Sunday, February 04, 2018


There were six of them feasting in the lounge when I left, and a seventh was just pulling into the driveway. Because I am not socially acceptable enough to invite, and anti-social besides, I didn't stick around to watch the game.
I wouldn't have stayed anyhow, seeing as I effing hate sports.

Got home to the city in record time and fixed myself lunch. Thank heavens for bacon and Chinese moms. A pig grew the first, and the dumplings had been handmade by the maternal element at one of the Stockton Street businesses. Together with a tasty rice pilaf that included chilies and stalky mustard, it was a better meal, and in better company, than what those boys had in the lounge while cheering for the wrong team.

They do this every year. And every year they try to make sure that no one else gets to use the lounge during the Superbowl, because it's theirs, dammit, and they will snap at interlopers.

Which is what I would be, if I tried to associate with them.

It would uptinkle their fragile applecarts.

My presence offends.


It's probably because being Dutch (Dutch American), I am not diplomatic enough to acknowledge their status and utter stupendousness. Please see this rather badly written article from the BBC for an explanation of that, and though the premise is not quite accurate, you will understand why people like me are disquieting for fragile suburban egos.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Anonymous said...

I almost sent you a link to that article in the Beeb. What in it do you object to?

The back of the hill said...

"in one of the many cafes and bars in the city’s famous Vondelpark"

It's a park. There are cafes and bars nearby.

"he didn’t ask ‘What would you like to order’, or ‘What can I get you?’. He said ‘What do you want?’. Maybe it was the fact that he’d said it in English, or maybe he was just having a bad day, but I was shocked nonetheless."

Or maybe he was not entirely fluent in English, and thinking in Dutch. In most languages, including Dutch, the question 'what do you want' is both perfectly legitimate as a customer service query, and perfectly polite.

"“I think the Netherlands are a place where… no-one is going to pretend. [For example], when you say something in a business meeting that is not a very smart suggestion, people will always point it out,”"

Perhaps you are mistaking being stubborn and opinionated for thinking that something is 'not a very smart suggestion'?

"there is this constant calibrating of your own behaviour,”"

Which is something that should be normal everywhere, but in the modern world increasingly more often isn't. Including among young Dutch people. And it contradicts the statement cited just before.

"But in the Netherlands, there is “the sense that people have the right to say whatever they want and be as direct as they want. And if other people don’t like that, it’s their fault for getting offended.”"

Well, that is complete nonsense. And the English do that quite as much as the Dutch, often with considerably less finesse.

"To me, the situation was obvious: I needed help immediately. But the Dutch saw it differently: unless I specifically asked for help, it probably wasn’t necessary."

Horsepucky, interpretation, and based on anecdotal evidence.

"“Others may think that we don’t have empathy. And maybe that is so because we think truthfulness goes before empathy,” explained Eleonore Breukel, an interculturalist who trains people to communicate better in multicultural environments."

Not my experience, and probably not most people's experience. Van Breukel then goes on to 'believe' that whatever it is, is because of Calvinism. That, perhaps, explains why the Dutch are often disapproving, but more than likely even that was in place long before Calvinism.

And it just goes on and on.

It's basically folk sociology, reflecting the same fondly held fallacious logic as folk etymology, alternative medicine, superstition, and diet fads. This is largely a disease of English speakers, possibly based on Puritanism and the co-operation necessary to subjugate the wild Irish and Scots, and as an easy way to frame a conceptualization of Hindu and Quebecois thought processes.
Possibly also caused by centuries of uninspiring food and lukewarm beer.
That rots the brain.


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