Thursday, December 26, 2013

What's wrong with my eyes (adults only)

After sharing yesterday with Nath while Hanneke was visiting her family, today there was a role reversal. Nath was with her family and Hanneke and I were listening to the top2000 on the radio. Every year people get to vote on the best songs ever and the top 2000 are played from christmas day till 12 o'clock on new years eve. You can always argue about which song is the best but without doubt you'll hear great music 24/7.

But that is not what I wanted to share. I was writing (old school) when Hanneke asked what I was doing. When I told her I was just writing down words and sentences that came to me she wanted to read them and I allowed her. It was funny how I could follow where she was on the list by her actions. The word cloud made her look at the window. The passage "The pillows needed to be washed" meant she looked at the pillows on the couch and the word nipple had her looking at her own pair. When she was finished she looked at me and said: "It was probably expecting to much when I thought this would be a coherent selection of words. And how did you get to nipple after remote control? Were mine showing?"
"I was actually thinking about a film I once saw, the softest of soft porn where a remote control influenced people's sexual behaviour so no, yours weren't showing." I said this at the same time I was looking at her breasts. "But they are now."
"Your eyes have a magical power!"
"We should test this on Nath this evening. You might be onto something."

-------------------------------------

"What are you looking at? Did I spill something?"
"No, Hanneke and I had a discussion earlier today and I'm testing something."
"What? What are you testing?"
"Whether or not I can make nipples appear with my eyes. And based on today's evidence I can."
She looks down and covers her breasts. "Should I even ask?"
"Oh don't worry. It is all innocent but I bet that when you take your hands away you will see that it even works when they are covered by hands."
"I'm not going to move my hands."
"In a way... that is fine by me."
(Hanneke) "Oh come on. Move them."
"Pervs!"

We had a great time. Even Nath I can assure you.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This is what I love

Why would you work in an office if you don't want to interact with your co-workers? Today for the first time in months I was able to chat to a colleague for 1.5 hours about stuff that wasn't work related. Sure it started with a question about work but we then went on to politics, private stuff and plans for the future. Later we passed each other in the hallway and we just smiled. A smile that says mutual understanding. A smile that says you share something. A smile that says you belong.

Can you waist so much time? After today I think I must. I didn't feel guilty even with all the work I'm behind on. I felt joyous, rejuvenated. I didn't mind working a few extra hours at the end of the day. I knew what caused it and happily wore the consequences.

On the way home it hit me. I realised I used to do this a lot more in the past and was far happier at work. Of course I've been super super busy the last year and will be for another 4-5 months but I think I should accept that I have to make room for this.

Silence the inner chatter box?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Family

For the most part I grew up with just my sister but after my parents divorced and eventually re-married I all of a sudden had 6 brothers and 7 sisters. I'm the youngest by one by the way.
Some I know really well but others I only see at family gatherings. Sometimes not even there. This is why in my world it can happen that a sister calls me and starts with "I hope it is all right but your dad gave me your number".

Most of this is my doing though. Pretty much all like me but that feeling isn't mutual. So when one calls me directly it always is about a problem. Normal requests go via my real sister, she is after all the 'responsible' one and knows how to handle me.

Come to think of it I have a shield of women protecting me: My sister and mother for my family, Nathalie for my friends and my secretary Janine for my work. But maybe I should dedicate a separate entry on that topic one day.

But today one of my brothers called me. Now you have to know that he is one of these 'I can not be alone' type of people. And after his divorce a couple of years ago a stream of women, some even more needy than him, passed by and all this has cost him a lot of money.
This week however he learned that the company he works for is cutting back on company cars and that his is taken in by Jan. 1st. And that is why he called me. He needs money to buy a car. Some may see the irony. He calls the one who never drove a car for a car.

I don't like giving money to family. Almost always emotions will play a role. Emotions I do not like to deal with and thus I asked him why he needed a car. He came up with several reasons but all I really heard was that he wasn't prepared to change his lifestyle and that I have to pay for that. Had he needed the car to get to and from work I might have been tempted to give him some but it was all about independence and convenience for him. So in the end I pointed out that he should have thought about this earlier and as it wasn't a necessity said no. He wasn't pleased about it.

Thirty minutes later I get a call from another brother, one who has my number and was recognized by my caller ID. I picked up the phone with these words: "If you're calling about what I think you are calling about I would choose my words very carefully." It became a very short conversation. :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

You won't believe....

Earlier this week when we left for work I mentioned to Nathalie I might run in to her because I had a meeting in Utrecht later in the day. Now has Utrecht about 325.000 people living and on a good day approximately another 50.000 working there so running into each other is highly unlikely. But nevertheless there is a chance.

