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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When are They Going to Get to the Fireworks Factory?

So, this whole creating an alter ego has even led me to do something I swore I wasn't going to do. I got a Twitter account. I justify this by the fact that it's for me, S L Crook, and not me, the actual living breathing human puppeteer behind him. So follow if you will on

I feel a slight bit unclean in promoting myself by leaving my blog address in random comments sections. Maybe the whole enigmatic nature of doing so will have the desired effect, or perhaps I've just allowed myself to be open to ridicule. Ah, well, who was it who said that any publicity is good publicity? Seriously, who said that, I really don't know.

Getting on with it...

There I sat, on a wood topped stool probably looking a bit worse for wear in the clothes I had put on fresh the day before. May plain white dress shirt and black leather shoes were slightly ill-fitting as I had borrowed both articles from my temp agency handler. Boy was Peit going to be pissed if he knew I was patronizing a coffee shop instead of making all haste to a catering function in Schevinegen.

Muddled with beer and weed from the night before, I was only slightly beyond caring about the opinion of others, particularly my employer. I would need a lot more weed to get to the point of not giving a fuck at all, and making that prospect a lot more desirable would be that the person who would be responsible for delivering this panacea was to become my latest obsession.

That's where I go wrong. My personality is hardwired to operate from one all consuming obsession to the next This defect of character is what was primarily accountable for the whole endeavor that found me, a month before in the city of Amsterdam for the second time in as many years, waiting in a long line at the VVV office, a tourist booking service found just outside the main entrance of Central Station.

The date sticks out in my mind. September 11, 2000, three hundred and sixty-five days before the world really went to shit. My motivation for going to Holland in the first place? Was it culture, history, the beginning of a broad European tour? Nope, I just REALLY like weed. That's it. I'm as shallow as that. I grew tired of having to make an honest effort in life, because even when I tried hard to do the right thing, situations that I had hoped to work out still didn't. My girlfriend had reconfirmed her solidarity to the Pentecostal church, and had resolved to absolve herself of her sinful ways, which included fornication. That was really a shame because she gave terrific head, and still had my Ren and Stimpy boxer shorts. Tongue in cheek attitude aside, I was really torn up about this, I hadn't many friends in the town that I was living in at the time, and felt betrayed by Desiree's lack of ability to form opinions of her own, or at least opinions that would be in concert with her still coming over to my place every now and again to fuck my brains out. 'Twas not to be. I was alone in a strange town, and despising my job which had me trying to separate hard working people from their hard earned money to buy luxury items they didn't need so that I could make my bosses more wealthy.

More and more I felt the need to change from one consuming line of thought (mainly having to do with Desiree's beautiful face, slender body and peach shaped pussy) to another, and getting back to Amsterdam seemed the thing to do. Never mind that the failure of my first trip there the year before had deposited me in the set of circumstances which I was currently finding myself. I honestly lied to myself and told my inner critic that this time, I could make a fresh start of it. I would find work, a place to live and re-establish myself in the Netherlands. I called the process "reverse immigration", returning to my European roots exactly as my parents had come to North America to start a new life here.

The real trick would be to not get too involved in all the drugs and partying that are at the heart of a certain tourist demographic, and I should do alright. An impossible task that would have, on reflection been a lot simpler had I stayed home and set fire to three thousand dollars.

Never mind that I was ill prepared, that I didn't know how to find work, how to become legally eligible for work or that the money I was taking with me a) wasn't really mine to begin with, and b) wouldn't be enough to last me even if I managed to avoid my own inclinations. I was sending myself on yet another fool's errand, but it would be another month, and a month more besides of utter desperation before I would call it quits. That didn't occur to me in the least as I waited my turn to speak to the help desk at the VVV in an effort to find a hotel room.

It was crowded, the line nearly snaking out the door and spilling onto the street. The person ahead of me confessed that he'd had to go all the way to Haarlem for a room the night before, some big function in town had every last room that was reasonably priced booked.

Amsterdam can be like that. I read somewhere once that it has the highest population density in Europe, and that's just counting the people that actually live there. Add in legitimate tourists, red light crawlers and every pot head with a passport, and the place can fill up like Bethlehem at tax-time.

I was nearing the front of the line when I overheard the conversation between three English lads and the desk help. Apparently, the only room they could get near to their budget was a four bed dorm in a backpacker's hotel, but the hotel would only book the whole room, not individual beds, meaning that these fellas would have to pay for an empty bed. I took this as my cue and offered to buy into the fourth bed, effectively jumping my place in line, securing a place to stay for my first few nights, and helping out random strangers. Not a bad triumvirate. The hotel was the Hans Brinker. I'm even going to link to it / mainly because it has to be seen to be appreciated. I could try to describe it, and will as I draw the story out, but nothing can do justice to the self-deprecation the establishment lends to itself in it's own twisted way of promoting it. If I had wanted to find a party hotel, I couldn't have asked for much better, but there is one more that comes to mind that I would stay in a few weeks from this point. But that's just getting ahead of myself.

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