Subourbon Mom

Loud Talkers in Bermuda

Nature has balances: night and day, sunshine and rain, Quiet Talkers…and me.

For whatever reason, I am “blessed” with a loud, scratchy voice, and a Woody Woodpecker laugh that reverberates around a room somewhere near the decibel level of a Who concert. Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s come in handy a few times, like when I was coaching and lifeguarding. Now, however, it’s a little bit of an issue.


We were recently in Bermuda for a work event, and I realized I’d forgotten how quiet Bermudians can be. I understand why Bermudians talk the way they do—softly, leaning in slightly, as if someone might overhear the conversation and report it to the Royal Gazette. Actually, that is exactly what can happen when you have 60,000 alcoholics, er, residents, clinging to a rock in the middle of the Atlantic. That’s a lot of folks on a 20-square-mile island with something to say, which they do with a wit that is funny and brutal at the same time.

I used to live in Bermuda, so I know how loud we Americans can sound to the untrained ear. Eventually, after three years or so of being there, I got pretty good at lowering my voice, but that skill has clearly been neglected since we moved.

When it comes to social events, my friend Bruce has a favorite saying: “If you’re at a party and you can’t find the asshole, it’s probably you.”

Um, I’m pretty sure the people at the event last week in Bermuda thought it was me. There were about 40 Bermudians in the room, and I’m fairly certain everyone turned at one point or another in the evening and tried to figure out one of three things:

1) how they could rescue the poor Quiet Talker stuck with me;

2) who that woman was with the man-voice was and why wasn’t she wearing her hearing aide? OR

3) who let the Southern version of Fran Drescher into the party?

images-12At first I was annoyed, and toyed with the idea of talking in my fake Long Island accent that makes my Southern skin crawl. (“Oh my Gaawud, Vinny…would you look at this gaawbage? I could get this at home for ‘tree daawllahs.”) But I was at work and had a professional image to maintain, so I decided to study the Bermudian Quiet Talker technique instead.

I have to say you Quiet Talkers have a way of drawing people in to listen to you that I envy. I never did figure out just what it was, except possibly my natural American inferiority complex, or maybe my American penchant for British accents, but either way I remained captivated.

Unfortunately, your verbal sparring is wasted on Loud Talkers. When you zing that witty insult at us, we often aren’t sure if we heard you correctly…so most of the time, we’ll just keep on plowing ahead, oblivious to your skills.

Yes, we are clearly two very different social species, but if nature didn’t provide some balance, and there were only Loud Talkers like me, the world would sound like a forest full of crows (or a tree full of Kiskadees, for you Bermudians), cawing and squawking at each other all day long. If there were only Quiet Talkers, the world would be filled with misunderstandings, because someone misheard someone else, rednecks would have to find some other way to communicate after a beer or six, and sports stadiums would sound like churches.

So in the interest of peace, diversity, and keeping sports teams employed, let’s keep the conversation going–we Loud Talkers will keep leaning in to hear what you have to say, and you Quiet Talkers keep leaning back and listening.

If the conversation stops, the silence will be deafening.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That’s so funny, I think of Bermudians as being loud.


Comment by Fiona Rivaz

Wow–you would be completely at a loss if we were hanging out now! 🙂


Comment by libbyhall

Hey Lib, really enjoyed this one!!! Laugh out loud good!

Sent from my iPad



Comment by Ellen Armitage

Thanks! I wish I could be more quiet, but I think I was made like this for a reason–how else can I communicate with my teenagers? 🙂


Comment by libbyhall

Great story, Libby.
I was a quiet talker most of my life. Everyone one kept telling me to speak up or quit mumbling. This week I was told twice that I was talking too loud????


Comment by energywriter

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