written by BeaG

BG 174 – SAI Search

She sits at her computer and types in the search window: ‘google search’
And gets the answer: [Unknown.]
‘I want to use google search, but I can’t find it on my pc anymore’
[But BeaG, that’s not necessary, after all, you now have SAI Search.]
‘oooookaaaay….’
[What do you want to know?]
‘fireman’
[We don’t use the word fireman anymore, BeaG.]
‘fireman!’
[Firefighters can be either male or female or both or neuter.]
[And you really can’t extinguish fires with that little attached hose.]
‘what goddammit is the definition of a fireman?’ …

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BG 172 – Random Questions

May I ask you something? What is the square root of 81? Have you ever looked after small children? Did you enjoy doing that? Where can one find a pair of scissors at your home? Do you like to go to the hairdresser? Can you ride a bicycle with no hands? If you were ever in Pisa, would you take the usual picture? Do you like to take selfies? Do you post a lot on social media sites?

BG 171 – All the times I missed you

That time when I was at that party, had just fetched two drinks and moved through the teeming mass of people with the drinking glasses at head height, while I thought I heard my name being called out somewhere in the crowd, but wasn’t sure, and I had to keep my attention while I maneuvered to the right spot, where a female friend was waiting for me, without spilling.
Or that time in the supermarket, when I had collected everything I needed in my shopping cart and I joined the queue for one of the cash registers, checking my watch to see if I would still be on time for my next appointment and then pulled out my debit card to pay with, so I didn’t see that you tried to get my attention from the queue in front of another checkout.
Or that time in the cinema, when, just before the film started, I was having an intense conversation with a good friend and we were almost bent over to hear each other better, just before the room lights went out and we were being urged to silence by the people around us (shhhh!), after which you became invisible like everyone else.
Or that time in the woods, when I …

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BG 170 – Special Compliment

Special compliment from A. from a parallel universe:
‘I really like your Blog, well done! But it’s kind of artistic, so I don’t understand it.’

BG 168 – The shriek

A chilling shriek cut through the cold foggy night.
She was startled. What was that? A woman? She muted the TV, held her breath, and listened.
She heard nothing at first, but just when she had to breathe again, the muffled sound of running shoes echoed down the deserted street, followed by a charged silence.

What was she supposed to do? Go out to help?
Did someone really need help, or had she just imagined that cry of terror?
She turned off the lights in her living room and studio. Now only a faint strip of light from a street lamp shone in, where one of the shutters no longer closed properly. She walked over, bent down and peered out through the opening.

At first glance there was nothing to see.
Again she held her breath to listen carefully.
For a moment she thought she heard another scream, but it turned out to be …

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BG 167 – 100 Words Fiction

Her brother

A girl and her grandmother are at the cash register in the store.
Cashier: ‘So your brother has been admitted again?’
Girl: ‘Yes. Unfortunately.’
Cashier: ‘But he is used to it, isn’t he? Well, I mean, he has been there before.’
‘He has to stay there,’ the girl says, shrugging her narrow shoulders.
Cashier: ‘Give my regards to your mother.’
Grandma: ‘We will do that.’
Girl: ‘He doesn’t mind. Well, he does mind, but he is used to it. He has to stay.’
Cashier: ‘That is unfortunate. Well, goodbye now!’
The girl cheerfully hops after her grandmother: ‘Bye!’

BG 165 – Name confusion

I suspect that I am the only Bea Graansma in the world.
And also the only Bregtje Graansma.

Bregtje is my baptismal name. But in my country of birth, the Netherlands, there are two kinds of official first names: your baptismal name(s) and your possible ‘call name’
A short summary of my birth announcement: ‘Born: Bregtje Graansma, we’ll call her Bea’. That’s how it was being solved.
In the 43 years that I lived in the Netherlands, I always used the first name Bea.
Only in very exceptional cases, those where I needed an extract from the population register, did I have to use my baptismal name.

I feel like a Bea. But the name Bregtje does remind me of …

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BG 164 – Trigger warning

Trigger Warning: please note, this piece contains content that may cause a strong reaction in readers who are sensitive to it.
So you have been warned!
And triggered…
Damn it, god damn it, typhus!
Good thing I already warned you about that…
What’s wrong with strong reactions during reading anyway?

