Sunday, 31 July 2011

Condom moment

Exactly my kind of shop: clothes are weird, jewellery is complicated, objects are vintage, the sellers are actually artists. The fitting room is a miniature living room. “Go ahead, the room will easily fit the two of you” – the male artist said. Two vintage chairs, an antique TV set, an old rack and two console mirror tables. Indeed. The room is large enough for two. Loads of condoms from everywhere.

For a couple of minutes I forgot about the clothes I wanted to try on. My mind followed the words on the package in my hands:
To never forget (some), as the first time (more than once, surprisingly enough), that wasn’t quite as nice (more than enough), that was good (most of the time), with your big love (yes), with a colleague (yep...), with a friend (still not sure whether to regret it or not), with a stranger (never!), with foreplay (dûh!), exciting (isn’t excitement the very essence of sex?), naughty (depends on the definition, but most probably yes), experimental (sure), sweet (mmmm), planned (love gantt charts, but sex is usually spontaneous), on impulse (yes, please), cosy (not sure), romantic (oh yes!), pure (what is pure?), lust (check), drunken action (no), divine orgasm (too few), not satisfactory (a bit too many of those), nice (of course), intimate (what else?), impersonal (is that what you get with a stranger?), outside (ha!), inside (most of the time), in the car (check), in bed (what else is new?), in the toilet (twice of which once in a public toilet), on the couch (obviously), on the floor (not very comfy), in the garden (too bad my garden is totally not suitable). The package ran out of words and I thought of moments in different countries, with great age differences, with lights on and off, with and without music, when it was too hot or too cold, when he was ‘failing’, when I was so ticklish he could hardly touch me, too fast or too long...

Then I realised someone was waiting for me outside and I had clothes to fit. And also that I’ve moved to the new level of appreciation of sex. Getting older has its advantages.

Sweet memories: Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Humanity vs Facebook

A friend forwarded a link to a review of the book ‘Alone Together’ by Sherry Turkle. ‘Facebook makes us less human’ read the title of the article. Inside - some examples of people’s behaviour that is ‘less human’. I haven’t read the book and I hope the authors of the abovementioned article got it wrong. But I’d like to respond to some arguments anyway.

Simone Back has announced suicide on Facebook and none of her 1082 helped. This is a very sad story. It is and it will be. But is it Facebook that made people less human? How about that tax office official in Finland who died at his desk and was not found by his colleagues for two days? This was not on Facebook, but in the office, amongst people who were alive. And what about the man who was dead for four years in a house with his brothers and sisters? I don’t even think they’ve heard of Facebook, let alone used any of the modern technologies Sherry Turkle is talking about.

Somebody was checking messages on his iPhone during a funeral service. Obviously, the guy doesn’t have manners. But it would be more appropriate to blame his parents and school for this rather than Apple. People always get bored at funerals. If they have no iPhone at their disposal, they will study other ‘guests’, solve puzzles in their head or doodle in the Gospel books.

My heart leaps in joy when I see the name of my love in my newsfeed on Facebook because he updated his status, posted a picture, liked a page or became friends with someone. Does this make me less human?

I don’t think modern technologies and social media make us less human. On the contrary, I think they powerfully and painfully reveal just how human we are!

Electricity kills if you don’t mind the safety. Car accidents take lives. Do we think of abolishing them? No. We just learn how to use them safely and teach that to our children. That’s exactly the way to deal with social media. What about our humanity? We just need to be more human. Everywhere.

Love Macy's last album The Sellout! Macy Gray - Beauty in the World

Friday, 15 July 2011

My true nature

My parents are in town. Besides sightseeing and shopping with my mother it also means a project with my father. The latter usually involves building something – shelves, the fence in my front yard. This year we are going to pave a path to the shed in my garden. DIY store visit. Yay!!!

I like DIY stores. The shelves with tools and materials stimulate my creativity. My hands get itchy. I can easily find my way between tubes of putty, buckets of varnish and paint, garden tools and bags of cement and sand. I know names of all this stuff in Dutch and never feel intimidated if I have to ask shop personnel for advice or extra information. I feel comfortable in a DIY store. At least I always did.

At the second DIY store today my excitement suddenly turned into oppressive panic. Why do I feel so comfortable here? Did my parents and I made some wrong decisions along the way? Wrong profession? Should I be a carpenter? Should I plaster and construct rather than analyse processes, give business advice and write articles? Was I moving in the totally wrong direction for thirty six years? The thought made me nauseous. And cranky. I think I took some of that out on my mother. Sorry, Mom!

