Observing Amsterdam 2015 – Part 1

The Flight – Observing People

Minutes to go. The airport. Infinite variety of dress and ways await departure in a line as long as Florida. Some have been standing 50 minutes now, as lobby seats, save for the one I’m resting in, are vacant. Why? Seats on the plane are all assigned. To what advantage do they seek? To get on first, then wait some more, get up and down again, forced into space crammed full of others getting on? Somebody needs the window seat and you are on the aisle. All this is far beyond my understanding. I will be among the last to board – observing. There’s a woman in the line with four inch high heels. Looks like torture, but she seems at ease with it.

300 of us take out places, belted in like sardines in a can. The flight attendants have begun the ritual explaining seat belts. There are life preservers under seats, were told. All easily available. “Do not inflate while still inside the cabin.” Right. We will remember that when all 300 of us try escaping from this tin can as it sinks.

We take off 30 minutes late, head up into the clouds at a surprising angle, and then level off into the clouds. Attendants now come down the aisle with lunch carts that will block off any chance of someone getting to the restrooms. Sandwiches they now distribute aren’t that bad. When they are done another cart comes down to clear the trash, and then another selling jewelry, perfumes, and expensive watches. Isn’t it enough we paid for seats?

The flight is less than two hours long. When we have docked the desperate passengers jump up to cram the aisles again, removing luggage from the overheads. Now they wait standing once again, another fifteen minutes spent in line to disembark so that they can be first to get to carousels and wait for luggage to appear some twenty minutes later.

We’ve arrived, and now a train to Central Station, Amsterdam. I pray it will not rain as forecasters predict.


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Dearie 7

Dearie Final Cover

“They’ve campused me,” she said. “They know. The Alpha Gam house-mother called Chicago and, of course, my sister told her I had not come home.”

“Damn.” I hadn’t thought of that. I was stunned speechless.

“I won’t be allowed to have dates until next semester. I can only go to class, and use the library. My free time will be spent shut up inside the Alpha Gamma house.” Her eyes were cast iron hard with anger, like an animal caught in a trap.

“My stomach felt like there were snakes inside it. “How much do they know? About Kentucky?” Crossing the state line . . . immoral purposes.

“They only know that we went somewhere . . . didn’t ask for details. Mom and Dad are going nuts, of course. I’ve got to run,” she said. “I can’t be late for class.”

“I’ll meet you at the library tomorrow.”

“Maybe. I don’t know . . . I’ll try. ” She hurried off.

The days that followed I felt empty as a drum and finally started skipping classes so that I could walk with her to hers, or spend some time across a table from her at the library.
One day she handed me a letter. “From my father.”


“Your folks must hate me.” I felt sick with shame, and guilt.

“I’m sure they do, Dave. But it’s only half your fault.” She closed a textbook she was reading. “Time to go.”

What was she really thinking?

*           *           *

I had escaped reprehend and punishment, been totally ignored by university authorities. But nothing could have made me suffer more. I felt heavy, leaden, sad . . . no, it was more than sad. It was like I was sick. ‘Heart sick’, it came to me . . . the term acquired a new and acute understanding. Three weeks later we were at the library again. “I’m going nuts, Dave.”

“Is there some way you could sneak outside the house?” I glanced around to see if anyone was close enough to hear.

“No way. But I could cut two classes in the afternoon.”

“Yes! That would work. They’d never know.”

*           *           *

We made love on a blanket hidden in the woods that next day, naked in summer sunlight, and the world seemed right side up at last. It didn’t stay that way. An Alpha Gamma sister in her math class ratted on her absence, and the library confirmed a miss when asked. A few days after the investigation, Linda was expelled, and packed her things to take the train home to Chicago. I drove Linda to the station and we waited on a platform bench in silence while I tried to think of words. She didn’t seem to need them. It was like she took our parting as a fact of life, bad luck. She didn’t seem to hold the tragedy against me, but what was she thinking? Linda seemed remote, almost aloof, but I was sick with grief.

