a late night ride in the rain

Landed in Amsterdam to a blustery day and a welcome nap in W&B’s guest room with the cat before headed out to the Jordaan for a beer at Cafe t’Smalle. Then walked westward.

Dinner at Pendergast was super (especially as I’d not eaten since early morning). A Friday night, fully booked— they had to turn away walk-ins. Tineke and I sat at the bar and caught up, shared food. Left empty plates then complained of being too full.

I stayed past the last tram, so Wouter loaned me his bike and he rode on the back of Brandon’s. I followed behind them in the drizzle, tried to memorize them, their unerring fluidity. Wouter looked so at ease, perched cross-legged and leaning against Brandon’s backpack, whistling some tune. (He wasn’t slouching as much as in the drawing.)

It’s the sort of thing we do as children but are scolded for it, so lose it growing up. “It’s too dangerous!” But in the Netherlands, it’s commonplace. The person driving gets some momentum, then the person riding jumps on the back. In a cycling culture, a bike becomes an extension of the body— but also there’s an evident trust between them.

I shouted into the wind. “You look so relaxed!” Through the rain, “I am relaxed!” and continued whistling.

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