A breath of fresh air

Universities comprise a mix of different kinds of stereotypical characters. These include jocks, stoners, hard-workers, party-animals, computer geeks, white-coated BSC students and weed-smoking liberal activists. But every now and again comes along an individual who is simply ‘different’ – someone with wanton disregard for conformity, for trying to be someone who he or she is not. These people are unique in some way, are not afraid to show their personality, and are often well-known around campus. Lloyd Bridges is one such individual. Dressed in the same clothes each day – khaki pants and green and grey collared shirt – and sporting a beard that was once very popular during the Boer War, with the famous white streak in his moustache, Lloyd often captures the attention of his fellow students.

Lloyd’s dress and image is a reminder to him that he will live the life that he, and not society, chooses. Clothes are one thing that he feels don’t have much importance, unlike other first-years who spend copious amounts of money on their image. “I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes,” he says. “The only pricy items I own is a brown leather jacket, a hat which was a gift, and my shoes, which was also a gift”. And the beard and white-streaked moustache? “Well, I like having a moustache. When the white hair started coming through, I used to shave a lot. But I like my moustache. The white thing is unique and I like it.” To many his Moses-like image is laughable. But to him it expresses a fundamental aspect of his character: he is a man of his own.

Throughout the interview Lloyd shows a steely confidence in himself and his opinions. He maintains an upright and very dignified sitting posture throughout the interview. He strokes his beard when he needs to think about how to answer a question, and he is his constantly fidgeting with his fingers. Most notable of all is the humming sound he emits whenever there is a silence. “I like to talk,” he says with a sudden smile. “I don’t like awkward silences. My friends often tell me that if there is a break in the conversation, I never hesitate to fill it in. I can go on for hours about something without having the person I am talking to say a word.”

Lloyd’s notion of his best moments of his first year at Rhodes is also refreshing. It’s the small things he values most: his friend’s special birthday party he attended, his stint as dungeon master in game soc., and passing his Accounting exam. Suddenly he brightens and raises his eye-brows. There was also the time, he says, when he noticed a big mistake in the Accounting paper. “I was the ONE person to actually see the mistake out of the hundreds and hundreds of people writing the exam,” he says with evident pride in his voice. And what about his worst moments? He smiles and says, “I try not to have worst moments”.

Cinema and magic games are two of Lloyd’s biggest interests. He tries to go to movies once a week, and even works at Roxbury Cinema. In his free time, he likes to paint war-game miniatures. He occasionally plays Warhammer and paper-version Diablo games. He would play more often, but the games just take up too much time, with his longest being a sixteen hour stretch during O-Week. “It’s really hard to get bored of it because you play so few times,” he laughs. Watching sport is another big interest of his, and he is known to lecture even seasoned sportsmen on the complexities of the game. Playing sport, on the other hand, is another story. “In high school when I tried out for the volleyball team I was the only one out of all the boys and girls who couldn’t serve over the net,” he says sadly.

This year Lloyd has never felt inclined to change the way he is. “Everyone is different and everyone has their own motivations” he says. “Rhodes doesn’t try change who I am”. Lloyd’s confidence in himself gives strength to others not to hide who they are, and to value their individuality. He demonstrates that we don’t all have to be big drinkers and go out all the time. “Happiness,” he says, “is an internal thing. You should never rely on anything external”.



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