Steps (9): Sheep. With coats. [nederlands]
Why do we make photographs, what is the purpose? I thought i was being smart and googled this, but fell into a marketing jargon trap, and if there's one thing i hate, it's that. So no, i'm not going to go into that. Are there really still people who care about marketing techniques, when they make a website, offer their work somewhere, etc? I think so, hordes probably, just like in this picture.
This horde had already emerged at Klotestad Central Station, i didn't know what i saw. Finally i had managed to bonjour myself upright in the outside world, for a quiet walk through the dunes, just to be confronted with these hurdles. It was still in pre-pandemic times, so cramming on the train with far too many people was still manageable.
What stood out about the horde was that almost all of them were so sportily dressed. It's hard to see in the photo, but on the train it was all sports jackets in freshly laundered colours, it also smelled of detergent: everyone was at their sportsy best and fruity and elated and they were all heading towards a goal. They all had a purpose.
And then there was me.
Dressed in my somewhat faded long coat, which i always wear when it is not yet summer, with probably some kind of sporty-looking pants. I do have a backpack, i probably also had a scarf on, it was still early in the morning, and i didn't have any serious sports shoes, just simple sneakers. A goal: i did have a goal too. I wanted to take a look at the sea, and then walk through the dunes back to the city where i was born, and then back by train. And to be in peace, i had deliberately set off early.
Those hurdles: turns out there was a walking day going on, or maybe it was a national beach walking day, i don't know. There was a massive response. And for a moment i was sheep among sheep, and it was not so noticeable that i am the Black Sheep, although i soon had looks to defy. And comments. It cannot be seen in the photo, but at the moment of focusing i heard a couple behind me wondering aloud, what i was doing there, so strangely dressed, you don't dress like that on a walking tour! I did not know that there were special requirements for hiking clothing, and again: when i look at the photo now, more people did not wear very specific hiking clothing. Maybe it was the length of my coat. You should only wear short jackets, because short jackets are sporty and short jackets are good for walking. Long coats are not. You can't walk in long coats.
Later, when the hordes had been evacuated to their hiking starting points, and i finally made my way through the dunes in peace, i found a bunker and thought it was time for a photo opportunity. Two young men on bicycles passed by on the bike path, and they started shouting things at me in jesting German. That i had come to photograph my grandfather's bunker, things like that. I was too surprised to respond.
The tourism paradox: on the one hand, people want to take advantage of tourists, they set up markets, food stalls, restaurants, souvenir shops, hotel chains, bed and breakfasts, AirBnB can also be added, all the more we earn from the tourist people, so much the better. On the other hand, quite a few of those tourist profiteers seem to dislike Germans. For example, i was once in another over-touristed attraction town on the coast, where i lived 30 minutes by bike. After a walk on the beach i passed a market and walked unsuspectingly and calmly past a stall where two men were standing. They looked at me quite amused, i ignored them but heard them talk. In Dutch - and yes, they were talking about me: that is clearly a German, and no, he didn't want one hahahhahaha.
My gaze is deadly. It has not always been so, once my glance was of a sweet-voiced loveliness that was spoken of far and wide. That time is over. And I'd rather not flaunt it, but for you, dear reader, I'd like to post a warning. I don't do it on purpose, but it's probably not entirely by accident that my gaze can catch you. Maybe you'd better keep your mouth shut while i walk by.
Now you want to know what happened to the market vendors.
They shriveled up to dead fish on the spot, and were dragged by the old cat from café Heart of Steal to the bicycle shed at the church opposite, where the sacristan slipped on them three days later and broke both his dry wooden hips; he died a few months later in a nursing home.