Imagine you are dressed in brown clothes - a brown shirt, brown coat, brown pants, shoes and socks. Imagine that everyone around you is dressed in brown and that everyone they know is wearing brown.
Imagine that everyone you know agrees with everything you say and do, that not only do your thoughts and actions jibe with theirs; they are so similar that no one ever notices because no one has ever thought anything different.
Imagine that Dear Abby, if it existed, addressed issues such as: "My husband is too nice to me." Or "my wife cooks the perfect dinner for me, unless I cook the perfect dinner for her."
Imagine that your brown car is exactly the same as your neighbor's car and exactly the same as every other car in town.
Imagine that the radio plays one song, the TV one show and the theater one play - continually.
If you can imagine all this then you are not Belgian for you have too much imagination. Never-the-less this is what living in Belgium is like. Not to say that all cars in Belgium are brown and driven by persons wearing brown clothes, living brown lives. Never-the-less this is what living in Belgium is like - at least according to the vote taken at the Rio De Janeiro Conference of Interior Decorators.
The Rio Conference draws decorators from all over the world who come to drink, gamble and carouse for a week away from the pressures of the job and strictures of family life. And every year at the conference the decorators vote on one issue explosive enough to draw fire attention, and fire, from around the world.
Last year, for example, they voted Ukrainian women the worlds ugliest based on a cursory look at pornographic spam on the conference computers. In the mid 90s they drew fire for voting on the unsavory question of who might taste better cooked: the Hutus or Tutsis. They voted Tutsis. This year they have voted Belgium the World's Dullest Country.
Some, of course disagree. "I got eel on a stick there once. It was tasty for eel," said Brandon McClure of Liverpool. A fair question often asked is ‘what credentials do the decorators have to make the judgments they are making? Claudia Berlongi of Buenos Aires admits that some years they stretch it. "The year we voted that the Aborigines should kill all white people in Western Australia and rule in their place I believe we had all just watched Crocodile Dundee. But this year I have no problems with the vote. To become a member of the Rio Conference you must go to Belgium to study the interiors and exteriors, the habits, the landscapes, that is, to study Belgium. Then you must vow never to do what Belgium has done ever again. I believe we know Belgium," she said, holding her nose.