This doesn’t bode well

I’m 51. Almost 52. Yet, just like any kid, I couldn’t help but feel that rush of excitement yesterday as my very last language class drew to a close. Six glorious weeks of holiday. I know I’m bound to flip, and at some point complain how could I ever have thought this much time off was a good idea? But that ain’t today. Today I’m still a kid, off of school, no more homework or doing things I don’t want to do.

Yippee!

Had the treat of finding another online comment from (yep, you guessed it) my uncle, who seems to yank my chain an awful lot. Props to him; he did it again. I’d posted an article from a German news source that discussed a study of sexual aggression in male apes. It suggested that sexual aggression and intimidation runs in the species; similar behaviors were noted in various monkeys, orangutans, and apes. It also suggested that, humans being closely related to our ape cousins, this trait was present in male humans – which led us down the merry path of ‘rape is just something men do’. Sugar-coated, I’ll give you. But it lay there in the midst of this article’s words, splayed legged for the world to see and jerk off to. Naturally, my comment while posting said article was rather scathing. And how did my right-wing, privileged uncle respond? “This picture isn’t of an ape.” Yes. A stupid comment on the accompanying picture of said article. Nothing on the content. Nothing on my thoughts. Apparently, this was his only way to discount what was being said. You’ve got the wrong picture on top of the article. If that’s wrong, I’m not even gonna bother reading it. Maybe that wasn’t his intention. But it read that way.

The only reason I see for him doing any of this is to needle at me. I just can’t figure out why he feels the need to needle me. I don’t even live on his continent. His life never need intersect mine. And how many times do I need to say thanks for the money loan? It was paid back, with interest. Doesn’t mean I have to shut up with my opinions.

You didn’t buy me, uncle.

I replied, and told him I didn’t write the article and perhaps his comment should be directed towards the news agency that published it.

Play rehearsals went well. Learned we’re booking five performances. Two locally, two in Amsterdam, one in Leiden. That’s so far. Hope there aren’t too many more. If I have to cough up for money towards a venue, plus travel costs, plus perform – well, that’s asking a lot, isn’t it? At the same time I’m glad. Glad I’ll have these opportunities to shine. Glad it won’t be a lot of work for just two nights and then sitting around doing nothing for the rest of the year. I’m puzzled as well. These people think they can do local plus out of town gigs? What’s the draw? Or are there just so many theatre goers in the Netherlands that we’re guaranteed a certain amount of people? It’s not even like they’re active online. Their sites – both the dot com and their FB page – rarely changes. I saw them struggle to draw more than 40 people last year, and that was locally. Well, I’ve not been invited into the inner circle yet. The Grand Poo-Pah has not granted me access. So I don’t know who’s doing what, or why they’re not doing some things that seem obvious to me.

Want to get in some rehearsal time today while my bro is at the comic book shop. Not that I need much. I almost got my lines memorized from last night’s three run-throughs. Then it’s dishes, per usual. My bro did a bunch of dishes yesterday while I was busy, but then he dirtied as many dishes as there were earlier by making dinner. So I’m left with a large sink full of dishes to do all by myself. Again. Hoo-rah. Then it’s off to the gym, for an extended-extended work out. What I’ll extend, I don’t know. I just know I want to burn, burn a lot, and burn hard. After that, if I can lift my arms and keep my eyes open, I’ll see about puttering with my outline.

*sigh* And the festivals are beginning. The endless outdoor music and all sorts of fun festivals. No money for entrance fees, so I have to wait for the freebies. But I hear the fireworks at night, celebrations with thousands of people. It’s kind of lonely, hearing that as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep. Gee, listen to that. All those people out there having a good time. All that fun and life and music and activity. Usually I’m too tired to worry about it for long, but in those brief moments before sleep takes me I can feel very alone.

Diving into writing will only reinforce that aloneness. I know that. Going to do my best to get out every day, no matter how hot the writing is going. I don’t want the next six weeks of posts to be about feeling like a ghost, or having no friends, or being disconnected. And I do want to get my work done. So a strict half schedule must be adhered to. Half a day, every day, get the fuck out of the house. Go to the gym. If I have to do the gym every day because it’s the only thing I can afford that’ll get me out for a couple of hours, alright. Then I’ll super push. Go to rehearsals. Take a walk. Look through the charity shops for cheap clothes. Try to meet up with acquaintances. Say hello. Chill. Ask them how they are, what they’re doing.

Anything.

Hm. Two hours officially into my holiday and I’m already finding ways to keep myself occupied.

This doesn’t bode well.

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There IS a free lunch, Virginia: Day 3

Ky's plate

My feet are puffy and sore today; every bone lower than my ankles hurts. Loads of walking yesterday to see the 35th year of 7-blad festival Zevenkamp. I got no idea what the fest is all about, other than a celebration of the neighborhood. But oh, my! The Dutch do a nice festival.

I got so used to American festivals it was a bit difficult to make the switch. American festivals: lots of alcohol. Where’s the beer tent? Who’s sponsoring? Oh yeah, the alcohol with all the banners and scantily clad women offering jello shots. Where’s the stage? Better bring on some rockers. Do Freebird!

