Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why Oh Why ?

Fact #1: I think the Dutch people are polite.
I really do. Not sweet and nice like Brazilians - that would be too much to ask to other civilised nationalities. But the Dutch are correct when dealing with customers, for example. Not rude-  and not over considerate either. Normal. Civilised.

Fact #2: I live in the NL for more than ten years.
I have get used to the Dutch way.

So why-oh-why...  do I still get annoyed/a bit sad when I am confronted with the way they  - sometimes - say things ? Like... lecturing on me.

Example number 1:
Yesterday was a windy, cold afternoon and I left home (withouth wearing a scarf) to pick up my little girl.
I couldn't bare waiting at the school patio - too cold for my neck and hands. I decided to go inside to use the restroom and then peak inside my daughter's school box situated on the corridor. Maybe there was art work to be taken home, maybe her "friends book" was back, maybe it was time to check the situation of her gym clothes ... And then the teacher left the room hand in hand with two kids - and a line of kids behind her. The teacher was actually giving one hand to my daughter, but as soon as she (the teacher) saw me she looked to the other side ignoring me and went to the patio. I mentioned my girl's name to grab her attention.
When I was at the patio I mentioned to the teacher and my girl, smiling: "Hey, haven't you ladies seen or heard me ?"  To what the teacher replies, irritated: "Kids are expecting the parents to be outside. It is rather interesting when she can find you outside. OUTSIDE !"
(Moral of the history: the protocol here goes above any common sense or exception.)

Example number 2:
I am going to a gym since the beginning of this year. Three times a week, fitness and on the weekends, Pilates. I love the place, the location, the friendliness of the owners and all coaches/receptionists. I am punctual and I respect their rules. I clean the machines after using them. Since my first day there I was told that when going to the fitness room I have to use (fitness) shoes and not sport shoes I regularly use outside on the streets. I 100% agree with that.  So I go inside the gym, greet the receptionist, insert my card in the machine, grab a heart measurer and go to the girls' room to wear the correct shoes and dress me on.

So far so good.

Up to one day.

I come in and notice that near the entrance door there is a rack with some shoes on it. "Maybe it is for the coaches", I thought. I do my normal ritual, greeting the receptionist, inserting my card, asking her a heart measurer and addressing myself to the ladies room. I go to my Pilates lesson. When the lesson is over the receptionist approaches me, with hands on her hips and a serious face. She addresses me in a rispid and loud tone of voice:

- Anna.
- Me.
- It is not allowed to enter the fitness wearing the same shoes you were wearing when outside.
- I know. I have had these on especially for the lesson.
- I mean, it is not allowed to enter ANY dependencies of the fitness. You have put your shoes on when you were in the ladies room. You have to wear them immediately after crossing the entrance door. It is a new rule. It is on the newsletter. Maybe you should check our site more regularly ? There is a new rack near the entrance door. Haven't you seen it ?
- Oh. I thought it was for the receptionists, maybe.
- No. It is for EVERYONE.
- Sorry. Nobody had told me. And I have been away for some days. BTW... why are there still racks for the shoes in the ladies room ?
(puzzled face):
- Ahn... to place the bags, for example. But ONLY the bags... Understood ?
- Okay.
- Good.

I strive for being an excellent client. I greet everyone, receptionists and other fellows. I have a little towel for my hands to avoid my sweat dropping all around and spreading bacteria and lethal infections. I am punctual. I clean the machines after using them. I am economical with the absorbent paper. I use only two squares of it. And I spray on it only twice. Two squares of paper and just two sprays of the cleaning product - exactly as three warning papers glued on the wall tell me to do. I have the most expensive membership (an "all-in card"). But maybe I am too naughty - cause I once walked two meters from the entrance door to the ladies rooms wearing my infected Italian leather shoes. Somebody had to put me on the right track.

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.


Invader_Stu said...

You've got to love the Dutch sometimes when they over react to someone not sticking to or not knowing the rules (insert sarcasm here)...

Simone Westerduin said...

I had been in some situations like that. Like overreact about small things. Once I was with some 3 of the kids I use to watch (I was an au pair in Holland), and they were playing with their little bikes in front of a parking from an apartment building, I didn't notice they were trying to get in with their bikes (but they didn't actually), when a lady start to literally scream from her window: Mevrouw, it's not allowed kids with bike here, can you TAKE YOUR KIDS OUR FROM THERE RIGHT NOW, and she said it like 3 times until one of my kids start to cry. I think it was so rude. She could just say it wasn't allowed, I'll immediately stop them.

But it happened many times, In awkward ways, like the bus driver shouting because my bus card wasn't valid anymore and I haven't see it, he could just tell me in a normal way and I'll understand, without making everybody from the bus glance to me.

But anyway, I don't think dutch people are rude, just overreact sometimes :)


Anita said...

Yes, some times they like lecturing on me, overeacting with rules or just bringing how things are on black/white, in a raw way. Once I was on a weekday at a childs party in another city (the party started at 15h and I was there at 15h30). Just family and a couple of grown ups with kids. Before 17h the mother told me seriously: "We are going to have a barbecue soon. Just for THE FAMILY". I understood the message, grabbed my kids and jumped into the car a.s.a.p. - not leaving before smiling, waving to everyone and assuring enthusiastically it was very GEZELLIG.

Jaboticaba Preta said...

afff I had enough of Dutch kindness this past weekend :P I still think they should think twice before saying something.

Breigh said...

I've had a few things like that happen to me over the years too. They act like they've already told you 10 times when really, it's the first time you've ever heard of it. Frustrating indeed!

Anita said...

Breigh: The worst part after they ask if I understood ("Begrijp je ?") is when I answer "yes" and there is a silence - at this moment I think they will then say: "So.. repeat everything I said !".

Simone Westerduin said...

Oh it just reminded me a funny one (well not so funny when it happened). I went to pick up one of the kids at a birthday party, and the kids are twins, but they are in different classes in the school. So just one was invited to this party at a friends place. I had to go with one of the twins to pick up the other one. Whe we arrived there, the party was almost over, and the mom of the birthday boy was giving some small bags with candies to the kids that were put in a line. The twin I brought with me ran to the line, and when was his time to get the candy bang, the woman said: you can't get it, he came to me crying (he was just 5), and she told me: I can't give him a bag because he is not one of the guests. I was oh :( I didn't know what to say, I he will never understand it.

Anonymous said...

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suas impressões sobre....

Anita said...

Simone: That he was not one of the guests and she had spare give aways... that's cruel ! But anyway, I would have told him before he gets there that he was not allowed anything because probably they wouldn't have enough.
Leila: brigadinha ! Porque vc nao coloca comentario como "blogger" e sim como "anonimo" ?

Line said...

How weird can someting (or someone) be! Hahahaha!

I really do not understand certain rules sometimes. There are people being so picky about stupid rules, while other people are free to do or behave in a way that I consider rather strange.
I personally think that this rule of not wearing the same shoes not even when entering the gym very exaggerated. I would have problems with it, certainly. It makes me feel tired just to think of going to the gym, taking off winter boots, pants, stocking, 2 shirts, winter coat, etc. Imagine even having to change my shoes before entering the place, hahaha! Not possible for me.

Anita said...

Line: maybe you should arrive 10 min. earlier than you normally do in order to have time enough for the transformation (from office chick to fitness addict) ?