Archive | April 2008

Good customer

30 April 2008

For some reason I prefer my hairdresser (and my gp and my car mechanic) to be older than I am. Someone who is responsible for something as important as my appearance, at least needs to act like every tiny cut is a deeply considered and wise decision. Ideally they should have low, soothing voices like they know what they are doing. Also too many questions at the start of ‘a session’ are by definition unacceptable. Males even have a better chance to make it to my favorite hairdresser (or fav gp and car mech).
Now I am not one who often goes to the hairdresser. This week it was Frank’s turn, who has been hairdresser free for a long time, but he have the same preferences as I do. Of course he has, otherwise we were no couple. Obviously this is one of the first things discussed before you start a relationship, isn’t it?!

“Do you mind if I meddle with your choice of hairdresser the rest of your life?”
“That’s okay. Do I need to dye your outgrowth every 6 weeks the rest of your life? ”
“Yes, you should. And children? ”
“Neu. And you?”
“Neu, no children”.
“Well, then we can work it out, huh?”
“Yes, we are ready then.”
“Shall we begin?”
“Yeah, let’s get started.”

One of the first serious favorite hairdressers I had in my adult life, was an old, small, ugly and skinny fellow, but he had a great ascendancy over his customers. Exactly what I was searching for. He made the impression of being quite convinced of what needed to be done. Consequently I directly think that someone is a professional.
I entered his small salon, where I only saw 1 boy waiting on the bench and another single customer sitting in the dental chair. Yes, a dental chair. I was seated next to the waiting boy. When the hairdresser turned his back to us to continue his work, I saw he was wearing a long, gray and partly red dyed braid of about 1 meter.
When a third boy wanted to enter the shop, the hairdresser didn’t allow him to come inside, before the boy in the chair was ready. The barber shouted that he would not be gaped by three people at once. For safety’s sake, I pointedly looked down to my hands clenched around the handbag on my knees.

After fifteen minutes the rosy-cheeked blonde boy in the chair was ready and he got released with a free orange-colored tin. “Oh great! Free stuff.” I thought. “Maybe I’ll get something too”. The barber beckoned me into the chair, not deigning a glance to the waiting boy beside me -who actually came in before me.
“Because she is new,” said the hairdresser to no one in general.
“Haha,” I said.
“Haha,” said the waiting boy.
“Haha,” said the barber.
“Can I come in now?” asked the boy who was waiting outside.

I made a kind of rueful grimace to the waiting boy and quickly sat down.
The boy who had waited outside was now allowed to come in and got a broom pushed into his hands. He was ordered to clean up the cutted hair of the blond boy. “Then I can work faster!” said the barber. Otherwise you sitting there doing nothing.
By now I realized the customers in this shop were not supposed to have an opinion, so with a waving gesture to the barber I said: “Do whatever you like.” I tried to look as if I was very occupied by my own very important thoughts, and now I also had a good view on that pile of orange tins. Oh, it was African straightening cream. What a matching gift for the rosy-cheeked blonde boy.

An hour later I left the chair with dark purple pointy sideburns. It looked very adventurous and I found it very beautiful. The barber himself was very pleased too and he decided that the rest of that afternoon he only wanted to do dye-jobs. Anybody who wanted something else had to go away.
To my slightly surprise, the still waiting boy and the boy with the broom, didn’t stir a finger. Not annoyed, not anxious, not excited. In a split second I tried -as unobtrusively as possible- to scan the room looking for a candid camera. Was I the one who had put herself into something weird? And was it my fault that these guys probably did not have a proper haircut that day.

good customer

Sound effects

18 April 2008

A month ago, exactly on the day my 2 boxes with paintings from Perth arrived on the New Zealand airport, I received an email from a gallery in Melbourne. They had found my website and were full of praise; “Wonderful, refreshing, interesting! We can, we want, we will, we love, etcetera.” All nice words.
This was badly timed, because on this blog I just had written that I never would exhibit anymore via a gallery. Now I haughtily had to remain to my principles, without throwing in my own windows (Dutch proverb).
I wrote back that I didn’t longer exhibited via galleries, but this didn’t mean they could not sell my work … (building up a constructive silence)
I offered them to buy my paintings for a reduced price. Then it was up to them to sell them for a higher price.
I never expected to hear from them anymore, because 9 out of 10 emails is only bullshit.
And then … (whipping violin sounds) … I received an email that the gallery owner couldn’t find my phone number on my site.


That means I had to cope with my 2 biggest phobia at the same time!!! Phoning AND talking English … (sound of a gun cocking)
What to do? I could start with an uncontrollably and long cry. Or shall I drink half a bottle of wine? Then I’m better in talking. I already had bloodshot eyes, so who minds?