Anyway(1). My meeting ran longer then scheduled and my client suggested we would finalize things over lunch. I told him I knew a lovely little place in the city center and off we went. What he didn't know is that this place is a meeting point for artists of all kinds and also our favourite place to meet up with friends. The place even has a portrait of Nath on the wall from the time she modelled for aspiring artists during her university days. On several occasions I've tried to buy it but I don't think the owner takes my offers seriously anymore. It has become more of a running gag I guess.

Anyway(2). We were finishing our lunch when two women entered the room. My companion must have wanted some extra fun because he invited the two to join us. I can't say I was amused by his actions. I still had to have his signature and was in no mood to entertain strangers but he was very persistent and the two eventually gave in and joined us. I stood to introduce myself and was very surprised to see two pair of very familiar eyes. My formal introduction however warned them I didn't want our connection known to my client.

My client started to ask them all kinds of questions and of course eventually came to the part he was really interested in: "Are you in a relationship?" They both said they were and when I asked how their partners would react to them having lunch with two strangers they countered by asking us if we were in a relationship and if so why we were hitting on women in a lunchroom. "Touché." was all I could say.

After they finished their lunch they made a few attempts to get away from us but my client managed to hold them at our table. Only when I said I had another meeting and had to get going they finally managed to slip away. "I think I really had a chance with that Blond." my client said. "Hmm. I don't think they were really that interested in us other then a free meal and some fun at our expense." But he went on: "No I really think I could have. But you weren't very helpful." "I'm sorry if that was the case. I'm more helpful when it comes to my work I guess." "Oh well. Let me sign that damn paper and you can get on your way."

Anyway(3). It was about 8PM that evening when I heard the front door open.
"Hey hun, you will not believe what happened to me today"
"Let me tell you what happened to me today first. You will not believe it."
And we laughed.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Old people (the end?)

Last year I posted two entries 'Old people' and 'Old people (continued)' about Henk, the 80+-year-old who joined our firm as a consultant. Two months ago he called me to tell his health was deteriorating rather quickly. He wasn't able to focus his thoughts for more then ten minutes and he felt that in this situation he couldn't be useful to us any longer.

Two weeks ago we received a message that Gramps had moved on to the next stage of his journey and yesterday I got a lovely letter from his daughter thanking us for the joy we had brought her father during this last year of his life. She wrote that by being involved with us Henk had returned to being the father she used to know. A man with a passion and a purpose. A man who would tell his children stories about his work. Romanticizing them a little but capturing their attention. Humbled and proud I guess were the emotions I felt.

You can imagine that when I shared the letter during lunch tears flowed and stories about Gramps were shared. Vivianne, who worked with him the most, was telling about the contributions he had made to her work when someone, perhaps jokingly, suggested to post a job vacancy at several homes for the elderly. That idea turned into a plan and this afternoon, whilst I was writing a thank you letter to Henk's daughter, Viv wrote a job description.

To be continued?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The list that doesn't exist

I can't remember which movie brought it on but years ago Nathalie and I had a discussion about which 5 of her friends I would like to sleep with and vice versa.
Of course this was a mere hypothetical exercise in possibilities but it was entertaining. Number one on my list was the obvious choice. A woman men don't fight over, well at least not over how attractive she is. Only downside I can think of is the fact she carries the same name I do. Although hers is the female spelling my thought is that Renee and René can get confusing and you can end up feeling as if you're talking to yourself.

Anyway, why I brought this up is that yesterday at a gathering with friends we finally ended up chatting. Till now every time we were at the same location she either was surrounded by men trying to impress her or guarded by the friend of the moment. She also has some sort of build in defensive attitude with which she distances herself from others so further then a 'Hi, how are you?' it never went.

Yesterday however I was sitting in one of the two real comfy chairs and she ended up in the adjoining one when she was asked to shift over. When I asked how she was doing she told me she was single again. I told her that wasn't really an answer and she looked at me and smiled. It became a two hour discussion about whatever you can think of. Places we'd been to. Good restaurants. Men. Women. Children you name it.

When Nathalie gestured we'd be going soon Renee thanked me for the conversation. I must have looked a little puzzled because she began to explain that she hardly ever had a conversation with a man who didn't want to either end up in her bed or impress her. I immediately remembered the discussion Nath and I did have years ago and smiled. "You're on top of my list that doesn't exist." She thought about that for a moment and turned to Nath. "I don't think I'm telling you something new but you have a good one here."

