top of page

An Autist in Amsterdam

Editor's Note: Flappr cannot confirm the veracity, nor do we condone, the contents of the following post. The spelling errors, grammatical choices, and general incoherence used by the author are intentional, we think. The views and actions of the author are his own and are not representative of Flappr, it's proprietor or any other members of the Flappr blogging community. It's funny though.

I'm in Amsterdam. I'm not worried. It's fun and I'm stranded.

Its a year after 9/11 and I've flown without ID before though that time they weren't happy I insisted on a free x-ray. My rantings about how their machines would kill my Nokia brick phone fell on deaf ears but 2002 was a weird time. I'm told they don't like that now. I should be on my best behavior.

Still not worried. I've been told I need to learn how to do that more often. Worry. Its on my bucket list I guess.

We wake up late in a single night rental place. Small unit, all white, one bed. Heater that makes noise and tiny windows over tiny balconies you can open to see the streets. Or it was the wood boat on the canal. Cant remember which. Whoever manages the unit comes in to wake us. Our flight is in an hour and we scramble to get our shit together and out the door. I'm not worried.

We're on the train and hopefully making our flight. Mishaps are not uncommon to us on this trip. Confidence is as high as are we. The ounce of hashhish we had decided to purchase as a last hurrah was still alive and burning and we were not letting it go to waste. We aren't discussing my lost passport.

I privately contend the definition of 'lost'. Misplaced or stolen. Probably from our night on the shady wooden boat on the canal. Maybe lifted when we were mocking the fat prostitutes with c section scars in the dodgy part of the Red Light District. Who knows. Still. I'm not worried.

The train lets us off very near the airport. Amsterdam is a splendid mix of beauty and efficiency. Inside we approach the international security check. Security checks are very new. No one among us worries about being chastised.

The question of the Hookah arises. Hash is legal. We plan to take it outside and finish smoking it before flying of course. We just want to check our bags first. Objections are made to this plan. Bags are searched. My Turkish cigarettes are taken and my citizenship is questioned. I have no passport.

I'm swiftly educated that unlike American domestic flights you cannot verbally prove your identity and be on your way. New era. I blame xxxxxx xxxx. I wont be changing their minds anytime soon. I'm on a list right now anyways. Visiting a childhood friend turned international criminal does that. I don't recommend stealing diamonds. So I need a passport.

I'm at the train station again. By the airport. I need to get back to the city. And I need a passport. I have have a shoulder bag with some changes of under clothes. Toothbrush. Essentials. Nothing more. The rest is on a plane with my friends. Back home. My ATM card disappeared with my passport. I need money.

I'm on the platform. Asking for change. People seem nice. I'm embarrassed but no one seems to look at me like I expected. No disdain. Granted not many people look at me. But those who do don't give the look. The I'm walking past someone shooting up on the stairs of Bern at 2am look. I've been on those stairs and given that look. I'm not as embarrassed as I could be. Some lookers gave me change. Few coins here and there. It adds up.

A woman approaches me. Very gentle. Older. Grey hair. Kind. She holds out a note. I tell her I only need a few more coins to make my goal. I had asked her for money first and I don't want to impose. She's kind. She holds the note out. Insistent. I resist. You'll need it, she says. I take it. I can call home and have 5$ left. I call home and relay my situation to the answering machine.

I'm on the train into the city again. I'm hoping I can call home again later and maybe get a Western Union. I have $4.86 but in Euros. Not good at exchange rates. Not sure what that means. I can work with it.

I'm confident. My plan is go to the casino. Its a small one that only does plinko and slot machine games. But it has a roulette table. Mechanical roulette table. The table we had stared at months ago. Stoned as we could be. Figuring out the pattern. It was our new ATM. I can use that.

I'm at the table. My money is all in. $4.86. My cigarette is burned to the butt but un-ashed and dangling from my lips. I learned that two months ago in a Croatian deli watching a man hammer away at slot machine buttons. That's my superstition today.

The wheel spits the ball into rotation. Its enclosed. A plastic dome covers the wheel. The wheel spins interminably. They've put a tiny hole on the side for the ball to shoot out of. It never changes. The wheel spins interminably. There is a pattern. I am not worried.

The touchpad blinks and flashes. I won again. The interminable wheel didn't lie and I have won enough. $300 will do. More could raise suspicion. I do this regularly.

