30 June 2006
The only neighbour we’ve betrayed once, was the owner of a goat. The neighbours hardly looked after the animal, who was tied to a pole with a rough rope leaving a sore-looking spot on his neck. Once a week they moved the post a few meters, as far away as possible from their villa-with-lushy-lawn and within 1 day, the goat already had eaten every tuft of the poorly weeds on the edge of their property. The rest of the week he apathetically lay in the cold muddy dirt, in its own droppings.
Of course we were only sissy city people and probably did only imagine that the apple we threw over the fence every morning, was munched hyperly quick. And a nice fitting collar to remedy the deep pink gash in his neck, perhaps was also too fancy for an ordinary goat …
One morning we heard a pitiful moaning and we saw how the neighgoat had tangled himself with the rope and was laying in an impossible position, tight against the post. Frank immediately was jumping over the fence to save him. There was only a little zest for living left in the poor thing, and he didn’t want the apple anymore.
After Frank had warned the neighbour and was ‘reassured’ with the sarcastic remark that they would reanimate him soon, we have wait for 1 hour. As expected, they didn’t show up to take a look and when we went to check the goat once again on our way to work, he laid there even more lifeless in the cold wetness with panicking eyes.
We drove to the vet and explained the situation. Legally he couldn’t do much, but he promised us to drive along the place and then ‘accidentally’ hearing a plaintive goats cry … With a worried veterinarian heart he would stop to do further investigation …
If necessary, we wanted to pay the bill.
Returning home, after work, we immediately called the vet.
The goat died.
Just before the vet could give him the euthanasia injection …
25 June 2006
In the newspapers of New Zealand is printed a lists of names and last known addresses of people who didn’t pay their fines. Not intended to show you what kind of bad guys they are, but more as a request for help; If you happen to know how to get in touch with one of these lawbreakers, your advice will be highly appreciated.
New Zealand also considers its citizens mature enough to join in investigations of more important cases. Contrary to the Netherlands suspects appears in the papers with name and mug shot, what of course makes searching a lot easier. The fact that many criminals are found more quickly by this publicity, invalidate the fact that some individuals temporarily got suspected by mistake. Well, you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.
So, you understand I don’t mind that list of fines in the newspaper over here, while the Dutch hotline always leaves me a bad taste. Not because now everything in New Zealander is better than what’s happening in the Netherlands … no, it’s just that the hotline has something sly and dirty, coupled with the fact that (a crucial detail!) the Dutch citizens never were allowed to know what was discussed behind the judicial doors. And certainly not allowed to hear names. Also te length of someone’s record ‘doesn’t matter’. Duh, imagine that <cynism>an ordinary dumb citizen could make some crazy conclusions</cynism>.
By hearing the word hotline I think of anonymously betraying your neighbour, while sending him your sweetest greet every morning.
21 June 2006
Sometimes people ask me if I’m influenced by animation movies because of the atmosphere in my paintings. That may be true, I love animated films. Yesterday I saw Cars from Pixar.
Cars now was finally a movie that proved that my great sorrow wasn’t so ridiculous when I had to bring my first cars to be junkyard. It’s heartbreaking! According to Frank the ‘actors’ had authentic ‘voices’. That doesn’t mean the list of famous names in the credits, but … the engine noise of a 1953 Hudson was exactly the right sound of a straight-6. Yes, there are people out there who highly appreciate these correct details. Although the engine noise of a low-rider of course can be nothing else than the voice of Cheech …
The film was full of jokes and reflections for the grown-ups too. Everything we thought about cars, they also thought at Pixar. Like that Hummers are sissies. That Porsches are girls. That a wheel clamp hurts. That biodiesel is for hippies. That accidents are very traumatic. That America is beautiful. That tractors always be bullied.
Talking about bullying, I pondered further …
In my childhood days, when one of the classmates secretly had done something bad, it could happen that we all had to stay in the classroom after school hours. “Everyone keeps sitting in their chair until the culprit is announced!” said the teacher, which he unleashed a small psychological war. Possibly he considered this as a lesson in loyalty. Mainly a lesson for the guilty one, because now he or she might feel the undeserved punishment of 29 innocent fellow kids.
If the kid was a brat, it wasn’t bothered at all. In that case, the stay after school was a lesson in betrayal. The only thing the teacher needed to do was waiting, until one of the other kids explodes in impatience and would shout out: “Yes John, say it!!!”
But … 9 times out of 10, it was just a lesson in respect for the teacher … because he only had to look at the faces of all the children, who automatically did stealthy glances on John. It was incomprehensible to us that -after a few minutes of deadly silence- the teacher apparently had found the perpetrator and could sent home the rest of us.
We, in return, could not identify a snitcher.
Snitchers part II
15 June 2006
A few months ago, while hiking in the woods on top of the mountain, I found a little red plastic flower. Probably fell off from a hairpin, or so. Bored I pushed the thing into a hole in a tree next to the bench where I had my picnic.
A few hours later, down in the village, I found an earring on the street. I didn’t intend to stick it in my earlobe (who knows where it has been in these days), but I stored it in the pocket of my backpack because suddenly I got an idea! At home I collected all my divorced earrings out of my jewelry box and put them in the same pocket of my backpack.
Today again we passed the tree where I pushed in that red plastic flower. It was still there and I even couldn’t get it out of the bark anymore, because of the growth of the tree. In imitation of the bubblegum alley in San Luis Obispo and the bra fence in Cardrona … I pricked my single earrings and rejected jewels in the same tree. They’re about eye level with a viewpoint on a walking trail, but it would surprise me if someone sees them right away. And that’s okay, because hey pssssst, this is ‘underground’!
I’m hoping the sharp observants among us, also hang in their loners. Who knows lost jewels will be getting together again. Who knows, one day, my jewelry tree is also a famous landmark in the Lonely Planet guide!
4 June 2006
Our first winter is kicking in. The house is built of a single layer of wood and protected from the rain by a plastic skin with wood pattern … There is mold right on the windows and the days my towels were dry, are long gone. My linen starts to smell like onions. The couch is permanently covered with an electric blanket. I rediscovered the hot water bottle and on my painter seat is an electric mini-blanket. Three inches beside my seat is an oil heater.
All things I need to get used to.
Apart from the famous kiwi bird New Zealand adores some more icons. Such as the Pohutukawa tree, the beautiful blue paua shell and their unbeatable Hokey Pokey ice cream. But one of the most strange icons are the flip-flops! They are depicted on t-shirts and postcards. There are Christmas tree decorations with flip-flops on them. There are key chains and there are even created in gold mini size with gems and be proudly used as a logo to promote New Zealand. They brag about it like the Swiss with their watches … In my eyes an incomprehensible status symbol.
Now I know that the Dutch are proud of their wooden shoe, but that is still a kind of folk handcraft. Slightly different from a disposable rubber slipper … The current version is 60 years ago invented in New Zealand and they call them ‘jandals’, derived from Japanese sandals. Or THONGS the same word as string. So a thong is the collective term for garments splitting 1 body part in 2 parts. I can’t stand wearing strings and find it a distasteful garment. I don’t own thongs (I mean the flip-flops). I want them, but now knowing they have the same name as strings, I’m afraid I accidentally will walk with squeezed buttocks, when I feel something between my toes …
Does that make sense?