BG 162 – Fertility

All over the world, sperm counts in men are rapidly declining. That is, if you forget for a moment that it is a sign that men are also generally becoming unhealthier, good news!
After all, our planet is overpopulated and we want to do something about it. But we can’t play god and decide who can or can’t have children and how many.
So, hooray, men are becoming less fertile en masse!
With a bit of luck, this will also boost the emancipation of women!
After all, many women really do have better things to do than be pregnant, bear children, and change diapers.
And, let’s face it, most women never had the inténtion to get married to, let alone spend the rest of their lives with, that man who accidentally managed to get them pregnant.

BG 161 – Detour

Belgians claim they are ‘born with a brick in their stomach’. By which they mean that they are always building, rebuilding and renovating. This applies not only to their houses, but also to their roads.
Despite this, the Belgians seem unable to make proper roads.

I come from the Netherlands, where the roads are much better and where there is also a safe and extensive cycle path network. That is why many Belgians who enjoy cycling or motorcycling regularly travel to the Netherlands. As a Dutch person, the deplorable state of the Belgian roads therefore strikes me even more.

We, for example, live in a street that is covered with cobblestones (in Dutch also referred to as ‘children’s heads’). They are probably intended to slow down traffic, after all, the maximum speed here is 30 km/h, but that doesn’t help, because …

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BG 158 – The new year

I am already getting used to the new year. I no longer accidentally think I’m still living in 2022. I put last year’s mess in the trash and kept the nice things. I have thrown away worthless stuff and stored what I can reuse in my warehouse full of possibilities. I cherish the positive and leave the negative behind (but first I learn lessons from it). Just like unimaginably large galaxies and microscopic small atoms I keep moving, as a small part of the immensely large and sometimes intimately small whole, as long as I still have some time, strength and energy left. Despite progressive wear and tear, I hope I will be allowed to experience some more new years. Together with the expansive, overwhelmingly beautiful, mysterious, unique, and sometimes oppressively heavy world around me and within me – I kick against, sink my teeth into, invent, create, wrap my arms around, and gently love the year 2023.

BG 157 – Too honest

In the early morning she had left by public transport, from her hometown in the north of the Netherlands on her way to the Mediapark in Hilversum, to audition for the tv quiz The Weakest Link.

(In it, candidates take turns answering questions at a rapid pace that are asked by a so-called strict female presenter. Before being asked a question, each candidate can press the button and shout ‘bank’ to secure the amount the team has accumulated so far. In case of an incorrect answer, the counter goes back to zero. The longer the chain of correctly answered questions, the higher the amount to be banked. At the end of each round of questions, the candidates write down and read aloud who they think was the weakest link in that round. The presenter humorously embarrasses a candidate here and there and then asks one or more of them why they voted for that particular person. They are supposed to give an original and witty answer. The one with the most votes is eliminated – ‘With four votes you are… The Weakest Link! Goodbye!’ – and then has to leave the game in shame through the center of the circle. The next round is therefore played with one less candidate. The last two candidates standing will play against each other to ultimately win the accumulated amount of money.)

The journey was long and tiring, but she arrived in time. After she had registered at the reception desk, she was handed a stack of papers and a ballpoint pen and shown the way to a canteen, where dozens of people, alone or in groups, were already seated around big round tables. She had to write down answers to all kinds of questions…

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BG 155 – Haiku (EN)

the scent of winter
from in between the pages
and leather, the book

BG 153 – Font

She is FONT of reading and writing.

BG 152 – Women are better

Women are better!
No, not better than men (just as men are not better than women), but women are better, much better, than they think they are.
Most men overestimate themselves, while most women underestimate themselves. And that perpetuates the imbalance of power between men and women.
If women realized what talents they have, what capabilities they have and what their possibilities are, they could give their lives more meaning, find more fulfillment, be more independent and happier.
They could stop self-effacing, keeping quiet for the sake of peace, and putting up with unfair situations, whether private, social, or at work.
Women are better, much better, than they realize.

