Monday, May 07, 2007

Freedom and Simpletons (I was a screamed at Victoria Station in London)

Yesterday Saturday, when we went out to do our Saturday-scheduled shopping chore, we noticed that the side roads leading to Transwijk Park were closed and there were men standing dressed in orange vests. Hundreds of bikes were also parked along the side streets and a continuous flow of people, young, adult, and old, walking, biking, and even women pushing proms can be seen.

“Wat is er aan de hand?” (What is going on?)

“Ik heb geen idée.” (I have no idea) Dutchman replied looking out the window of the car and watching the busy street going to the park.

Earlier that day in the morning, we saw helicopters passing through.

We drove parallel to the park by Europalaan and heard thundering music playing. I told Dutchman we should check out the place after shopping.


Foto of Bevrijdingsdag Festival in Park Transwijk in Utrecht. Took the picture from the internet. I think this was taken during the morning. We went there in the afternoon and obviously we didn’t bring our camera.

It was the BEVRIJDINGSDAG - Freedom Day or Independence Day celebration. Harry Balkenende Potter has commissioned the whole country to celebrate and stage massive open-air public parties to commemorate the day when the Netherlands was freed from the Nazi’s occupation during the World War II.

The theme for the Bevrijdingsdag: Vrijheid (freedom), Grondrechten (rights), and Veiligheid (safety).

Notes: Official Bevrijdingsdag is every 4 May.

And speaking of SIMPLETONS -- I would like to touch on a little bit with a few snippets from my time in London several days ago.


Victoria Station in Kensington, London.

I was in Victoria Station in Kensington and I needed to get to Islington. In the Tube – London Underground website it says I will have to take the tube service to Angel Station. I’ve been debating on my head for a few minutes if I should take a cab instead, but eventually, after going through the logical process of elimination, I decided to take the tube -- a. It is faster, with a cab you will have to go through the mazes of traffic lights and the traffic itself, b. the place where I am going to is located near the station anyway, and c. I have, hallelujah!, finally understood the mesh of this complicated multi-colored spaghetti tube routes.

First things first, I need to buy a ticket. So I went down the underground and strode directly to the self-service machines appended on the wall. The two women in front of me took a while with the machine and ultimately gave up without any ticket in their hands.

I stepped forward when they left as it was my turn. Being not so familiar with the system but having transacted with similar self-service machines in other countries, I was quite confident I could manage this buying-a-ticket-transaction in a fly. I then inserted my credit card to pay for the ticket. But helaas, it didn’t work. I did the transaction again repeating the same process but WhyTF this machine won’t recognize my darn credit card?

My annoyance came to a halt, completely, when I heard a shrilly irritating voice pierced sharply through my eardrums.

“If you don’t know what you are doing, why don’t you just leave and go buy your ticket at the counters because we are all here waiting!!!”


Have you ever been yelled at by a complete stranger? Yep, that was supposed to be my initial reaction.

I was struck. I turned around slowly and saw this unattractive figure standing right before me: a short, fat, young woman with streaked blonde hair clipped on the sides. She was sporting this I-am-a-bona-fied-bitch-so-don’t-fuck-with-me-look. Judging from her accent she is American. Probably an American living in London, who has acclimatized to the transport system thus she knows her way around London Underground, I suppose.

She yelled again at me, this time in a much higher tune that everyone around the area was staring at her, “We’re all here waiting for you!!!” %@#&!

Her face was very red, with pure and intense infuriation that looks like it is about to burst into tiny pieces. I thought for a moment that she will launch her rocket claws at me! Oh my, miaow, lol!

But, seriously speaking, I was like -- OMG? Someone just yelled at me? Someone freakin yelled at me!!!

I have to admit - I also get easily irritated with individuals who hug self-service machines for more than a minute but far be it from me to shout at them? Although, I think my half evil mind would (we all have a half evil mind), but I’m a coward, too guarded and bastardized by the decorum policies that brought me up into this world. Bless me!

So anyhow, for about 5 seconds I stared at this seething creature before me grappling for the right words to say. Simultaneously I was battling inside with the many options available for me to exploit:

1. Should I entertain this woman’s reckless tirade?

2. Should I let her get into my nerves? I am very, very tempted to tell the bitch to shut the hell up and put her on her right place.

3. Should I even try to explain that I knew what I am doing but the machine just wouldn’t read my credit card? On second thought, why should I even explain to this idiot who seem to fancy welcoming strangers by screaming at them in busy public places?

4. Should I slap her??? Umm... honestly, I was about to lunge at her.

5. Should I just ignore her and move on?

Well, alas, my logical self has spoken. I realized that I am truly *sigh* a very civilized individual who won’t stoop low at other people’s diatribes even if directly attacked. *erhm*

In this blog for example, I have had my share (countless times) of being attacked for no reason at all by complete strangers but I chose to ignore them. However, it is different when you are faced with a situation in real life, and impromptu, that calls you to either respond back in a negative or positive manner. There is a split of a second to think, no time to ignore, but just react. Yeah, R-E-A-C-T.

Its like what I always say – you see the true personality of an individual when he or she is tanked with alcohol.

I gave the woman my last blank stare and quickly moved on towards the ticket counters.

I just could not face myself indulging in petty confrontations. Moreover, I simply do not have the time to waste my energy on a negligible stranger who was having a bad hair outburst day just because she had to wait an extra minute in queuing up for a ticket.

Later that evening, I was sitting in the lounge of Gatwick Airport waiting for my flight to Amsterdam. My 19:10 flight was delayed. It was 19:48 on the clock and still there was no mention of my flight gate on the departure screens. I was also not feeling well and didn’t have the muscle to complain or do something else but sit and wait.

Then I heard a screeching noise; a woman, her lungs sounded like it was ripped apart - she was screaming to a ground steward. Her husband joined in the fray too.

All eyes in the lounge were on the couple’s drama.

“That’s my babyyyyyyyyyyy!!!” pointing to her little baby in the prom held by her husband. “I am not going without my babyyyyyyyyyyy!!!”

“She can’t get out of the wheelchair! Not possible!!!” husband chimed in, albeit his voice not as screechy as his wife.

Oh.My.Goodness.Heavens. Truly an opera act. A screaming husband and wife tandem in the airport. What could you ask for more? Personally, I simply do not want to understand why people have to scream the daylights out of them just to get a point across? Why can’t people just complain in a civilized way without exercising their throats in high-pitch crescendo and getting attention to themselves? I mean, whoever said it is cool to bitch in public? Doing this will only justify what an uncouth and lowlife being you truly are. In the Philippines, we have a term for this - palengkera.

The ground steward managed to amazingly stay calm all throughout the ordeal. I would surely nominate him for the customer service of the year award, or perhaps, the most cultured employee of London Gatwick Airport, ha-ha.

This incident quickly brought back memories of the early morning episode at Victoria Station when the blonde streaked hair young woman with a shrilly-voice yelled at me.

Some people do things that make them feel good. They exert their rights, they demand, they bitch and moan and needle up others whilst in the process forgetting to realize how stupid, primitive, and laughable they have become to the outside world.

When you are called a simpleton, remember, it’s not a compliment.

Travel Period: June 2007
Destination: Utrecht South (Utrecht), Netherlands | Kensington (London - England), United Kingdom

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