I find a hotel. Hostel really but not the bunkbed type. I make friends. I'm good at that to be honest. We had a Chechnyan gangster incident once. I liked them. Turns out you can find weed everywhere. And friends that know a dive bar to haunt. You can find that anywhere as well.

My calls home aren't answered. Still not worried. I don't really worry about anything. Maybe that's a flaw. Who cares. I can just got to the Embassy tomorrow. I need a passport.

Its tomorrow. A man dressed like a soldier walks up to me. Soldier-lite I suppose. Embassy guy with a gun and a uniform. He wants to know my citizenship. I'm American. I'm told Americans don't wait in line at embassies. I don't wait in line. I leave with an appointment for tomorrow.

I'm leaving the bar I hang out at. Its my new friends haunt. It's next door to the pot shop I sleep in now. They have a couple cots they rent to people for cheap that are willing to do a little labor. I roll a few dozen joints for them to sell and do chores or cook breakfast. But I'm leaving the bar right now. We're tipsy. Its my passport appointment.

I'm outside the Embassy Gates again. There is no line. My Appointment is after normal hours. Go America. I press the button. Hello. I have an appointment. We exchange names. The gate dwarfs me. Curved spikes bend outward over iron grids. The small door beneath them clicks.

The garden is wonderful. The rhododendrons are massive. I do not see tulips. Odd. Its Holland. Regardless it is beautiful. It is confined. I am guided by gravel and hedges. Flowers placed out of reach attend the Embassy. I am at the door now.

I ring the bell. No answer. The speaker is lifeless. I cant tell if anyone can even hear it. Knocking doesn't work. I can see through the small window slit. Cheap blast glass from the 80s. Chicken wire inside it. I cant see anyone.

I take my shoe off. I throw it at the camera above me. Above the door with the chicken-wire window in the courtyard. It takes a couple throws. I hit the camera. The speaker outside the door speaks. Who are you. I have an Appointment. Who. Ambassador. Name? XXXXX. I'll buzz you in.

The door lets me in. It closes. Heavy sound. CLUNK. I'm in a hallway. Half a hallway. Both ends have security doors. One wall exposes the security office. Its behind plexiglass. Buttons. Screens. And nobody.

I've spent too long waiting for someone to come. I don't remember how long. I don't care. There is a slot for mail. Near the door to the security office. Just opposite the Embassy entrance. I am bold and young so I do as I feel.

Never lived in a house that could lock me out. Always a way in.

The mail slot opens easily for me and my arm fits through the slot. I reach through. I can reach the inside door knob. I am inside the security office now. I am not concerned about anything. I don't fear being caught. This feels natural.

The doors are locked from the outside. Each has a button. They only unlock the doors when pressed. I've tried. I'm inside the office still. I can use a chair to prop this door open. That works. Now the other door. I search my pockets. I find a bag of hashish. Moroccan. Dense. Black like tar. Good smoke. Dense will help. They have tape in the office. The button buzzes when I tape the ball to it. Problem solved.

I've propped open the doors and reclaimed my ball of hashish. Unabated, given the circumstance, I wander the halls wondering how one finds an appointment with an ambassador who wont see you. The paintings are amazing. I'm wishing I had eaten the same mushrooms I had at the Van Gogh museum. That would make things real weird.

Guns are being pointed at me. Who are you. How did you get in here. Show us your hands. Get on the ground. I'm unworried. This makes sense. The marble floor is cold. And beautiful. And old. I wonder who built this. And when. The pattern reminds me of Old World mosaics. Beautiful.

I'm in a leather chair. Comfy. The room feels warming despite the conditioned air. It even smells nice. Its a room with books. And lacquered wood. And an ambassador. We talk for a bit. I cant tell if he knows I've just lied for the last 10 minutes but I leave with promises of a passport if i come back in a couple days.

I'm in the security hallway. The uniform with the gun is behind the glass now. He's asking me about the bag he's holding. Its a small bag. It has hashish in it. I regret that. Now ill have to buy more. I shrug. How could I be in there? That's the security room. He agrees but I don't think he is a true believer. The door buzzes.

The sun is still warm when I walk into the garden. The gate has lost its towering magic and opens easily. I step beyond its temporary shadow and remember a park past the canal districts where swans float on a stream under tree canopies. That seems like a good place to be.

I'm in Amsterdam. I'm not worried. It's fun and I'm stranded.


bottom of page