You know? Same thing no matter where you go. Okay, so maybe I’m generalizing. I’m sure somewhere there’s a festival designed for adults that doesn’t feature alcohol…Maybe some AA wing sponsors it. But there sure weren’t many, and none that I went to. The Dutch, on the other hand…

No alcohol. This was not a piss-fest. Yes, that meant that turn out in the 20-35 year old range was low. But some were there. What was on offer was an artist’s market, with painters and sculptors and jewelry designers. Local honey and jam. A fabulous hat designer. Gorgeous stuff. Then there were mini-boat races: far more enchanting in real life than it seems on paper. I found hidden garden retreats, bedecked with multi-colored ribbons. I discovered the kid’s play area the neighborhood designed and built. Yes, the people of the neighborhood took over a local patch of grass and transformed it (with the city’s permission). I almost dropped over when I was told they’d done it in five years. They’d put in fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and decorative vegetables. Everything was landscaped and neat. The children’s area was a kid’s dream. Imaginative playground gear, including a water feature where the kids got to pump up the water and watch it run through an elaborate drainage system, a huge full log swing that could seat 10 kids at a time, and a musical block set into the pavement that you could jump on and create a melody. I saw dancers and heard musicians. I had a free lunch of soup and bread with a range of spreads. Then later, I had a free dinner of fire-baked pizza that blew me away. Yes, I said free. There was no jar for donations, no fees, and no one pressured me to join their group or lend a hand. They just gave me food for free. Me and 50 other people. Amazing. Last night ended with a bonfire, circle drumming, and music. Today there’s another 8-10 hours of fun going on.

I’ve been to cultural festivals, musical festivals, art festivals, motorbike festivals. I’ve gone to festivals where I stick out noticeably because I’m not Greek or Chinese or Thai. I’ve gone to festivals where I’ve been one of thousands of t-shirt clad rockin’ out idiots for a night. I’ve gone to festivals where the wrong clothes will get you banned and knowing the right people is the thing to do. Never before have I gone to a festival that was so wide-encompassing. Every kind of person was there; young, old, white, black, yellow, Dutch, Thai, African…There seemed no cohesiveness to the group other than the fact that we were all neighbors.

It’s weird, being here, experiencing this life. I barely got to know my neighbors in the states. Here, they work together and it’s pretty obvious by how much they’ve accomplished that they don’t get mired down in petty politics. This is a community, a solid group of people living and working together, and RESPECTING each other. A bit intimidating, yes. These are people who want to get to know their neighbors. Who want to be able to say ‘hi’ to each other and stop for a chat as they pass in the street. It’s small town attitude in the big city and let me tell you – it WORKS. Didn’t matter that I didn’t understand everything that was said yesterday. I was made to feel welcome by everyone’s smiles. People look you in the EYE here. They want to SEE you, not just notice that someone is standing near them. I’m aware that if I get involved (which I probably will), I will no longer be able to hide behind my sunglasses in the neighborhood. People will stop me and ask how I am. The Dutch are sharp eyed. They’ll notice if someone’s down and they’re blunt enough to just bring it up with no preamble. They’re also tough enough to take the blunt truth back, though I’m still not quite comfortable sharing all my brain mess with everyone I meet. But see, that’s my problem here because they WANT to know. They WANT to know me. That I got clearly yesterday in the way I was treated. And it wasn’t so they could figure me out and put me in some mental compartment that’s titled this or that. It wasn’t so they would know whether or not I was single and available or a threat or possible ally. It wasn’t even because anyone recognized me and thought it would be cool to get to know the semi-celebrity. They only saw me, a new neighbor. A new face in the crowd. They wanted to say hi and make sure I felt welcome. They spoke clearly and slowly when they realized I didn’t have much Dutch. If they knew English, they used it. If they didn’t, we smiled at each other and I got their gift of friendship regardless of the language barrier.

On the final day of the 3 Day, 3 Quote Challenge, I’m gonna do something a little different. I wanna bust a quote. And the quote is:

There is no free lunch.

Bah and humbug. There IS a free lunch, Virginia. I just experienced it AND a free dinner as well. I know the arguments adherents to this ancient adage will spew. Part of the festival was paid by a grant from the government. The grant came from tax money so if you pay taxes you’ve already paid for the free lunch. Oh, ye mean minded doubters of good faith! That negates all the people I saw volunteering their time to set up chairs and tables and tents. All the people who got to the festival early and stayed late. All the people who freely passed their happiness around to share. No, sweeties, I got a free lunch yesterday. Smiles were my meat, laughter my wine. It was fine and delicious and a meal I look forward to having again.

Once again, the rules for the 3 Day, 3 Quote Challenge:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you. (thanks again, Heather From Crazy With Love)
  2. Share one new quote on 3 consecutive days. The quotes can come from anywhere or anyone.
  3. On each day, nominate three other blogger to continue with the fun. No one is under any obligation to continue with this game; it’s not cursed, so don’t worry that your bowels will explode if you don’t participate.

My nominees today are:

  1. sassafrassthefeisty SassaFrass, The Feisty
  2. sexyachymoody sexyachymoody
  3. blahpolar  blah fucking polar (I hope to pull you out of your funk, sweetie.)

Going back to the festival today. There’s no scheduled free luncheon like there was yesterday, but I know I’ll get what I need out there. The sun is shining, the day is beautiful, and my neighbors have cooked up some fun and laughter for me to enjoy. A free lunch, indeed.