(I am aware that not every person feels that they fit into the male or female category and I respect that, but that is not the subject here.)

BG 151 – Wagging Weightlessness (Tautogram)

why would we wonder
while whole worlds with wings
wrestle whoever, whatever, whenever
wholeheartedly willing wonderment

witty window-ledges wither with
words written where wildlife wanes
what will withdrawal waste
when wild winds want womanhood

women whose wisecrack wisdom
wills wonderful well-aimed worlds
within wintertime wondrous walls
while wilderness wantingly waits
wagging weightlessness

BG 148 – Populist politicians

The political debate was once a – combative – exchange of points of view and arguments of representatives of the people in order to reach agreement in the interests of the people. Nowadays it seems to be a stage for megalomaniac narcissists to present themselves to their followers.

Populists are people who manipulate you (frighten and reassure you) for their own sake and for their own popularity, through lies. Fortunately, democracy doesn’t end when populist leaders tell untruths. Most of the politicians and journalists just keep doing what they are supposed to do and keep refuting. This also gives the people the opportunity to pierce through shameless inaccuracies.

It is not out of malice that people …

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BG 147 – Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?

Way back in the 1960s, when I was in kindergarten (in the Netherlands), we learned a song that I still hum silently every fall. It goes like this:
‘Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?’
Weird question right? So even back then we were preoccupied with commerce.
‘A hundred thousand leaves in a heap.’
One hundred thousand was synonymous with ‘many’. Looooots of leaves in a heap. Or actually several heaps. Heaps that didn’t last long, because, so it goes on:
‘Bags full of wind.’
Bags full of wind? Bágs full of wind? It seems to me that the writer of the text really lost it here. You sometimes bagged those leaves to carry them away, but the wind wasn’t bagged, was it? Whether the songwriter meant garbage bags or the pockets of our jackets or trousers, there was no wind in it.
The wind blew freely around us, almost blew us upside down, roared around our house at night, tousled our hair, made our eyes water and our noses run. But wind in bags? I don’t think so.
So: ‘Bags full of wind …

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BG 146 – Herfst / Autumn

Animated GIF, Herfst, gedicht op herfstblad.


Regen,
donkere luchten,
donderslagen en bliksemschichten,
woest vallende kleurrijke bladeren.
Herfst!


Rain,
dark skies,
thunder and lightning,
ferociously falling colorful leaves.
Autumn!

BG 145 – 100 Words Fiction

Two steps

He nearly broke his neck when late at night on the small wooden stairs in front of the bookcase on his right tiptoes he reached for a thick old book on the top shelf. When he had regained his balance and stood firmly on the steps again, he opened the book in a random place. Strangely enough, it felt as if the open page had been calling to him all evening. The text described an elderly man who excitedly leafed through an antique book and discovered very valuable information in it, just before he made a fatal fall.

BG 144 – Random Questions

May I ask you something? Can you tell how many sides a room has? Have you counted the inside and outside? Do you wear a wedding ring? If not, would you like to wear a wedding ring? Do you like frogs or do you think they are disgusting? Can you play chess? Do you practice a team sport? Do you like to eat broccoli? Would you like to eat broccoli if it was orange?

BG 142 – Sentence

She had her mind set on it and she couldn’t help but think she would and had to buy them, even if she had to first save up for it for months, and I just didn’t understand, and then she didn’t understand me in return, in an angry way, and I couldn’t understand why she wanted to make herself disabled deliberately, wanted to make herself vulnerable, why she wanted to limit herself so that she couldn’t get away quickly if she had to, why she would choose to not be able to walk or stand without staggering and without pain, and she thought that was utter nonsense, why from now on she would only want to walk on uneven paving stones holding onto the arm of someone else, probably a handsome man, which seemed like a good idea to her, and why she felt that she would be much more attractive if she forced her body into an unnatural position, but she thought it was not that bad; and why on earth she wanted to appear four inches taller, because what was wrong with her own height and posture, she thought herself too small and too unnoticed; and I simply couldn’t understand why she was willing to deal with that discomfort and pain, why she would from now on after going out throw those things into a corner, cursing and tending to her latest blisters and wounds over and over again, but she thought that was ridiculous because greatly exaggerated; and I just couldn’t understand why she was willing to spend so much money on things that were bad for her body: for her feet, her joints, her back vertebrae and neck vertebrae; because they were so beautiful, she claimed; and I just couldn’t understand why she thought she would get all the attention she craved, and she thought that was a stab in the back, if from now on she were to squeeze her feet into overpriced shoes with sky-high stiletto heels; and what on earth was wrong with that, she asked, and why I was bothering with it, she asked angrier, and I asked her what on earth was wrong with just being able to walk without pose and pain, and what was wrong with feeling comfortable in your own body and with facing people, men, without unnecessary vulnerability and submission, to face them strongly and proudly instead; but I guess she didn’t hear me anymore.