Nath's 'Mwah' could not hurt my feelings.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Shut up!

*Disclaimer* I think we can all relate to having that one friend where the interaction between the two of you is something only the two of you understand. Friends who are witness to it often just ignore that part of the conversation. Keep that in mind when you read any further.

I have one male friend who is black and one male friend who is gay.

Some 15 years ago at a party one of my (work)partners introduced me to Dennis. He is both of the above. Had we not been introduced we most likely would have never crossed paths because our worlds and interest are miles apart. But what we found out that night is that our humour is the same. And every party after that where we both were present was spend in each others company.

We are having so much fun together that it rubs off on others. I can say this safely because we seem to attract crowds. Last night the two of us were standing alone on a deck overseeing a lake just joking and smoking. After a little while one or two people came outside also for a smoke and they kept hanging around. Not much time after that a few more wandered outside and in the end it seemed the party had moved from inside to outside.
This in itself isn't unusual. It tends to happen when smoking inside is forbidden but last night was different because not much was said by others while they were outside. In fact in hindsight I guess Kevin and I gave a performance and we got people smiling.

After the party we shared a cab and when we neared Dennis' house he asked if I would come in for a drink. I said that I had enough already and would rather go home.
"Oh I see, you think because I'm gay I will get you really drunk and take advantage of you. Don't you?"
"No, you are wrong. This is more a black thing. You can't help it you have two things not going for you."
After which I received a friendly punch in the stomach and he got out. The cabby didn't see that all this was done with smiles and in a friendly matter. So when we drove of to my place he sorta demanded an apology or he would throw me out at the next corner. Well if you know me you understand that I was thrown out at the next corner. I hardly ever apologize let alone for something I haven't done.

Walking the two miles left, I decided to call Dennis and tell him what had happened.
"Must have been because I'm white."
"Nope now you're wrong. It's because you're a hetero. You don't have everything going for you either."
"You know I'd punch you if you were nearby."
"Too dark. You'd miss."

I smiled walking the walk, listening to the talk.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Callings

I sometimes get asked why I am doing what I am doing and my answer is always the same: “Because it is easy for me.” Nine times out of ten, people do not believe this to be true but it is closer to the truth then they would think. Advising businesses on financial matters isn’t a challenge for me, neither is it something I absolutely need to do to feel satisfied. For me it is a way to earn money and the fact it comes naturally to me has led me not to pursue other avenues.

Did I want to start my own business? No, it never crossed my mind until it sort of happened.
Did I want to have people working for me? No, definitely not. I don’t want the responsibility of being an influence on their lives but it comes with the territory.
Did I want to work with numbers? Not necessarily but even as a young boy math and calculus weren’t a challenge for me. It was the first to show and teachers and parents picked up on that and all through school I was challenged in that area. Using the results there allowed me to slightly underperform on other classes and I took ‘advantage’ of that.

BUT…….

On several occasions recently I’ve been told: “I did not expect that from you.” And the conversation then went on about why I didn’t do it more often or why I didn’t do it for a living.

It happened when someone read a few of my columns and suggested I’d write a entire book of short stories.
It happened when I walked past a table with a collection of pictures and picked out one without really thinking and told the group deliberating over them that this was the best of the bunch. It ended up being the cover for a magazine.
It happened when I was asked to give my opinion on a website and I gave so much input that I more or less re-designed the entire site.

It happens too often for it to be coincidence but this entry isn’t about all I can do it is about whether or not I missed my calling. For that to be true I have to believe there is such a thing as a calling. And I don’t because that would mean I can’t be satisfied or feel fulfilled until I’ve found mine….

Friday, May 31, 2013

I won't stop doing the things I shouldn't do

On some levels I'm above average fortunate which allows me to do things I want to do when I want to do them most of the time. The problem however is that some of the things I do, for me, have no hidden purpose whereas society is brainwashed into thinking there is a catch.

For example:
A few weeks ago a girlfriend mentioned she loved flowers but her boyfriend never brought any home with him. My first response was: "Why don't you buy them yourself then?" but as it turned out she loved getting them. I made a mental note of that.

I don't know why but Saturday I somehow remembered the conversation and decided to act on it. I logged on to my favourite online florist who has the flowers delivered in a box that contains water and made arrangements for a delivery on Thursday. Perhaps I shouldn't have added the card with hearts on it and perhaps I shouldn't have them put 'Just because' on it as well. But because I am who I am I did.

