It seems that repetition is always present no matter where or how we live. I find myself queuing at the supermarket almost daily. I still hold out hope for something to happen there. It never does. I scan other peoples shopping lists and so wish for some answers. I can see by shoppers’ eyes, they too want something more than the repetitiousness of life. A kind of unexpected surprise. The cashiers put a positive spin on things. They were told to ask for the well being of the shopper. “How are you?” And I answer, “great, thank you”. I encourage and nurture the repeating of a stupefying routine. We are all in cahoots. Yet, the sun is shining and the croissants are on special. Three for $1.99.
Was it therefore inevitable that the painting of clock dials would come to an end sooner than anticipated? Even the move to another farm to the East of Holland could only hold off the end of my clock painting career for just a while. My tolerance for routine I never mastered. Some people thrive on knowing exactly what to expect next day, next year, next decade and get nervous when they don’t. Of course, we all accept some routine. We shop and pay bills. We fill the car with petrol and stare at the bowser with keen intent. At the super market I play a silly game with Helvi and tell her the amount that our shopping will come to. I just scan all the goods on the conveyer belt and make a guess. I tell Helvi and the cashier the amount before the scanning takes place. Helvi rolls her eyes. When I get close, it makes my morning and I smile. It helps to pass the time! The cashier gives a smile too. They are all so brave.
One morning when I had set up the clock dials all in a row on the work-table, I could not get to paint another seagull. Helvi and I had done at least six months of clock faces at fifty a week. That is at least twelve hundred clock faces and at roughly four seagulls a piece, amounted to 4800 hundred seagulls, give and take a few. ( I had reduced seagulls of late. A clear sign that the end was nigh.) I packed the box of dials and drove back to the clock factory to give notice. I was jubilant and had put on the car radio. The manager understood. He too suffered the same lethargy and had a large family. He took satisfaction from being a good provider putting food on the table. He also used to go fishing in the week-ends. “It brings me peace,” he said smiling a bit. Lots of Dutch people go fishing and also like doing cross-word puzzles. It helps and makes life bearable.
We are all so brave.