I was feeling down for a couple of hours. Then I realised that if I were an unconscious handyman, my house would be in perfect state. I looked around. Cracked paint around the windows outside, laminate flooring uneven and with gaps, missing door handles, a couple of walls needing a total makeover and the list goes on. The wave of joy covered me swiping the annoying cranky feeling and ruining it completely in one swift movement. Thank God! I’m probably better off working with my head. Never thought household problems could make me happy.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


I have this urge again. I need to move, be active, change my life drastically. Ten years ago I’d move to another house, change my occupation by 180 degrees, cut my hair short or dye it blond and subscribe for a carpenter’s course or take some other obscure education. But now I´ve grown old and wise enough to keep drastic changes at bay.

Instead I am throwing away stuff. Two days ago I got rid of numerous bottles with hair masks, body lotions, small cosmetics samples and perfumes I never use. My bathroom cabinet is half empty now. Today my mother and I did a major cleansing of the two kitchen cabinets containing spices and tea. I now know I have enough tea for the coming three years. The cabinets are half empty too.

I have to tell you that my mother likes throwing stuff away too. So now both of us are very excited to do the next project: my closet! I will be mercilessly getting rid of clothes. They’ll go to the garbage bin, the clothes collector container at the local supermarket or to Kiev where my mother will give them away to neighbours.

The last stop will be my desk. After that I’ll have a brand new life. Or so I hope...

And this is my mood: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Smokers’ lounge

One could guess they were a family from the composition of the group, and their common features. Father, mother and their two grown-up obese children, brother and sister. In fact they were four separate individuals acting each for themselves. Everyone carried their own luggage, everyone ordered and paid their own drink. They didn’t emit any joy or excitement from going on vacation together. Maybe it was too early in the morning. They didn’t seem to know how to be a family. Or maybe they forgot...

The cafe in the duty free zone of the Düsseldorf Weeze Airport has a smokers’ lounge. It’s a room for smokers separated from the main area by the wall and two glass doors. While the other members of the family were ordering their drinks and sandwiches, the father seemed very interested in the smokers’ room. He was peeking inside through a glass door. He desperately needed a smoke or just wanted to belong to the group on the other side. Anyhow, he couldn’t help staring through the glass.

“Look, there’s a smokers’ lounge!” – he proclaimed rather excited when his daughter came in his direction. As if she hadn’t heard him she said something about a free table in the middle of the room and went past to take her place. The man looked around searching for his son, but didn’t find any support there. His son joined his sister at the table. The man remained at the door of the smokers’ lounge waiting for his last hope – his wife. He was shifting nervously from foot to foot, watching his wife order her sandwich and looking at the smokers behind the glass.

Finally she approached with a plate in her hands. “There’s a smokers’ lounge!” – he said excited, his eyes full of hope. She didn’t look at him. She dismissed the idea with a barely visible shrug and went past him to join her children at the table. Disappointed her husband followed her throwing one last sad glance through the glass door.

My heart sank. “How can you not love him so much?! How can you not see that what he wants?! How can you refuse him this little joy!? Why don’t you just let him enter that door? Or go with him just once, just this time. Just because this vacation together is so special.” I wanted to shout this, but I didn’t. Caught in their inability to show and cherish their emotions they might not appreciate my interference.

Instead I thought that we all should watch each other closer so we don’t dismiss a desire of someone we love with a barely visible shrug...

Hauschka - Subconscious

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


I wasn’t here because I was there. I also wasn’t here because I’m still recovering from a flu that started three weeks ago. But mainly because I was there. On Cyprus. Cyprus is special. Because:
  1. It’s an island. All islands are special. How did they manage to keep pace with mainland when the boats were not so fast and airplanes didn’t exist? And why do people stay on islands nowadays? I wouldn’t be able to stay on an island smaller than Australia and less densely populated than Europe.
  2. It’s divided into two parts of which one isn’t recognised by any other country, but Turkey. That’s weird. People live there. There’s land, cities, roads and yet the world denies the existence of it all. North Cyprus authorities do not put stamps in your passport. Other countries might not recognise its validity of the passport with stamp of a ‘non-existent’ country in it. Weird.
  3. There are Byzantine churches all over. Ok, they are also in Greece, but I’ve never been to Greece, so I think Byzantine churches make Cyprus special.
  4. South Cyprus is non-officially divided in two parts. One is occupied by the British, the other one – by the Russians. In Pafos everything’s in English, in Lemesos everything is in Russian. It’s a pity there’s no formal border to get a stamp in your passport.
I loved the sun and the sea. Too bad vacation is over.

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