Saturday, September 19, 2009

My glamorous European lifestyle

Everyone thinks it's so "GLAMOROUS" to live in Yerp, but I've got news for you: it sucks.

People in N. America seem to think that everyone here is swathed in Italian silks, air-kissing each other at wrought-iron cafe tables. In reality, I spend most of my time just wishing that I could enjoy life instead of getting bogged down in all the day-to-day shit. I worry so much about money that it is gewoon niet normaal. I walk around town pining for all the gorgeous things in boutique windows while simultaneously wondering who the fuck shops there. I can barely get through the month with enough groceries (and we - theoretically - make "good money"). Too many taxes. All our money gets chewed up in BTW and VAT and never comes back (unlike when you return to the US and get a VAT-refund).

Who is buying all the shit this country has to sell? No one has any fucking money. Of course, we aren't up to our eyeballs in consumer debt, either. The government won't even let us spend our OWN money, let alone have a decent line of credit.

Someone once asked me if we didn't just LOVE that the canals are so lovely lit up at night? Yeah, great. The last time my partner and I got to enjoy them was the winter our oldest was born, when we made freezing, late-night/early-morning forced marches all over the city at his colicky command. Precious moments. We've been at the kids' beck and call ever since. If we ever did get some time alone, without the kids, and complete silence, we would just jump directly into bed together...and SLEEP. And sleeping feels pretty much the same in any country.

Oh, but the tiny, overpriced homes are just so CHARMING! I wish we could stay! Wouldn't you just LOVE to live here, darling? Don't do it, you stupid, stupid tourist. Go home and eat yourself senseless at a reasonably-priced restaurant with the change you find in the seats of your gigantic, gas-guzzling SUV.

That's why Europeans are so thin! Eating well here costs MONEY. We don't have it. In the US you can stuff yourself catatonic at steakhouses and TexMex restaurants at every major intersection. God, I'm hungry. But I'm thin.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

And somehow *I'M* the stupid one

A kid comes in the shop and I ask for his i.d. No problem. He hands it over. His name is Yorick. Yorick, like Hamlet's jester.

So I say "Alas! I knew him." He stares at me. I stare back. Silence.

Now there are more customers looking at me, so I say unto them, "Hamlet." Uncomfortable silence now. This is getting embarrassing. I'll fix this. "You know, Shakespeare." Nothing. Not even a glimmer of recognition. You would think that in the 18-20 years this Yorick has spent on the planet, he would have ONCE run across SOMEONE who would have said "Hey, isn't that the name of some kind of character somewhere?" Does this kid think that he is the first Yorick in the world? Is he pompous enough to think that the name was invented for him? His parents were so cool that they said, "Hey, let's make up a really fucked-up name for our kid. No one else shall have it! We shall call him YORICK." (Like Moxie Crimefighter, the poor kid.)

I asked D, and he had never heard of anyone with the name, so I know it's not a typical Dutch name. It wasn't even spelled with a J, like most Y-ish names are here. Jan, Jarno, Jasper - all sound like they start with a "Y." So, at one point or another, someone must have said to him "Joh, that is a unique name. Where does it come from?" I guess he just takes another haul on his joint and goes "I dunno."

If your name were Cassandra, don't you think at the very least that you'd have heard that a long, long time ago someone in Greek mythology was called Cassandra? I think I'd know the whole story.

So I asked D wtf. He says, "Well, not everyone is as well-read as you are." So that means I'm smart, and yet the Dutch still make me feel like the stupidest person in the room. Well, I guess I am for trying to be funny with these cheese heads. Neem mij niet kwalijk.