Amsterdam is still dry. The whole country is. Itâ€™s hard to believe, I know. But itâ€™s true.
Thatâ€™s how you can tell the tourists. Not a single Dutch person is amphibious. They donâ€™t have to be. Theyâ€™ve held back the waters, just like the little punk in the story.
Stories got to come from somewhere, I suppose.
Thisâ€™ll knock you flat: I was at this coffee shop there, right? And Iâ€™m downstairs, with some pals, and weâ€™re lit and weâ€™re relaxed. The smoke is thick in there, but not bad thick, just enough that you can feel your eye-membranes slide on down. Good times.
And these kids, these obvious touristsâ€”high-schoolers or some such, their skin was still bright greenâ€”they come on down the stairs and they look at us all laid out and weâ€™re like â€œRight now, right now they are having their First Amsterdam Tourist Experience. And itâ€™s just like the stories. We are a part of their First Amsterdam Tourist Experience.â€
How amazing is that? I mean, I remember my First Amsterdam Tourist Experience, right? That was what? Years ago. The world was different then, you know? And Iâ€™ve made, like, fifty trips back since. And here are these kids, right? Probably can count how many times theyâ€™ve set foot on dry land on one webbed hand. But theyâ€™re giggling and all excited, just like I was.
Itâ€™s hard to come back to the water after that, you know? Itâ€™s like stepping on Atlantis, or Avalon or some such. Itâ€™s another world, one of fire and smoke and dreams.
I feel like I live there, sometimes. That this city, here beneath the waves, this is just visiting. That where I live is somewhere else. Where I live is in my head, and in Amsterdam.
Hand me that fishbowl you call a helmet, man. I feel the need to light up another trip home.