Since I am a man, I am blessed with tunnel vision. I can’t find my keys, my glasses or the honey jar in the kitchen cabinet. Basically, I can’t see much that is not directly in front of me. And to be honest, not a lot of what’s in front of me, either. Aggravated by my pathological absent-mindedness, and the early hour, being a man almost got me killed this week.
I was cycling to work, as usual, when I looked to the right and saw this couple. At 8 in the morning, in the December freeze, they were sitting in their garden, just chillin’. I almost fell off my bike, narrowly escaping getting underneath the wheels of a passing bus. Are these people all right? Are they alive? Should I say something?
After I regained my senses, I had a better look, and saw the big picture. They were puppets. Live-size puppets, with faces printed on cardboard attached to their heads. I also saw the huge sheet on the house wall, saying “50 years of marriage”. In Holland, as in most places, being married for 50 years is a big deal. But the Dutch have a special relationship with the number 50. The huge puppet is a part of that 50-fetish. When people turn 50, or are married for 50 years, their friend and family “bless” them with a huge, ugly version of themselves, in the garden, on the chimney, or nailed to the door, sometimes dressed in an “interesting” fashion, or other-wisely “spiced”. I’m OK with traditions, but putting a warning sign for the cyclists would be a nice gesture.