I went to see Sing on Tuesday — I think it was Tuesday — but as it was showing at a cinema I've never been to before, a cinema called FC Hyena on the north side of the city, I got lost and didn't make it in time. So I came home. But it didn't matter because it was a really beautiful day and I got to explore much more of the north of Amsterdam than I'd ever seen before, and I got to have one of those moments that seems to encapsulate all that is divine about life on the way. I'm going to tell you about it in a moment, but first, this is the week that was...
bulk :: 12st 5. The latest slimming down shall begin on Monday. It is time. alcohol consumed :: 7 glasses of wine, 4 pints of lager (possibly 5), a glass of Bulgarian grappa alcohol purchasedfor the house :: I got a box. Realising I was about to get in shape again, I bought biscuits, snide Magnums and a box of merlot for the pre-discipline freak-out. It's the first time I've had alcohol in the house this year, more or less, and I'm enjoying it. Right now. I love Fridays. days without alcohol :: 3 days I got to sleep before 1am :: 1 days I started work before 9am :: 0 days I worked more than 10 hours :: 4 days I never left the house :: 1. Not through laziness or depression though, so it's fine. I was just working, and I believe it may have been raining all day. days I smoked marijuana before 6pm :: 5 days I smoked marijuana before 3pm :: 2. I feel I should point out that on these occasions, it's not like I do nothing afterwards. It never interferes with my productivity. Well, rarely. But the reason I mention it at all is that I am trying not to smoke before 6, as I know from experience that it can be terribly habit-forming. copywriting jobs completed :: 3 other writing jobs completed :: 1 other writing jobs ongoing :: 1 back sessions :: 3 physical gym visits :: 0 metaphysical gym visits :: 0 approximate number of hours spent learning Dutch :: 6. *And* I have an appointment to get my level tested next Tuesday, prior to starting my free state-sponsored Dutch lessons. Aaaaaaah, Holland. I must say, I really do appreciate living in a place that values its immigrants. cinema visits :: 2. Poor. reviews written :: 5. Good. reviews pending :: 1. Tsk. plants kept alive :: 6 money owed to Donald Trump :: none. routine adhesion :: 12% week 8/52 overall rating :: 9. Enjoyable work, went out once, got a little messy. Smashing time.
It happened on the ferry to the north.
All of the elements were in place for me to be in a near perfect state of joy. I shall now list them individually:
* The sun was out and spring was in the air — spring is my season, it overjoys me like the best of all drugs.
* I had been working hard on a job I really love, which is also fairly well-paid, which is an extreme rarity.
* I had decided to take a break and go to the cinema in the late afternoon, and pretty much every time I go to the cinema in the daytime I rejoice afresh in the fact that I can, and that I'm not tied to a desk, trapped in an office that I hate, every single fucking day of the week, week in, week out for years on end — I say this not out of gloating or any sense of schadenfreude by the way, but rather, out of good honest joy.
* I had just had an excellent cycle ride. As the city is now becoming more engrained in my head, I'm also starting to really get used to cycling through it, so my enjoyment of the city is becoming greater. I'm starting to feel like I really belong here, like it's my city. I believe it was today that I began to imagine myself as a 100-year-old man, still cycling around Amsterdam. This thought pleased me greatly, but if I die tonight, that's OK too. (Shred my stuff. It's not finished.)
* I was probably still a tad high from the marijuana I'd smoked before I left the house. If I've been working and I'm leaving the house for reasons of pleasure — which is pretty much the only reason I do leave the house — then more often than not, I'll have a little pipe before I leave. I think the quotidian pleasure of cycling through Amsterdam when slightly stoned is greater than any quotidian pleasure I've ever known.
* I was on the ferry. The ferry between north and south Amsterdam, which runs all day and is completely free, is one of the very many wonderful things I love about this place. It only takes a few minutes to cross, but the fact that it's free blows me away, and this was only the third time I think that I'd ever boarded it in sunlight, and I don't know, something about being on water in the sunlight just makes my heart sing.
So I was waiting for the ferry to depart in high spirits, let's say, when a swarthy man from another land pushed his bike alongside mine near the bow of the boat. On his bike were his two daughters of, at a guess, 3 and 5. They were a little less swarthy than he was, leading me to imagine that he had got together with a white-skinned Dutch woman to produce them. They were Dutch girls, sure, but they were undoubtedly the daughters of an immigrant.
The reason I mention they were the daughters of an immigrant by the way, is because I want to emphasise how fucking wonderful immigration is and I want to emphasise the fact that anyone who has a kneejerk anti-immigration stance is the worst kind of fearful idiot, the most dangerous kind of fool that exists in the world.
So anyway, they were chatting away in Dutch, with the father also conversing with them in English occasionally, and the ferry began to move. Then the older girl started to sing, in Dutch, and her sister joined in.
Together they sang, this song I didn't recognise, and they sang it earnestly and without even the tiniest speck of self-consciousness. The little girl had a good voice, a little immature perhaps, but she could certainly hold a tune. The older girl, however, had something in her voice that was totally transcendent. I don't know, it was just really special — it connected with something deep inside me. It moved me. She sounded like a professional singer. And neither did it feel like she was showing off in any way. She was just on the ferry, singing in the sun, not even aware of other people.
Quite a few people looked around and smiled, including myself. I was overjoyed. One guy made a kindly remark to their father, which I didn't catch.
And then we were on the north side of the city and I cycled off and got lost.
Short version: Two little girls sang on a boat. It was nice.
I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you'll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already.