Yesterday evening I got a call from the boyfriend. What I was thinking sending his woman flowers? What the hell was going on?
When I tried to explain to him that I wasn't the one thinking but he was I got a feeling my explanation never reached his brain. So I decided to take a different route and ended the call.
Some five minutes later I called him back and told him to shut up and listen. I told him his woman loved getting flowers and that I'm able to give those. Just like he likes getting a beer and the next time we meet up I will give him one. "Do not for a moment think that when I give you the beer we are in some sort of relationship. Think about that one and then think about the flowers I sent and may be sending in the future." And with that I ended the call.
I received an e-mail later containing just the word "Gotcha".

My life is littered with these kind of incidents. I recall wanting to surprise Nathalie with some flowers one day and I couldn't decide between three different bouquets. Knowing she would be working from home the entire week I decided to have all of them delivered on separate days. After the first delivery she called to thank me. After the second she became a little more suspicious but thanked me nevertheless. After the third she full heartedly assumed that I was trying to make up for something. Over the phone I could not convince her of my innocence and only when we met face to face I won her over.

Granted this was in the early stage of our relationship so you can argue she didn't know me that well but still it is an example of how we think because society has us thinking that way. And that is strange because you and I are that same society so your thoughts and mine are what society is thinking. Society is a collection of individual thoughts that should be judged on an individual basis and that's why I won't stop doing what I do.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Friend or friendly?

Nath was talking into her phone when she came home. “I’ll talk it over with him and come back to you on that” was what I could hear. Only when after ending the call she said “René” I knew I was the him and the tone with which she said it alarmed me. I had to be in trouble somehow.

On Friday we met up with some friends and at some stage I ended up in a discussion with one of Nath’s friends. (From reading these entries you must know by now that that is highly unlikely LOL) The discussion was about friendship and friends and at some point I explained my views on this and must have said something like “You’re not a friend of mine but a friendly. Becoming a friend is not just clicking on a link and adding someone.” She responded with a “Oh. Okay” and the discussion pretty much ended there. I didn’t feel like I upset her. I only explained my views on friends. That you only have one to three and that the rest more or less are friendly’s. People you know, are interested in, wish no harm and have the same feelings towards you.
Apparently you do not say this to people because they find this very upsetting. And that’s why Nath got a call from another friend (of hers) and we ended up having a discussion about something we both more or less believe but put into practice in a different way.

And that's how we in the end came to this:
"You know, I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I hadn't met you."
"Probably a lot easier but less interesting I assume."
"Yeah, that sounds a lot like where I ended up."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Awkward moment?

We all know these awkward moments of silence where you know you need to say something but nothing worthy comes to mind. This was not such a moment.

We were sharing the couch this morning, both reading a book when I glanced at her. Her read must have been exciting because she was biting her upper lip and twirling her hair with her left hand, something she somehow can't control and does every time some sort of anxiety gets to her. I must have watched her for 3 or 4 minutes before she became aware of my staring. She started to look back and it became some sort of standoff.

Eventually she decided to break the silence.
"What are you thinking?"
"I was actually thinking of kissing you. What were you thinking?"
"When you would decide to say something funny."

I weighed up my options, took the chance anyway and the rest so to say is history.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

How??

Yesterday morning, when opening a door, something in my neck popped and I immediately felt a sharp pain there. The neck stiffened up rather quickly and the upper halve of my right arm became very painful. Now with my history you can understand I sorta worried.

The night wasn't easy but this morning it did feel a little better. By the time Nath came over in the afternoon I felt as if I could do things normal again. She came in, looked at me and asked: "How much did it hurt?"

How? I hadn't told anyone. I hadn't blogged about it. Not even in a private message had I said anything. How?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Castle

Nath send me a message to make sure I watch an episode of Castle that aired on Thursday (overhere). She knows I record them, because I'm usually at my mom's that night, so the message was a bit unnecessary but it made me curious as to why I should watch this particular one.

In this episode, besides the usual murder and investigation, Castle's daughter gets sick and his ex-wife moves into his home to take care of her. Castle doesn't say NO to that so Beckett his current girlfriend is rather pissed off about this.
In the usual safe and general fashion of a US television show all bases when it comes to current and ex-girlfriends are touched.

After seeing the episode I wondered why Nath made sure I watched it. Was she trying to tell me something without saying it? I send her a message and it turned out she wanted me to watch so I would know how, in general, letting your ex stay at your home is perceived and that this is why every time I let that happen people will question that action. A learning moment so to say.

I pointed out to her that the last time Hanneke stayed with me she invited her and that other people's opinions on this are merely fun to play with and not to be taken seriously.

