Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Piet Snot

It was a long time ago.
Gays could still walk hand in hand in all the neighbourhoods of the city. Treating women like second class citizens was not considered a shining example of cultural diversity. Anti-Semitism had not yet reached the level it was before the Nazis made it unpopular. The left was still progressive.
It was the old Amsterdam
The winter was very cold. I did not cycle any more, I took the tram. It was early evening at the beginning of December. A few days before the Dutch "Sinterklaas" (Santa Claus) festival. That is the festival for giving each other presents.
I got off the tram a few stops before my house. There was a shop window that I wanted to see. A friend had told me about a new product they were advertising. It was called a cassette recorder.
While I was standing there looking into the shop window, a dishevelled old man came and stood next to me. He was wearing a thick old coat and a piece of frozen snot was hanging from the tip of his nose.
He turned towards me and said, “Sir, you do know that women are mean”.
“No,” I replied. “I do not think that meanness is dependent on gender.”
“You are wrong, “ he continued. “If you have a big argument with a man, you have a fight. When it is over the argument is finished. You go and drink a beer together.
Women are different. They never let go. They gang up on you. Constantly nagging and baiting you. It is happening to me. I can’t take in any more. I have run away from the old age home. They were making my life a misery”.
Then he started to sob quietly.
We stood there together. Him crying, me looking at the goodies in the shop window. 
After a few minutes I wished him good luck with his problem and left. I wanted to get home quickly to make dinner for my partner. If the food was not on the table on time, she used to get upset. Then she would make my life a misery.

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