About the author
It’s Sunday and you’re hungover, angry at the world, at bartenders and most of all: yourself. No worries, we feel the same. That’s why we’ve invented Sunday Roast. A bi-weekly conversational ‘column’. A written one. Online. Every other Sunday, Mark and Sabrina vent about the horrible burdens and ungodly mishaps of their 21st century life. Usually reserved only for bars, we bring our problems right into your home. Sharing is sexy, and a problem shared is a problem halved.. You are cordially invited to our pity party.
Previous Sunday Roast here.
Even though I have a television, I haven’t plugged it in for the past two years. So I agree, but who cares now, because the sun is shining! I’m constantly smiling! The world is a better place! ‘Cause when the sun is shining the entire city of Amsterdam lives outside. People are drinking in the park, shopping while eating yoghurt ice cream, or even cycling. It’s all fun and games until you get on the bike yourself.
You see, even as I’m writing this I’m getting worked up again. Because you know what, a lot of people in Amsterdam should take a course on how to ride a bike (or walk for that matter). I mean, I did in elementary school and made no mistakes. During high school I had to cycle one hour to school and back. It was forty kilometres a day and I never had an accident. I’ve been living in Amsterdam for some years now and have hit three people, have been hit once (not my fault, stupid tourists) and have seen about a hundred people falling.
It’s like playing a video game where you can get bonus points for not hitting tourists
The orange light means ‘stop’!
As my roommate put it- cycling in Amsterdam is like cycling on a God-level. You have to be on a constant lookout for those dreadful tourists on their little red devil bikes or mothers with those damn carrier cycles that hold their entire family. But that’s not the root of the problem. It’s the unknowingness of people. When I’m on my bike, I become a different person. It’s like I’m in a videogame where I can get bonus points for not hitting tourists. Lately, I’m getting quite annoyed with having to play this game.
It might just be a lost cause. Unless we give tourist a little booklet on how to act in traffic (and a test, afterwards) and residents a swift kick in the nuts/ punch on the boobs when not abiding the rules. For example: an orange light means ‘stop’. It does not mean: ‘start cycling faster immediately before it turns red!’
Last week, I was passing through the lovely Nine Streets, a.k.a. the most dangerous zone in Amsterdam. You might as well constantly ring your bell or yell ‘watch out’. I was calm and happy, watching the road. Until two Italian women started crossing the street. I rang my bell but they were looking at how ‘pretty’ the buildings are. I rang again, a bit more angry because they were now stopping in the middle of the street. I proceeded to shout “Hello, get off the road!” and they didn’t even blink. That’s when I almost hit them and they got mad.
No mindfulness course or yoga class can prepare you for the amounts of ‘zen’ you need
Yes, they got mad. No mindfulness course or yoga class can prepare you for the amounts of ‘zen’ you need to stay calm in a situation like that. Normally I wouldn’t have said a thing, got on my bike again and mumble the entire way home about how goddamn stupid people can be. But not this time. I thought of the practical lesson my cabdriver in Rome gave me and yelled out: “Vaffanculo! Testa di cazzo!” (go fuck yourself, dickhead), while pointing at the road and making furious Italian signs with my other hand.
Yes, that’s right tourists! We Dutchies can swear in your language. And we can speak most of you languages. We can stay calm, when you’re ‘fare i gattini’ (throwing up) on our Leidseplein, and we’re nice enough to show you again and again where the Anne Frank house is. So please, for the love of God, watch the road. I’m getting sick and tired of (almost) hitting you with my bicycle. I’m a skilled cyclist, not Houdini. As for the rest of you ‘Amsterdamian’ Fixie-loving-hipster-scum: you might think you’re cool with your moustache and your ugly purple Wayfarers, but let me tell you: if you can’t ride that little race bike properly, then don’t do it. Take the tram, and tell your friends it’s the new Fixie.
Pfew, glad that’s off my chest. So, Mark, how have you been?
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