It is raining…again…it is not the first time and it won’t be the last time. The thing is that the last few weeks it has been raining a lot and that if you happen to have a lot of time to do those so much loved typical Summer related things but the weather seems to conspire against your intentions this is a bit annoying. Still it is what it is. I have given up and no don’t think I get to wear quite soon that one colorful dress or skirt that only matches with sun and blue skies. When I look out of the window I try to come up with some positive side effects that rainy weather brings along. Well, remember how our farmers in June were almost about to perform rain dances due to the dry weather. They were predicting a harvest that would rocket prices into the sky and they said that in order to save their crops they were need of quite a great amount of rain. Not that these hardworking farmers were calling out for thunderstorms and a few depression above the Channels islands. Nope, if I understood all the info correctly they were asking for consecutive days of wetness and rain that was not always coming down in a deluge. Well, one look out of the window and it seems exactly what is on the weather menu. So somewhere there must be a very happy soul who looks up to the sky and whispers ‘thank you!’.
Contrary to the rather cold and wet weather it seems to have rather a hot spot in many places conflict wise. Does it affect my life? Do I even care? Even when I look at the ‘poffertjes’ I brought back from my very adventurous trip to Amsterdam I do wonder if they have used any eggs containing fipronil. I take a deep sigh and then take a sip of very artistic coffee mug that I bought while being in Summer modus. It is a wonderful item and made by the hands of a very talented Swedish potter by the name Åsa Olofsson. It was love at first sight when I did spot this mug amongst all the hundreds of beautiful objects produced by loving hands and creative minds. I had set my mind on that one particular mug.
As expected did the outstanding object of my affection came along with a very ‘nice’ price tag. For a second I was in doubt due to the fact that I never ever had spend that much money on a mug. Still I had that one perfect mug in my hands. All the colors added up and the comfort my hands sensed while holding on to it was undeniable strong. Perfection right there, to have and to hold on even on a rainy day. Face it you can not drink Aperol Spritz every single day. Coffee and tea at the other hand always goes along with any weather condition or feeling. ‘You live only once and you never know if you will ever come back here’-excuse made me get out my credit card. The attentive shop owner did wrap the mug in some carton in order to let it survive the trip back home. After all this is a fragile object and could end up breaking before we made it back to Belgium.
Well, can you guess… nope it did not make it into my cupboard unharmed. When I unwrapped it after spending the rather very long trip mostly in my son his back bag I did spot a major crack and some chips of paint where missing as well. I stood there in the kitchen feeling rather awful and empty. All my joy that I connected with that mug suddenly went down the drain and the fact that I was standing next to our colorful trash bin was also rather tempting. Perfection gone…imperfection arrived once again. Outside it was raining and I did wonder if there was a conspiracy going on. Still this was my mug the one that I had big plans for. The one that I wish to share the good and the bad days with. Still, just throwing it out because of some paint that come off and a crack was perhaps a bit bit too harsh.
So the mug was granted entrance and moved in with all the other mugs that already kept up with my existence and longing for caffeine. The last few weeks the mug stands out in my cupboard and yes it helps to get it through on a rainy day. It still does wonders in combo with some of that black liquid that I pimp with some foamy milk. It helps to digest the news of an other very painful terror attack or to hear that there are street names and statues that need to be removed in order to make many people feel at ease. And I do fill up with this mug while two political leaders have their fingers caressing the red button. It does hang out with me while hearing over the news that binge watching creates tired youngsters or how a visitor stepped into an artwork by the French Artist Yves Klein who mostly paints with International Klein Blue or IKB. The unaware visitor of the museum left a blue trace through out the room ruining the perfection and leaving behind of a trace of imperfection.
There is a lot of imperfection surrounding me and has even invaded my mind this Summer. There was even a news report the other day that most of the time our Summer memories are not matching what our summer holidays in reality were like. It seems we play tricks on our mind when it comes down to traveling the world or when we take time off from our daily business. Hmm, not totally agree because momentarily I have claimed my money back from air flight carrier who managed not to bring us back on the promised time and I am about to list a few complaints about a hotel downgrade ‘due to the booking system granting five people to book the same room’-situation. Plus not to mention some other unpleasant things I had to deal with. Some have created total havoc in my mental state and are seriously testing me. There are even a few ones that I am still trying to figure out what the best rules of engagement are for in order to deal with them. No, not all my memories of this Summer will be nice ones. There are cracks everywhere in my life. Some of them are tiny ones and a few ones are rather deep and very visible ones.
