Staying still

Well, I've come to a cafe to blog and what do I do? Send 100 emails instead. First. Not instead, because now I'm here. But what is it about needing to do something that makes us first do so many other little things?

I still procrastinate, and I guess some things never change. When it comes to bad habits, this is an unfortunate human truth; but when it comes to the quirks and wonders of a beautiful place like Amsterdam, I celebrate the unchanging.

For example, riding my bike. My tall, bright green Dutch bike. Stepping myself up onto the seat, stretching my legs as long as they'll go to reach the pedals, and allowing the bike to become just an extension of my body. The movements so natural, so simple and free. Riding that bike, up over the canals and under the trees; it still feels like breathing, like seeing, like drinking cold water. Fast moving air in my lungs and there is nothing else.

Hm ... also? There's the same skeletal old man with the same blank, almost haunting expression. He still walks every day in his suit past the upscale boutiques and fresh fish stands on Utrechtsestraat, carrying his newspaper.

Heineken still rolls through town every week with their big old horse-drawn beer wagon. If I close my eyes and listen to the clopping of their hooves on cobblestone, I can still imagine I’m in Amsterdam 100 years ago.

I still love - no, I still melt - when the kids put their small, warm hands soft and flat on my back with the kind of pure love and purpose that makes your heart stand up and breathe in deep.

The beers they serve in bars and cafés are still only half-pints, and I still don’t really know why. 

Dutch cool guys still take their boats out on the canals and play annoyingly loud house music, dancing around like d-bags with collars popped and long hair slicked back like Uncle Jesse.
The adrenaline from the belief that everyone is looking at them on their boat and in their white pants pumps through their veins with the Heineken they chug, and they remind themselves that they are cool, that they are on a boat, and you’re not. Let's revisit this short, for emphasis.

The canals are full of dinghies, not yachts, but I still think Andy Samberg must have gotten some inspiration in Amsterdam.

Tourists still look at me with a mixture of amazement and affection as I pedal the gigantic yellow bakfiets up hills, two little boys bouncing and jostling about as we then coast down the other side.

I still love the distinct, strangely clean smell of the canals at dusk—like sitting water, stone, and just a tiny bit like fish.

I still drink tea and sit in cafés with my laptop writing (or procrastinating) until I have to pee so bad I start squirming noticeably and have to leave before I embarrass myself. But I guess I do that everywhere.

Until next time, dear readers, think about those things in your life that don't change, and be happy for it.

1 comment:

  1. hmm... i wish these blogs had a "like" feature like facebook. i know that would take some of the authenticity away from it all, but sometimes that's all i'd really like to say.

    shannon, i "like" this blog post.

    there. :)