The problem that faces me over in the Netherlands is that I am English in every sense. I am polite to the point of ridiculous and am constantly apologising for a lot of things. If someone punched me on the nose, I would apologise to them. What makes it worse is that the longer I spend here, the more that my Englishness is being exaggerated. Another 3 months and I will look like I stepped out from the pages of Pride and Prejudice.
With this in mind, I move onto road rage. Road rage is unexplainable. I don’t care if you are Ghandi, once that red mist comes down, everyone get out of the way. Something about being in an enclosed area gives me a false sense of security, a sense of feeling like the big man. One of my pet hates is when other drivers do not say thank you or even acknowledge you if you let them out at a junction. I am not asking much, just a simple nod or lift of the hand. It is hardly much. The Dutch are not really about the thanks and the pleases and the queuing. It was inevitable that we would clash one day.
I was on my way home from work one evening and, as I sat in traffic, I motioned to let a car come in front of me. No thanks or acknowledgement headed my way. Now, I had had a pretty awful day anyway so this sent me over the edge. I beeped my horn at this criminal in front of me. I gesticulated with my middle finger several times and, in unison with beeping my horn, it was quite a show. I did not, however, take into consideration that approximately 200 metres down the road we would be side by side at the traffic lights.
There we were, side by side. The red light remained red for what seemed like an eternity and I was able to get a good look at this lunatic. He was a rather rotund gentleman, with a completely bald head and the bushiest eyebrows I had ever seen. What a strange look he is channelling, I thought. He glanced at me briefly and I looked away. I did not want to pursue this any further, this bushy-browed man was lucky.
Fast forward a week and I had decided to enrol in a yoga class. The gym was not providing me with as many friends as I had hoped (i.e. zero) and I thought it was time for me to create another social opportunity. I also thought that yoga tends to attract fairly accepting types of people (hippies) and I thought I stood a better chance of being accepted, sooner. I arrived and found a place at the back, far away from anyone else. I was never going to make friends if I had to bend over and touch my toes in front of them. Call me old-school but I think a face-to-face encounter is best for forging friendships as opposed to my-arse-in-lycra-to-their-face encounter.
I had a good look around me. A lot of Madonna-types, lean muscles, tense faces. Actually, everyone looked pretty buff. I had the upper body strength of a 12 year old girl. Yikes.
As the room began to fill up, a gentleman came and placed his mat next to mine. As I looked at him, my heart sank and I could taste sick. There he was. Bald head, rotund frame. Unmistakable bushy eyebrows. Of course Bushy Brows was a bloody yoga fan. He looked at me and as recognition set in, he smiled. I smiled nervously. He kept smiling. I looked around the room. The class was about to begin. There was no way out. I had to get through it and then run like hell the minute it was over.
Ten minutes until the class was due to end and it had run smoothly. As this was my first time at the class, I wanted to make a good impression. I find that I make a better first impression the less chance I have to open my mouth. Things were going well. As we rounded off the final sequence, a loud trump cut through the silence. Now, in yoga, everyone is relaxing and things pop out that shouldn’t, such as trumps. Usually, nobody laughs (except for me in my head – trumps are funny, right?), everyone continues with their stretching and you can pass it off as maybe a floor squeak. This was no floor squeak. This trump was so loud that everyone actually stopped their sequence. The flatulent offender? My neighbour, Bushy Brows.
Seven Madonna heads turned to look back at me and at that very moment, Bushy Brows also looks at me and shakes his head. That bastard set me up.
I would always be known as the new girl who trumped during her first yoga class. Time for another hobby.