The thing is that this Summer I more and more come to terms with the fact, or should I rather call it perception, that being ‘blessed’ or is it a rather cursed with a historical analytic mind set causes sometimes turmoil. A few months ago someone told me that I am the odd one out in a room. That I have to stop expecting that many think along with me when I watch and listen to the news. And you know what I believe this person. Last night there was a professor of History in a news program giving his opinion about why certain statues and street names might not be fitting anymore in our present day society. They seem to stand out to some of us who seem to feel offended by them for some very clear or even less obvious reasons.
At a certain moment during the conversation the presenter asked him if it might be a good thing then to organize a referendum to decide what to do with these street names or statues that cause friction amongst citizens or human beings. His answer was no and that it should rather be our politicians that have to decide what to exactly with these confronting signs, statues and symbols. According to them it is their responsibility. They are the ones that have to open up a ‘healthy’ debate in which they can make the decision.
Well, I am not going to tell you what I at the point did think but it does come down to the fact that yes I do agree that you can not ‘fix’ or ‘justify’ everything by means of a referendum. In the last few years it seems that elections and referenda their outcome have even caused more chaos and insecurity than ever before. Was this person then calling for a dictatorship or despotism? No, that was what he was after. Our opinions will never all be in perfect harmony and what you like I might detest. That we all hopefully after a peaceful society in which hate, contempt, bigotry, corruption and many more rather negative words are not considered as the ‘normal’. Many are still holding on to common values or at least that is what I hope.
The reality around at the moment is a bit different and sends out a total different message. I will now admit I have grown a bit tired of trying to keep up with what it political correct. That the National Dutch Railways have decided to stop using ‘ladies and gentlemen’ when asking for our attention and that in some lectures are expected to use rather 'a person without or with a womb' instead of 'a man or a woman' when teaching biology is for me honestly one bridge too far. It is like I am expected to be able to expand and adjust my daily vocabulary daily. I feel like I am walking out there in minefield and trying very hard not hurt someone’s feelings by using certain words or expressions.
The trained history teacher I do think it is very important to name the facts and not sugar coat them. I have spend enough time in a classroom with young adults trying to teach them a few things about what the past had in store when it comes down to extremists and ideology that was after supreme leadership and dominating one group over the other one. As much as I like 'Game Of Thrones' I hope it will never happen in reality. Despite the Mother of Dragons and Jon Snow I don’t think that the non fiction ever can be replaced by the fiction.
I have always hated labeling people. Labels can come in handy but they also cause friction and give you less freedom when dealing with individuals or even yourself. Still I do believe in structure, order and common goals and values. Plus evidence based facts I consider very important. Surely we should be granted enough space and time to believe what we wish to believe but still there are limitations within this continuum. Yes, I have got my limitations and believe me there are moments that you can push all my buttons. Some of you have done and some of you have only done it recently. It stull hurts and it will keep on hurting but I try to deal with it. Momentarily I have got all my fences up and I refuse to be put into one specific corner and being labelled. Also for the moment it does seem that my beliefs, vocabulary, goals and many more of the rather abstract words that make up my mental state seem now under attack. Not that I am after perfection…I drink my coffee out of a mug close to perfection with a major flaw that will constantly remind of that. The perfect crack…that is what the Summer of 2017 has granted me and perhaps I should be grateful for that.
P.S. While the rain kept us company I had time to read the following: It might help to get a grip on what is going on in the world and beyond. But watching an episode of the X-files might never be the same after having read this.
PS: The first clip is by a lady who while I was in Sweden I did hear her music over the radio and although I do not always understand what is singing I will forever link her with the sun and the happy moments I was blessed with in Sweden. The second is by Sting and due all the rain, the cracks and the rather gloomy thing that are happening around me I still believen in the power of that one feeling he keeps singing about as well.