She agreed but she wondered if I, like her, had watched the show with a feeling of "this is not how it works with me." And yes, I must say that I did.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When Houssie met Harry.

Went to dinner with Nath's friend Harry this evening. As I have said before Harry is by far my favourite friend of Nath.

Anyway, Nath is out of town for the week and Harry had her birthday a couple of weeks ago. Somehow these facts became "one and one is two" when we met with some friends last week.
After the big "40" party a year earlier Harry kept it low-key this year so I told her I would take her out to dinner. When I also suggested it to take place this week because Nath wouldn't be around some of the people present raised an eyebrow. Harry never shy of stirring things up a bit immediately agreed.

I can still be surprised by peoples reactions I guess. Whilst Nath didn't even flinch (I guess she knows me) others assumed their asses off.

I can tell you I had a great companion this evening and enjoyed myself tremendously with the food, the conversation and the wine.

Moment of the evening: Harry took a bite and went "MMMmmMMMMMMMM". "Don't even think I'll be Sally tonight!" I said. She got the reference without thinking about it. "You can be Harry tonight." she said with a grin. "People already think we are more then friends."

I guess we are in a way.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Am I or not?

I sort of promised this entry in a FB update in which I had settled for the idea that I'm different.

A few weeks ago I got into an argument with a friend over Nathalie. Well not her personally but her looks and the effects of them on our relationship.

At some point during a conversation my friend said that I had it easy to keep the relationship going because Nath was so good looking. When I told him that I would have never gotten into a relationship with her if she had not challenged me intellectually he dismissed that by a 'whatever' or 'yeah right' kind of comment. In the end I had to settle for the fact I'm different. My mind works different to that of my friend or friends even as the others present had trouble sharing my view.

But this is how it is for me. Nathalie is good looking and because the exterior is the first thing you get to see from any woman normally, it is what gets your attention at first. But for me that attention disappears the moment that good looking woman isn't able to form a normal sentence or wonders if water is wet. I would still be able to like such a woman but an attempt at a relationship is a no no.

Nath turned out to be perhaps even smarter then I. She turned out to be funny and also very important not afraid of me. When I realised that, I allowed myself to think of a relationship. That it became one the way it did has its foundation in this process of thought. She probably had given it some thought from her perspective as well otherwise this whole entry would just be an exercise in writing.

And then a few days ago Holly updates her FB status with this: Sapiosexual - A person who is sexually attracted to intelligence in others. And this gets me thinking. Am I this or am I not?

And I am not I think. I'm attracted to intelligence in others but for it to become sexual attraction I need a few more things. I need some part of the exterior to rub me the right way. I need wit. I need someone who sees me. I need a contraforce.

And I'm lucky to have a few women in my life that check all those boxes.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bon voyage

The day she heard the news I vowed never to ask her again how she was doing. It took her about 1.5 years to catch it. "You never ask me how I'm doing anymore. Only 'Are you at ease?' or 'Are you comfortable?' Why is that?"
I explained her that it didn't matter anymore how she was doing but that the only thing that mattered was how she was feeling. She thought about it, nodded her head slightly and said: "Only you."

We have known each other for 36 years. We visited the same schools, lived nearby, even though we moved around over the years we were never more the two miles apart, and most importantly kept in touch. I think that over the years we only called each other twice to set up a meet. Mostly we would run into each other on the street or in a grocery shop and ask what the other one was doing that night. No plans? Well why don't you come over then? Some years we only met once. Some years five or six times.

She married, gave birth to Max, divorced a year later, tried a few new relationships, decided to focus on bringing up Max, dabbled with a few new relationships once he moved out and built herself a nice career as an ICU nurse during all this.

Saturday a week ago she called to ask if I could come by. When I asked how Tuesday sounded she told me she would manage till then. Laying down the phone I knew why I was summoned. I had not prepared for this day but when Nathalie asked what I was going to do I, surprising myself, said without hesitation that I would order three dozen white roses. "But you always told me she was so fond of colour?" Nath argued. "She is and that's exactly why they need to be white."

I handed her the flowers and she reached for the card. It read 'For my colourful and funny friend. Bon voyage.' A smile from ear to ear appeared on her face and when she kissed me to thank me she whispered "Only you, asshole." in my ear. We talked about lots of stuff during the two hours I was there but one passage I will always remember.
"Any regrets?"
"We never slept together."
"I can stay the night but you look like shit."
"Yeah, we better not."
"I don't think you missed much."
"Ha, I know."

Sunday morning the phone rang and I knew before looking at the caller-ID.