Who's on Trial - May 09
Meet a friend named Paul in Amsterdam for Queen’s Day. I’ve left a message on my phone saying that I’ve lost it, and told almost no one, including my family, that I’m leaving. It’s morning on Thursday when we both arrive, and in the streets a crowd of people in orange surge us forward. The people are gorgeous; Paul rants about how hideous the people in Dublin are. We drink small bottles of Heineken until evening when we nap and then go out until five. The Dutch go to bed early. I’m hit on by an aging gay guy who tries to pass off being straight by telling me about the women in Hawaii. We piss in outdoor exposed urinals that are jammed with bottles and overflow with piss while we go. “Is this the only place you’ve seen this?” Paul asks. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” I say, referring to the urinals. When I’m alone I feel my sanity hanging by a thread.
Next day we meet a very pleasant German girl named Barbara while looking for hotels. That night I throw-up in a bar’s bathroom, drink Pauls’ beer, and make out with Barbara. Paul is nice and lets me have the beer. I leave the group with her. As we walk I whisper all the disgusting things I’m going to do to her in her community room in her Christian Youth Hostel. I’m caught trying to sneak up the stairs and escorted out. I run home sexually frustrated with an erection digging hard into my pants. “I should have tried to fuck her in a park,” I mumble to myself.
In the morning I’m thankful I didn’t pass by any prostitutes. I’ve lost Barbara’s number which upsets me, and as I’m walking around the city I daydream about the two of us tearing up the hotel room. We start drinking early while watching football (soccer). Neither Paul nor I care about football. I sleep for several hours and when I return the group is drunk and accosting people in broken Dutch outside a bar. We walk by nice restaurants and knock on the window and then dry hump the air. Two pretty girls leave a falafel shop, Paul shrieks like a banshee at them and they run up the street. Drinking outside another bar we introduce ourselves to a group of young girls who are very light skinned, very blonde, and of course Swedish. One of the girl’s parents joins us, we buy them beers and they apologize for interrupting. Paul calls them ‘papa’, and ‘mama’, which makes the Swedish laugh. An hour later they leave their daughter and her friends with us. “The Swedish are very liberated,” I say quietly. Back at the girls’ apartment I make out with one of them while listening to Swedish bands. I beg Paul to stay. An hour later I’m crawling into bed with one of the girls who has stripped down to her see-through green panties but refuses to come near me. I curse the Swedish under my breathe, and leave her in the bed and return to the hotel where I’m surprised to find Paul and one of the girls watching MTV at a massive decibel and talking about blood and periods. Paul is angry with me for the first time on the trip. “She wanted to go to sleep,” I say. “No Simon, she didn’t want to sleep, she just didn’t want to fuck you,” he hisses at me. I read American Psycho in the lobby until five, set up a wake-up call, and fall asleep with MTV playing.
Three hours later I leave the two of them for the airport and I try not to pass out on the train as it moves quietly through the city.
“What the fuck, I thought there was a recession going on,” I mutter as I pull into the Old Orchard shopping mall parking lot. It’s Thursday evening and the place is packed, the sprawling parking lot completely full. It’s slow moving with the truck. I’m meeting a tall, blonde, Estonian girl with nice clean features, and a somewhat continually sad disposition.
Near midnight I leave, and as I exist onto I-88 I hit traffic, stand still traffic. They have four lanes coming down to one. The rain is pouring down and I watch for construction workers and see none.
John Drake and the Shakes practice above me in the apartment in Chicago. Unlike the bands I knew in college they’re a gifted band, with the possibility of actually being successful. They sound slightly Bohemian, something close to Fleet of Foxes. It’s nice knowing a legitimately good band, and not one born of coincidence, whose concerts you sit through because they’re friends. It makes time in the city seem more alive, and I’m grateful for any break in routine.
A little Lil Wayne CD is playing while she drives; I let it play for half a minute before switching to the radio. Lil Wayne is playing on the radio, I laugh and she asks what’s funny.
“You like Lil Wayne?” I ask, turning off the stereo.
“I love Lil Wayne, we saw him in concert. He’s so sexy.”
“Man, I feel like every girl loves him. I don’t get it.”
“I mean he’s actually hideous, but his voice. My friend’s joked that they could paper bag him.”
I rock forward in the seat. “I didn’t know girls knew that expression, let alone used it,” I say smiling.
“Yeah, it means to...”
“Oh yeah, no I’m aware of what it means.”
The three girls at the table ask me what my second choice would be. After a long conversation I realize and interrupt.
“Lauryn Hill. She is gorgeous. She is marriage material,” I say.
“You would marry her?”
“Well I mean I would if the girl wasn’t nuts. She’s gifted and she’s gorgeous. Watch the Doo Wop video, she is slim and beautiful, watch Everything is Everything.”
While I’m talking they all begin to shout their disagreements. One of them rolls paper into thin strips and throws them on the table.
“Jada Pinkitt Smith I could understand,” the lesbian at the table says.
“No, she’s not that good,” another girl says.
“Watch the videos,” I say. “She is gorgeous.”