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four hours in purgatory

I have such a great time in Amsterdam, I’m almost hesitant to leave. Here I have friends. kids my emotional age to play with, people who speak English and wafflenstroopen…. But it’s time to face up to the horrible reality facing me.

Oh…wait. How horrible can reality be it if I’m going home to France?

Okay, horrible may be an overstatement. But reality can definitely be annoying on a European holiday. It’s Pentecost, which rumor has it, is a Christian thing. As a result, the trains are screwed up and running on a Sunday schedule which is an hour later than I anticipated. It’s crowded. And I have to transfer in Roosendale (wherever that is). Damn Christians!

This bald short jewelry wearing macho type jerk of a guy and his mildly less jerky friend with too much luggage enter the car. They put their luggage in the aisles, leaving no way for anyone to pass, and then sprawl out in the seats across from me and the nice quiet Belgian girl sitting next to me. The grosser of the two stretches out until his feet are nearly touching the bottom of my seat, legs spread so mine are trapped between his. I’m fuming. How dare this toad actually, he’s more like a banty rooster) take up everyone’s space with his huge enormous ego?

He talks loudly in what sounded like Greek, but is probably Russian to his friend and looks at his cellphone a lot. I hate him with the white hot passion of …I don’t know, but If my hatred could be converted to an alternative fuel source , it could fuel Manhattan for years (another career idea?)

The girl and I exchange several tortured glances.

When she gets off, I use the opportunity to storm off to another seat. Not that there’s much to choose from.

I end up sitting next to a slim American guy with a southern accent who reminds me a little of Edward Norton’s character in “Primal Fear”. It doesn’t help that he bears a strong resemblance to a guy I saw with one of the hookers in a red light district window the other day.

He says he’s from South Carolina, staying somewhere in Brittany for the next three months in some training program learning how to make better industrial tubing. He and his buddies decided to check out Amsterdam over the weekend,  but it was a little weird for him because he doesn’t smoke weed. His two buddies are sitting in he window seats across the aisle, giggling like Beavis and Butthead.

Sure he seems like a nice innocent kid from the south, but there’s something else going on here. Something dark and sinister and creepy.

Somewhere near the Belgium/France border I mentally shift from wondering how my seat mate will murder and rape me (probably in that order) to worrying about what fresh mess I’ll be returning to in Auvers.

What if the bamboo is dead?   Or the entire garden.   Did I turn off the stove?   I can’t remember if I heard the door click when I closed it…what if the door is open, the kitties escaped, the house got robbed and  the kitties got hit by a car or eaten by…whatever indiginous wild beasts reside in Auvers .   I spend the remainder of the trip in mourning.

After we pass the Chaponval stop, I press my face against the window so I can check and see if I can see the smoldering remains of the house when we get to Auvers.   I pray the gray lowing lying grey cloud-like objects aren’t the billowing flames from the house.

As we pull into, I can see the house seems to be standing.   But there are more potential horrors ahead.

I leap out of the train before it stops moving and sprint back to 29 Rue du Pois, not even checking to see if the patisserie is still open.   My hands are shaking as I open the gate.   I dash to the door, which is closed and locked.   The delphinium are blooming, the bamboo is fine and the kitties are waiting for me at the door.

A few moments later, Carole drops by with a piece of homemade cherry clafoutis she made.   Now, I’m in heaven.

4 Responses

  1. Amazing. I remember the first international flight I took from NYC, there was a dude and his 5 year old son behind me who turned my seat back into a boxing bag. I almost started crying. I’ve never been so mad in my life. So finally I turned around and motioned to his dad, who didn’t speak English, like “Duuuuude come on!!” And he just shrugged his shoulders as if his child was a wild animal who couldn’t be contained.

    • Ha! Sometimes I think they should have separate flights for people with kids.
      Your story reminds me of a flight I took to Barcelona where the woman sitting behind me kept kicking my chair. We got into an argument (me in english and her in Spanish, neither of us understood each other–it was hilarious, but of course I was too cranky to notice at the time). The stewardess broke it up with her language skills and explained to me that the woman didn’t realize that the seats were supposed to recline and that my reclining wasn’t an assault on her personally. Oy.

  2. Mama said there’d be days like this… 🙂
    Very funny – the rantings of your possessed mind. Pentecost is about possession of some sort. Well, Christians would spin the more optimistic sort of possession since the Holy Spirit supposedly descended on Jesus’s disciples, and from a more paganistic point of view, Pentecost/Whitsunday is life affirming as it looks forward to the beginning of summer and the bounty nature has to offer.

    Clearly some not so holy spirit made its way down to you but your idea of using anger as an alternative energy source is brilliant (I think it’s a definite possibility – it works for methane gas).

    I am glad there was light at the end of the tunnel in form of a cherry clafoutis. What is a clafoutis? Like a tart or pie. The word alone puts me in a better mood.

    Cheers for another delightful post. -Kirsten

    • Thanks Kirsten!
      Clafoutis is a custardy type tart with fruit. It’s definitely life affirming. Perfect for Pentecost since it includes the bounty of summer in every bite..

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