jamaican time, the lounge is absolutely deserted. KT and I eat our lunches comfortably ensconced in a beaten sofa as we watch the Olympics preamble on CVM. Audiovisual. Check. No disturbances. Check.
2:30p.m. We leave the student’s lounge to grab our things from the Med Sci classroom (up an expletive-laden hill) so we can study while waiting for the Opening Ceremony to begin. Then I meet a cat.
And also kind of blab to our classmates that we’ll be watching the Opening Ceremony on the flat screen in the lounge.
So when, at 3:15, the student’s lounge has – horrors! – people in it, I am not surprised. In my defence, only one of our classmates has actually bothered to pause studying long enough to watch the festivities – everyone else we catch stealing our sofa space stealing a prips at London 2012 is supposed to be at work. After the reproving glare KT sends my way, we manoeuvre an entirely different sofa into optimal viewing position and settle in, totally oblivious to the frustrations that still lay ahead.
It’s all going along nicely until 3:45 when the sound cuts. For good. We watch practically the entire ceremony sans audio. Mary Poppins, Voldemort, Mr. Bean and Mr. Bond cavort on screen and all we hear are our own bootless cries to CVM that they fix the issue now (though it turns out to be a cable problem strangely confined to our TV). But it says something about the Danny Boyle-directed production that we are still riveted to the screen, despite the total lack of audio.
As the mime and dance of Britain’s history unfolds on screen, I’m alternately captivated and confused by the aspects of British pop culture that I know and that I know nothing about. I ponder the absence of the parts I actually know pretty well. Like Top Gear, for instance. And what is absolutely the most quintessential British thing I can think of (next to Mary Poppins and Harry Potter, of course): Doctor Who. Now, I’m not expecting David Tennant to light the Olympic torch (really, would that have been so hard?) but to relegate Doctor Who to a five second random TARDIS sound during Bohemian Rhapsody is just insulting. The Doctor deserves more than just a two-bit part in the middle of some insipid dance number with fancy holographic social networking!
And dancing girls with weird, light-up, vaguely futuristic dresses are not Daleks!
Nevertheless, the upbeat dancing manages to distract me and the fact that my ire is shared by at least one other person (thank you, Doctor Gargamel) abates it somewhat.
By 4:45 we are deep into the boring part of the programme and the sound comes back in time for us to hear the announcers mispronounce country names. But the most entertaining thing turns out to be the flag bearers’ faces as they struggle with their burdens. Seriously, can anyone (except Mijaín López) even carry a flag properly? Girls are stumbling in their impractical shoes and boys are knocking over the poor kids carrying their copper petals. Next time Lopez should hold classes in how to look badass while carrying a flag twice your size. Except it’s like half his size, so they’ll probably still suck.
Within minutes we are treated to the (so-so) screams for Jamaica Bolt and the announcer’s speedy mumble of our Prime Minister’s name. GoTeamJamaica.
5:15p.m. People start drifting out of the lounge, one lady falls asleep, and KT and I start preparing for our 5:00 quiz.