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Amsterdam Holiday, Part 6

Maybe the weed is stronger here, but I was getting down on myself a lot today, wondering if I appeared as criminally suspect as my ex-con stepbrother Tim did in his recent Greece vacation pictures. Amid beautiful backdrops, all I saw in those pics was my bloated, bearish stepbro, and all I could think of was “There's that felon in Greece.” With his shady sunglasses on, big cholo T-shirts and sweaty flipflops going, he was framed again and again by stunning scenery and cultural points of interest. Maybe you can take the felon out of Santa Maria, but you can't take the Santa Maria out of the felon?

Or maybe it was the rejection email I got from the most promising literary agency lead that sent me into a negative nook. She said in light of the excitement she had for the project, and despite the fact that I'm a talented writer, she had a lack of enthusiasm for it when she read the first three chapters last night. Son of a bitch. It's my own fault. Who even knows if the book needs the medical or sex parts. It might be as much of a scattered mess as its creator roaming these Dutch streets.

I don't think the local people go to bars and restaurants alone in Amsterdam. Just a suspicion I was getting while sipping a Gruner Veltliner at the wine bar on Rustenburgerstraat. It was nice to sit outside on a street corner and take it all in. A fantasy formed in my mind to make a European style Rose' that is the ultimate cotton mouth killer, and to live in this city and marry a local girl. That was gone as quick as it came. What's this urge lately to be with someone again? To be publicly affectionate and playful with another person? To share my life? I've gotten zero nurturing for so long. Sounds funny, but it has its effects. But hell is other people, as Jean Paul Sartre wrote years ago. Yet you don't miss someone until they're gone.

I really don't know what happened much after the wine bar. I do know I stumbled into Ocean coffeeshop and ordered a spliff that tasted of burning pubic hair. I staggered through the red light district then took these aching calf muscles toward the center of town. I guess I didn't make it all the way. Smart move at some point to retreat.

Alexandra and her boyfriend were in the entry room when I got back. She was thrilled to see me. The guy was watching football on the television, and she just followed me into my room and closed the door. “Have your football! We two don't need the football!” I was on deck to open a bottle of Minervois but held back. She was drinking hard alc and juice in her plastic cup. She started chain smoking and showed me a laminated print out of a menu for that restaurant around the corner. “Bed and Coffee dinner Special: 7,50 Euro.” It looked like a good deal.

“Come let's have a look!” she announced and grabbed my arm. I got my jacket back on and went with her into the front room. Her guy was online now. “We will be gone for ten minutes.” I guess four South Koreans were due in to rent the other rooms. We walked up the block to the neighborhood restaurant called “Ting-Ting” which the middle aged guy who ran the place said “is the last light the sun makes before disappearing.” There was a little bar/lounge when you walk in, then a separate indoor dining room with a few people in there and a rowdy back patio of drinkers and smokers. He gave Alexandra and I an impassioned speech about the place, relating it to a mood. “Rather than eating fast and not appreciating your meal, take two hours so you can eat the whole thing!”

“My friend here has a restaurant in California,” she proudly declared to him. I talked to him about it, but I was annihilated and really shouldn't have even been out in public. In fact, I couldn't believe I was even on this restaurant tour.

When we got back the Koreans were there, and I met one of them who was all pierced up and heavy metaled out, with black straight hair down to his ass. I said good night to Alexandra and snuck into my room, locking it behind me.

The next morning I had to clean my pipe out, shower, dress, and pack. I rounded the corner to that Illy coffee outlet and got a shot of espresso, came back and realized I only had two hours until take off. I hoofed it to the RAI station and got on the correct train toward Schipol airport. After checking in, I went outside and smoked the last of the Black Widow. It definitely got the job done and zapped every bit of moisture from my throat.

On the way to my gate I was delighted to see Bubbles Wine Bar near the Air France terminal. I stopped and ordered a crisp glass of Michel Laroche Chablis, and because of time constraints, proceeded to crush it in three swigs. Cool watery texture and minerality in that wine. In a happy haze I made it to the Air France gate and continued on my self-medicating journey.

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