The creepy thing of a phone call is that uncomfortable silences are scaring the hell outta me. My desperate solution then is to fill them with talk asap. Not informative talk, but incoherent ravings. Thereby making unintelligible jokes, which again causes awkward silences.
And it’s not even an insanity or something, because afterwards I can repeat every syllable! Afterwards my own shrill chatter echoes through my head for hours. Awful!

But I had no choice …
So we did a phone call. A small 5 minutes.
And nothing new was discussed. The lady from Melbourne gave it up soon and stayed very polite. Thanked me again for the discount and said that she was still interested. And that we would talk about the rest by email … (sound of a fading horse gallop).

After one week I got an email again. She wanted to buy 2 of my paintings to start with!
Isn’t that great?! (stadium applause)



15 April 2008

One of the best things I recently bought is this new easel. Well…. it’s not really an easel and it’s not new either.
In the last couple of weeks my old easel slowly but surely started falling apart. It’s one of those fancy wooden artists easels but I have never been quite happy with it. While looking for a new one I realized that the commonly sold studio easels don’t really fit my working method. My style of painting requires me to work very close to the canvas and I move my work around a lot. Amazingly traditional easels don’t really allow for that, adjustments are pretty coarse. And even the most expensive models are quite inadequate from an ergonomics perspective.
A second-hand drawing board proved to be the best solution for me. They are cheap because most architects/engineers have switched to computer aided design. And functionality and ergonomics are really much better.

New easel


13 April 2008

It was still dark when we left from home at 4:30 AM. It was an unfair fight against sleep until we were halfway on our trip, to take our coffee break in a kind of truckers canteen. It was the only place open at that time of the day.

At that same moment, somewhere further up in the country, a certain customs officer decided to go to work really early this day, to open those suspicious boxes well before office hours.
Two hours later after we arrived at that same custom’s office at 8:30 AM, I could explode in anger again. Because … WHY did we drive to Auckland then???
But the customs officer was gone fishing (or whatever) and has assigned us with a shy young assistant. Arguing with the wrong person doesn’t make sense, isn’t it?
Instead of inspect in person if the paintings were repacked conscientiously (I was too demotivated to bear more surprises), we tugged the boxes on the roof rack of the car as quickly as possible and left to the centre of Auckland.
We took this chance to visit some showrooms of kitchen and bathrooms. Just before our trip to South-Africa we bought the house of our neighbour and since our return we are renovating that house, while we still living in our rental.

Late at night we were back home. Too tired to get those extremely heavy boxes off of the car roof. We saved that job for the next morning, so we could see the possible misery in the unrelenting sunlight.

Well, only 1 painting was irreparably ruined. What did I expect? Right over the middle of the canvas, where the back slat is running along the canvas, the paint seemed to be chipped off. Like if someone had sat on it.

Really, every day my job is more ‘inspiring’ …

Hier probeer ik op het dak te klimmen, om er daarna af te kunnen springen


10 April 2008

It is 4 weeks later … The boxes with my paintings are ‘in custody’ at the airport in New Zealand for 3 weeks now.
After they had arrived, the New Zealand customs must have thought: “Aha, valuable stuff from Australia! Before we send it through, first we have to get the import tax!”
Did you know you physically can feel despondency?! Then your neck and arms slowly got filled with heavy lead, your voice gets weak and your eyes are stinging. And suddenly you want to sleep. For a long time. For a few years.

I don’t have the documents to prove that the paintings were shipped for an exhibition and that they are returning. When the courier picked up the boxes 6 months ago … he just picked them up. No forms were hand over. The packinglist was stuck on the box. Just like when I shipped my paintings to Hong Kong (what didn’t create any problem at all).
But now I need to show the New Zealand customs documents that are in the hands of Ms. Faithful of gallery O. And she hasn’t been very helpful. Quite the contrary. For example; she still didn’t pay me back the tax of 3.600 Australian dollar.

After a lot of phone calls and pleas to look for the receipt in their administration, the customs discovered that the weight of the boxes on their way up, was different from on their way back!
Oh boy … Now they want to open them. A specially licensed custom guy needs to show up for this job. And yes, that could take up a few days.

Because absolutely everything that could go wrong with this costly project, DID go wrong, this upcoming inspection scares me. The paintings need to be packed in a special way. “If you wish, you may also be present during the inspection of the boxes”, the agent then suggested … “then you can take them right with you if you get the green light.”
I decided to follow this advice, so we will pick up the boxes in person next Friday in Auckland. It’s again a 4 hours drive up and 4 hours back. “No, we can not give you an exact time”, said the agent. “It likely will be in the morning. Our office opens at 8:30 AM.”
So, we need to get up at 4:00 AM then …

Oh, and speaking of despondency; That sheep guy, remember? That hit and run of 1 year ago? He also still has to pay, but doesn’t do it. The bailiff let himself turn away from an identical sheep guy who claimed not to be the sheep guy … The court isn’t allowed to do anything. And the police ‘can not’ do anything.