Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A short primer

Thanks to my superb skills with Microsoft Paint, I'm pleased to offer a glimpse into daily life in The Netherlands- a scene from a Dutch sidewalk. It does not occur to a Dutch person to move, or make way for others, or take turns. Cutting in line, plowing through an intersection with a bike or car, a group of people stretched out across the sidewalk. Being nice doesn't work- if you hesitate, 17 Dutchies will take their turn with no second thought. One afternoon, Nick and I were shopping and were cut in line THREE times within an hour. And number 3 encountered the wrath of a person who is used to things like MANNERS and COMMON COURTESY. I pushed Nick to the register and said, "go ahead, you were first." And the cutter said, "is that so?" And I said, "Yes, that is so, we were standing here waiting in line while you came from that rack over there and around the left side of the counter." And with that, we went first. Check and mate.