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The closest Ted had ever come to Antigua and Barbuda was The U.S. Virgin Islands. He was there back around 1996 or 97, looking at a piece of property an actress friend of his was trying to sell him.
She needed money. He had money. He liked the Caribbean.
But, in the end, he decided not to buy the property after all. He did “loan” her $10,000. (Oh how he wished he had that $10,000 today.)
Antigua is the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, it is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Its highest point is Mount Obama (1319 ft.), formerly known as Boggy Peak, located in the southwestern corner of the island.
Barbuda is a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, and it lies approximately 30 miles due north of Antigua. The nation also includes the tiny (0.6 square miles) uninhabited island of Redonda, which is a nature preserve. The current population of the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.
To this day I wonder why an individual’s accent effects how I perceive them. Is it my DNA? My culture? Stereotypes from TV and movie characters? Just what is it that triggers my initial reaction?
Why does a person with a Southern Twang get labeled dimwitted but nice, while an English accent gets labeled intelligent?
Numerous studies show that we instantly attach cultural stereotypes and subjective judgments about people’s knowledge and abilities from hearing their accent in speech. A 2011 study by Rakic and others found that in categorizing people, a person’s accent carried more weight than even visual cues to ethnicity. Americans can be taken back when hearing a black person speak with a proper British accent, for example, or be just as perplexed when they discover that a rapper singing with a “black” accent is Caucasian.
~ R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American Mind
Maybe the first step to ending my accent bias is to admit that I have one and do all I can to evolve past it.
I was an early adopter of the Amazon Echo (often referred to as Alexa—the word you say to let the Echo know you wish to communicate with it).
The main reason I wanted Alexa in my life was my love of listening to music and talk radio from around the world and being able to do it when not at my computer.
I grew up listening to short wave radio stations on a radio I bartered from my dad. It was not until I was well into my thirties that I came to realize the wisdom behind my dad’s philosophy of not simply giving things to my siblings and me (birthdays and Christmas being the exceptions). Having to pay or barter for an item made owning it all the sweeter. It also ensured that I took good care of it. f I broke it, I would be the one paying to replace it.
The first thing I did, once I had configured Alexa, was to have it read “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” I love the story and, more importantly, the author’s voice. The author has one of the best voices for narration, it’s right up there with Sir David Attenborough and Mike Rowe (click this link you won’t regret it!). I remember using a cassette tape recorder back in the 1970s to record nature shows (off TV) narrated by David Attenborough.
I have Alexa reading books, playing music, and podcasts, and radio stations daily. I even have an Amazon Dot which I keep in the kitchen, so I can listen while I cook or do the dishes.
Now, believe it or not, there is one thing I often yearn for while listening, the static. I would not want the sound to fade in and out or have the pop and crackle all the time, but every so often (especially when listening to old time radio shows) there is a bit of static and I am transported back to my youth laying on my bed listening to voices from around the world.