An actual windmill imported at great expense from Holland.

Saturday, Dribbling Into Dark....
Rien Post seems to have been amused by the Sole Proprietor's efforts from yesterday and that's good, that's what the Sole Proprietor had hoped. His express thanks are conveyed to Mr. Post for replying in his journal. He also checked his "Sites of Interest" link and damned if that wasn't misspelled as well. The bad news is the Sole Proprietor is going blind and he can't tell one "i-e" or "e-i" from another, the good news is he's consistent, which unfortunately, at one point in his life, he would have considered bad news as well.

Breakfast over near Berkeley on Telegraph this morning around eight. There was ice on the windshield and the weather was cold, but clear and bright. Not a lot of people, plenty of parking, a morning newspaper readily available from a box on the corner. An old man, a derelict dressed in layer after layer of clothing, a Santa Claus caricature of the Michelin man was sitting outside the restaurant at one of the tables and asked for money for coffee.

The Sole Proprietor hunched his shoulders and shook his head "no" as he entered the restaurant, thought about it as he stood giving his order, thought about the bite to the air as he'd walked from his car to the restaurant and what it must be like to sit at that table and went back and gave the man a dollar.

Wait, wait, wait. Why is he writing this? Everybody passes people on the street, sometimes you give them something, sometimes you don't. Sometimes its cold in the morning and sometimes its not. Harder to make it in the open when its cold because you can die of exposure and neglect. Not so easy when its warm either and sometimes you die then too. So why has this incident stuck in his mind at the beginning of this day and weekend? Let's stop and start with something else. Clouds are forming. It's not so clear and bright outside anymore, but the Sole Proprietor is going to enter this weekend in a better mood. Rien's reply put him in a good mood before breakfast, let's keep it going, OK? Nudge the Sole Proprietor, get his attention, keep him awake.

The Sole Proprietor's father was an architect and was invited to the Netherlands once by a representative of their government to talk about designing the Netherlands' exhibit for the 1964 New York World's Fair. (There was a World's Fair in Seattle around 1964, the same firm the Sole Proprietor's father worked for did the space needle design, so maybe it was the 1961 or '62 or some other year's New York World's Fair or International Exhibition or something like that.)

They treated the Sole Proprietor's father well, the man who escorted him around the country and made the necessary introductions, for example, was a businessman who had been a lieutenant in the army when the Nazis invaded, a member of the commando team who risked their lives to rescue the Royal family before the advance units arrived. The Sole Proprietor seems to recall that his father was not given the commission, he's not sure the Netherlands decided to go ahead with an exhibit after all, but his father had appreciated the visit and the kindness shown and described it to the Sole Proprietor on more than one occasion.

That's all the Sole Proprietor knows about the Netherlands. Except, of course, the wooden shoes and the windmills, right? Post is trying to disabuse us of our fantasies, telling us there's no archival footage of the kid with his hand in the dike. That's like saying Sherlock Holmes didn't live in London during the late nineteenth century or the Beatles weren't born in Liverpool. Reality makes us feel uncomfortable over here in California, Rien, and the minute you start prattling on about not living in a windmill we turn our brains off and switch channels. We get cold and need to visit Starbucks. You got it right about the everybody's too fat though. You didn't have to say that, but its true. Also the cigarettes. Even the Sole Proprietor had to stop cigarettes.

Netherlands, Holland, the finger in the dike and the tulips are good copy, fantasies we like. We have similar stories about the stock market that we're entertaining at the moment. (We hope you haven't 86'ed the tulips though. We'd like to think the tulips are still out there somewhere, even if you've had to hide them in the back where the ocean and the tourists can't get at them, but it's worrisome none the less. We mainline a lot of flowers out of Latin America these days. Maybe other markets do as well. Hard to grow tulips when your competitor pays his workers 37 cents an hour, so don't tell us there's no tulips please.)

My grandparents on my mother's side came from Iceland. They had fables too. My aunts and uncles and a bunch of my cousins went to Iceland once to track down the family farm. It was this mound of stones somewhere out in the tundra where the sun never shined. Nobody had bothered to try to farm it again after they'd left. It was like that derelict the Sole Proprietor met this morning, he's sitting there freezing his buns off in Iceland and somebody says "how would you like to leave this deep freeze vegetable farm behind and move to California and bathe under the sun all day and fuck movie stars into the night"?

They came for stories like that. (Actually, they came to Seattle where it rains all the time and there were no movie stars because they hadn't invented movies yet.) They came because they'd been freaked out of their little skulls when they were kids by the fairy tales they heard all the time from their parents at home. (And maybe that pile of stones called a farmhouse out in the middle of the night.) In your country you tell your kids about the dikes and the finger and all that "kid makes good" stuff. (OK, you probably don't, but for literary purposes, let's say you do.)

In Iceland they tell their kids stories that invariably end with a Troll under a bridge. And in the story the little kid tries to cross the bridge and the Troll pops up and rips his lungs out with a hay hook and then builds a fire and has a barbecue in the snow, little fingers dipped in volcano ash to start. Over here we have stories about rock stars and movie stars and midnight parties that last well into the night, all of it on video tape available at the local video store to buy, rent, or rub all over with Crisco from a can and eat it for breakfast.

And when we think about the home country, we think nice things like kids with their fingers in the dike because we know back in Iceland its Trolls under the bridge, so we make up finger in the dike stories of our own. Better to come here and rewrite in a Seattle rain, make the Trolls into breakfast for the kids, and, like the stories we tell about the Netherlands, cook up a bunch of tales that end happily ever after so you don't wake up in a sweat anymore every time you meet a bridge and something moves nearby in the dark. Every morning is story time in America. We have reasons. It pays.

Sole Proprietor, this doesn't make any sense. It's also kind of dark. You really believe any of this? People are going to think you're some kind of whacko who's gone off his medicines. You want to go back and rewrite or do you want to drop it now and try again tomorrow?

The banner photograph is of an actual windmill imported at great expense from the Netherlands. Most citizens of the Netherlands, also known as Holland, live in windmills of this kind, although they tend to be larger and of a much better quality of construction. Did you know that they still use dowels and glue? Nails aren't allowed by law.