Now, don’t push. Everyone will get to see everything. That’s it. OK, sex and drugs to the left. Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh straight ahead. And the Anne Frank House to the right. What’s your pleasure? Of course it’s sex and drugs. I know, I know, it wasn’t a fair test. Duh.
Let’s just follow these young men and women as they pour out of the central train station in Amsterdam. Be careful there on the tram tracks. Yikes, the bikes have the right of way. Look out, here comes a tram. Lord, help us.
Just go straight up to Dam Square. Over there to the right is the main building of Amsterdam’s government. You’re not interested? OK, how about that carnival and wax museum? Wow, that’s a pretty high ride. Where are the fried brownies you always get at the State Fair? I’m afraid they don’t have them. Now, I can get you a brownie with a little marijuana flavoring.
OK, let’s veer to the left, down the canal into the Red Light District. Mmmm… you smell the marijuana? Of course. Yes, I know they are called coffeeshops. No, they don’t sell coffee. Yes, that is a very large condom. No, you can’t take a picture.
See all the signs for “no pictures”? Rumor has it that the prostitutes will chase you down and smash your camera. And at the sex toy shops? They will yell and bang the counter and almost get violent. You don’t want that. NO PICTURES please. It’s the law.
OK, do you see these women in bikinis behind the large glass windows? Yes, all down those alleyways and across the canals. The red lights turned on mean they’re in business. A curtain closed? It means they’re working.
Let’s walk down this narrow alley. See them perched on their stools or standing next to the full-length window? Yes, they will make eye contact, or rub a provocative tattoo against the window, or wink suggestively. Look, over there is the slow moistening of a lip. This isn’t a mystery. They love sex. They love to have sex with strangers. They particularly want to have sex with you. From Iowa. Their dream come true. And, yes, they are working their way through college. Yes, this is their vocational choice. No, there is no issue concerning human trafficking. Trust me.
Just enjoy yourself.
There goes a nice young man through a door. Wow, that curtain closed quickly. Did you hear the swoosh as the metal rings slid along the rod? Look, all his buddies are waiting outside. They’re here on behalf of their friend. I’m sure they hope it develops into a great relationship. Long term. Let’s move to the next window. Yes, that one four feet further down. Or that window four feet further after that. Or the window four feet after that. My goodness, here’s a whole house of windows.
But look again. That woman over there in the window with that not-very-warm-looking bikini? She’s on her phone texting. Yes, and there’s another woman on the phone in that window. Talking. Talking. Talking. And there’s someone checking her emails. Perhaps looking to see who has friended her while she was busy for the last 15 minutes. My goodness, everyone is on his or her smart phone tonight.
You know, my friends, smart phones are a wonderful way to keep in contact with your mom and dad and boyfriends and girlfriends, check on sales at the grocery store, read Tolstoy or romance novels, and, frankly, a great way to keep an eye on your kids. Smart phones are a window to the world.
Of course, as with all windows, you can look in or you can look out.
Oh, there’s another customer. CV
Joe Weeg spent 31 years bumping around this town as a prosecutor for the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Now retired, his wife is assisting in the prosecution of war criminals in the Netherlands for several months. He’s along for the ride and writes about being an Iowan in Europe on his blog at www.joesneighborhood.com. Joe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.