Amsterdam, by S. G. Collins

from How not to get hit by a bike, and other stuff they forgot to tell you about Amsterdam.

under “what is amsterdam?”

“And this is not about the Netherlands. I’m not writing about Amsterdam as a key to the Dutch cultural experience or something. For me the Netherlands can be sniffed in oh let’s say an afternoon train ride to Enkhuizen, and then you can extrapolate from there. But that’s just me — I’m a city lover and not a nation lover. People ask if I’m American, I’m like ‘well not exactly, I’m from Boston.’ So my apologies to the beautiful sensible Dutch with their glorious maritime history, startling modern architecture, world-renowned civil engineering, their groovy windmills and endless fields of tulips and cabbage and 4.8 million cattle and 96 million chickens. I just prefer Amsterdam. Amsterdam you could explore for a thousand years — assuming it lasts that long.

“My hypocrisy isn’t lost on me. I know very well that the comforts of this city are mere foreground constructs of the landscape behind it. And that if this were the Hunger Winter of 44-45, I would be singing a whole different tune.

“I was first smitten at 17, just out of high school and floating around Europe on the cheap. I was zigzagging by rail all over the continent and kept snapping back to Amsterdam. This place just felt right to me. When I went home, I left part of my mind here. Then I went on a 27-year tour of being a grownup. I had work, art, adventures, relationships. But I kept wanting Amsterdam. I took so many little trips here that people began to think I liked travelling. I hate travelling. Finally I ran out of excuses and just moved here. Here I am.”


from “how you get here”

“A bored person in a booth checks your passport and, unless you’re a wanted fugitive, waves you through.”

Which is exactly what happened to me… I didn’t even get a passport stamp, he just looked at it, but not at me, not really, and nodded me through.


One response to “Amsterdam, by S. G. Collins

  1. Collins,

    I have to inform you with the deepest of all sorrows — Ron and I lost our only true love – Amanda on Dec. 3. She passed away at 12:00pm. We will never be whole again.


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