Amsterdam: We’re made of days
I’ve been to Amsterdam.
I don’t think I ever told you that.
Maybe it was because during my stay I smoked more weed than most reggae bands.
I also was a frequent visitor to the Red Light District. For those of you who are not familiar with what goes on in the Red Light District, it’s just a bunch of narrow streets where girls stand in the window and offer themselves up to passersby. All in the glow of a red light that says they’re ‘open.’
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the hot cheerleader from your high school, she’s probably standing in a window in Amsterdam. At the time I couldn’t believe that these beautiful girls were prostitutes. I’d been raised to believe that prostitutes were toothless hags riddled with every known disease. Not these girls.
So pretty. Yes, pretty.
And with the exchange rate at the time, I could sleep with one of them for a fraction of the cost of taking an American girl out to dinner. The whole experience was surreal.
Looking back, it was the best sex of my life.
“How could that be?!” I hear you saying to yourself. “You obviously haven’t been in love before.”
I have been in love… and let me tell you, it didn’t hold a candle to having sex with these girls. At that point in my life.
I was young and dumb and naïve and just seeing one of these perfect creatures undress in front of me was wonderful. I was too inexperienced to ask for anything crazy, I was just happy to be there.
Between sitting at pot bars getting high and admiring naked girls I went to museums. You can’t believe how many amazing museums are in Amsterdam.
Both Van Gogh and Rembrandt have entire museums there. Stoned off my ass I had the privilege of standing in front of their Sunflowers, portraits and landscapes, so close I could see every brush stroke.
The Rijksmuseum had both of these artist’s work as well as many others. Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals to name just a couple, all there for anyone to bask in. And bask I did. In the way only somebody who knows nothing about art can bask.
Just as I was hopping from blonde to redhead, I was bouncing between the classics and the new stuff.
Both the Street Art Museum and the Stedelijk, which houses works from the likes of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollack, offered up a dizzying collection of contemporary art.
I have frequented the Met in New York City and stood in front of Picasso’s The Old Guitarist in the Art Institute of Chicago, but I have never been more moved by art than my visits to Amsterdam.
Maybe it was the weed.
I realize that I felt the same about the girls so let me end this by explaining why that might be.
On the last night of my last visit I went back to the Red Light District, paints and easel in hand, and asked to paint the prettiest girl that I had ever been (or would ever be) with.
And she agreed.
I had never tried to paint before and it was obvious nobody had ever asked to paint her portrait… but we muddled through. I was so stoned, so filled with awe of the girl sitting before me, so moved by the echoes of the artists that had lived there, so happy.
So fucking happy.
When I was done I asked her what I should name it. English wasn’t her first language, or fifth, and she had no idea what I was asking her so she just smiled and said “We’re made of days.”
It was perfect.