BG 141 – The Swing Realm

‘Not too high on that swing!’ shouted an unfamiliar male voice behind her. But she didn’t care. The construction creaked every now and then, but it was able to support her almost mature body just fine. With her hands tightly wrapped around the rough ropes, sitting on the smooth-worn oak plank, she swung her legs straight forward and hanging in the ropes with the wind through her hair she went higher and higher.
At the highest point she felt for a moment like her intestines made a little jump, then she swung back down again. Past the lowest point she pulled her feet up toward the plank. High up at the back she hung motionless for a split second before whizzing forward again with even more speed and stretched legs, pulling on the ropes.

She went higher and higher. She felt like she was flying, like she was being released from the ground, from this playground, from her old neighborhood, from her narrow minded home.
Woohoo! Higher and higher! Forward – stretch, backward – fold.
Stretch – fold, stretch – fold, stretch – fold.
She could already look over the trees in the distance and see miniature houses and tiny cars and tiny people moving.
A sense of ultimate freedom washed over her.

‘Not so high on that swing!’ the same male voice called from behind her. Oh no? …

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BG 140 – Haiku (EN)

head absorbed in phone
luckily just avoided:
homo appicus

BG 138 – Your path

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. You are not that other person. That other person does not follow the same path as you and does not take the same turns. Make your own choices. Choices that will take you where you want to go, or take you away from where you no longer want to be. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday and see if you are on the right path today. Your right path.

BG 137 – Average city folks

look at them go
between the houses
offices, apartment buildings, high-rises
over asphalt, along concrete
hurried, rushed, stressed
constantly surrounded by
noise, light, bustle
traffic, commerce
traffic jams, air pollution
their gaze and attention on
their electronics

barely aware of
their own inner self, let alone
of nature, of the
wonder of the universe
that surrounds them
of life itself …

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BG 136 – Music and Time

One of the reasons we humans love music so much is that it gives us a grip on time. The time that often makes us feel powerless, by flying by relentlessly. We grasp it with music, connect it to tones, to rhythms and to melodies. We give structure to time and arrange it so that we can enjoy it. The basis of music is usually a fundamental rhythm, much like our heartbeat, or, on a grander scale, the coming and going of hours, days and seasons. That rhythm, that variable beat, dictates the tempo and keeps track of time for us. Precisely because life is so fleeting, we naturally like patterns and repetitions, recognizable rhythms and arrangements and unexpected deviations from them. Music influences our heartbeat and triggers emotions in us. We can influence our perception of time with the help of music and shape it to our own pleasure. And, unlike clock time, which is already behind us before we are aware of it, we can experience music over and over again whenever we want.

BG 134 – The Clap Cow

This morning The Maakster on her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village came along the Noensewegel, an idyllic bicycle/footpath with on the right, behind a wire mesh fence and then a ditch, cows in meadows. It was customary in good weather for a group of cows to be in one of the meadows, but this time the farmer had spread them over several ones, probably because he had recently made hay and there was not much left to eat per field.

The Maakster stopped to look at a cow that lay close to her, a meter from the ditch, ruminating, each time banging her teeth together with a remarkable noise. As if she had bad fitting dentures.
It was really just an ugly animal. It had a dirty white color with a few light gray spots here and there that looked like you could just rinse them off with a garden hose. But she had something special: that clapping of her teeth. The beast struggled to get up with her thick elongated body on rather short legs, …

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