After a couple of cruel false starts, it seems summer has finally arrived in Amsterdam. To celebrate, we decided to meet up in our local backyard, the Westerpark, with a few friends and have a BBQ. One of the things I love the most about Amsterdam is that everyone uses their nearest park as a communal backyard. If it’s sunny and warm, it feels like 70% of the neighbourhood has dragged their blankets, picnic baskets, BBQs and tents to laze about for hours and hours. That’s what we did last night.
The thing is, there’s always a group of, let’s call them ‘transients’, that loiter in groups, necking back their EUR 00.19 tall cans of EuroShopper pilsner. They usually hang out on the periphery of the big green grassy bit on a bench at the footpath, when they get bored (or need a smoke, food, money, etc), they’ll wobble and lurch through the cloisters of picnickers waiting for someone to make eye-contact. As one very unwashed and uniformly grimy specimen came dangerously close to our ‘backyard’, we all averted our eyes while making sure he didn’t get too close. He paused about 2 metres away and kinda swayed in the same spot for about 5 minutes or so before collapsing on the grass, face up, and passing out cold. He can’t be much of a nuisance if he’s not awake, we thought, and just ignored him and carried on chargrilling our various meats of choice that evening.
I guess…about 20 minutes later, Ben walked by Grimy and noticed he was having a particularly good time laying down…with his hands working furiously in his pants and a giant grin on his face.
YES, he is.
Oh my god, he’s jerking off!
Look at his face! GROSS!
We all gawked in disbelief, and I’m sure the male faction among us admired his boldness and freedom. But then he started undoing his belt and opening his pants and I was quite sure that I did NOT want to see his boldness. Finally, Liz and I piped up and shouted at him to bugger off and like waking from the most marvelous dream, ol’ Grimy realized where he was and stumbled to his feet.
Feeling some sort of bond with our group, he then stumbled around our little circle, laughing hysterically like we’d all just shared in some intimate joke (in a gross way, that’s kind of exactly what it was), mumbling interjections into our conversation and wobbling dangerously close to the BBQ. He asked Ben for a smoke, pointing at the pack of Lucky Strikes on the blue and white polka-dotted blanket. Ben, being such a polite chap, agreed and let Grimy pick up the pack before shouting “NO, wait…actually, I’ll do it!” and snatching the pack away, and, like it was a hot coal in his hand, flicked it to Colin and said “Colin, can you get a cigarette out?”.
Being the ever-so-obliging nice guy extraordinaire that Colin his, he pulled out a smoke and handed it to Grimy. Ben’s eyes lit up in horror as he witnessed the split-second contact of Colin’s fingers with Grimy’s hand.
Which hand was he using?
SHIT. These nice guys just gave Grimy an IN to the circle, something must be done. The bitch had to come out.
“Hey, Buddy, you gotta leave…we’re trying to have a nice birthday party here, you know?”
“Uh, yeah, she’s right…so, see ya later”
It actually was Ben’s birthday the next day, so we started mumble-singing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ in hopes that he’d go.
Grimy got the message and slowly shuffled off.