Duditude

Postcard advertising the Art of Banksy show in Amsterdam“No response, no qualifications.”

“Why?”

There was no way to explain without saying something about Aaron’s accusations. He was to tempted to tell her that it would only lead to Aaron going off on another rant. But even that qualified the attacks.

“Sis, I am not saying anything.”

The show is telling the story of Geel in Belgium. Its patron saint, the patron saint for troubled minds. It has a long history of residents bringing the mentally ill into their homes.

“Geel has developed a culture of letting people be themselves. Families are too close, too emotionally involved.,”  the reporter says. “When you express your sadness over someone’s mental illness, you are saying you don’t accept them as they are. You are wishing they were less different.”

He wondered if Aaron new the history of Geel.

It was Aaron that suggested they go to the reggae festival there. He showed up with no weed, no money and a friend that could not even afford his own ticket.

He started seeing less of Aaron after that. He could not afford him.

He is an experienced couch-surfer. He knows to never show up empty-handed, always pitch in for the food and to fold the bedding as soon as he wakes up.

Aaron loves to create rituals. There is the ritual sushi dinner, the ritual gourmet burger (with cheesecake for dessert) and the ritual bagel-shop brunch.

He once was in town and, making sure Aaron did not know he was around, stayed in a hotel.

He is proud of knowing about the blues bar on Stevens Creek, knowing in which Orchard Towers bars the women were probably women, and knowing about the naturist beach hiding behind the reeds.

In Amsterdam, with Betty, he faked it. He spent the days before looking up restaurants, bars and things to do. He was not going to show up with only an intimate knowledge of the city’s coffeeshops to show for his many visits.

Banksy is in town. He hasn’t been to anything cultural here since … too long.

There is a quiet garden behind the smoker’s area at the Vancouver airport. He has the place to himself. The airport: out of sight.  The only sound: wind rustling the leaves.

“Communing with nature, acting new-agey … and talking to yourself.”

He checks that no one is coming, assumes the lotus position and doing his impression of a zen master, pronounces: “Just like the bamboo bends in the wind and does not judge the wind for blowing, so too you shall be. Not confronting , not judging.”

He laughs.

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