“I’ll find a way for us to be together . . . somehow. I don’t want to lose you.”

“It’s okay. You’re going to be okay, Dave. You’ll find someone new to love, a couple months or so. You’ll see.”

“I won’t. I can’t. I love you, Linda. Don’t you know that?”

“Yes. I know.” She smiled. “Let’s wait and see how things turn out. We’ll keep in touch. I’ll write.”

The earth began to tremble as the train arrived, it’s iron wheels shrieking shrill metallic screeks between white spurts of steam.

Train Carbondale Color Good

She smiled and looked at me with eyes that seemed to ask how much longer they had to be there. It wasn’t fair. She’d lost what she had worked so hard to gain, and I’d escaped without a spoken word against me. Tears welled in my eyes. I could not hold them back.

“It’s going to be okay,” she said again. We kissed good-bye, no passion in it, just good-bye.
I hauled her suitcase up three metal steps, and watched her disappear into the coach, then waited long enough to see saw her wave down from a window seat.

Train’s whistle heaved a sonic sigh as it chuffed off, and I was left alone with a few passengers engaged with hugs from friends and lovers who had come to pick them up. I felt an emptiness that I had never known before.

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I’ll be back in 6 Days . . . I think.


Travel Rat

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The Middle East Explained

Originally posted on brucelouisdodson:

The Middle East Explained
Aubrey Bailey

Are you confused about U.S. involvement in the Middle East? Let me explain.
We support the Iraqi government in the fight against the Islamic State. We don’t like IS, but IS is supported by Saudi Arabia who we do like.

We don’t like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not IS which is also fighting against him.

We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government against IS. So some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends. Some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less. And all this was started by…

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Dearie 6

Dearie Final CoverDearie 6

A week passed by before we carried out my plan. That Friday evening Linda said good-bye to housemates as I stashed her suitcase in the trunk. We passed a friend on our way to the station and I slowed enough for her to wave good-bye. The friend waved back. So far, so good. I made sure no one saw us in the depot parking lot where she lay down on the back seat and I closed the door behind her, then drove out of town. A mile or two beyond the city limits I pulled off the road, into a filling station.


“This is crazy,” Linda got back into the front seat.

“We’ll be okay.”

“Umm. Transporting a minor across the state line, for immoral purposes. . . .”

“You’re not a minor, Linda you are major.”

“You could go to jail.” She lit a cigarette.

“You’re worth it.” Linda snuggled close. I put an arm around her soft, warm shoulders, feeling more than just a little paranoid myself, but at the same time thrilled with the excitement of our escapade. When we’d gone twenty miles I felt us both relax, an hour later we were crossing the Ohio River. We were in Kentucky.

Didn’t take us long to find a place to stay. “This looks okay.” I pointed to a yellow neon sign that flickered, Maple Leaf Motel – Ten Units – Vacancy. “It might look better if we both check in together.” Gravel crunched beneath the tires as I pulled in and parked beside the office. “You should ask to see the room before we pay. I think that’s what a wife would do.” I slid a dime-store wedding ring onto her finger.

Guy behind the check-in desk looked Linda over pretty good, but didn’t seem suspicious of our ages. “Guess you’re looking for a room.” He fumbled with a pair of reading glasses from his pocket.

“Could we have a look at one?”

“Yeah, sure.” He led us out and opened up the door to number seven for us. Linda went in first and looked around. The room was done in knotty pine and had a tiny writing desk, a couch, two easy chairs, a modest dresser—most importantly, a double bed. I noticed just a hint of pine-scent disinfectant. “Umm. This looks okay.” She made it seem as though we’d been though this a dozen times before.

“I’ll get our bags and sign us in.” I walked back to the office with the manager.

“Just staying for the night?” He pushed a registry across the counter, and a pen to sign in with.

“Two nights.” I used a phony name, Jack Miller, and thanked God he didn’t ask to see my driver’s license.

“Fourteen bucks.” I pulled a ten and four ones from me billfold and he handed me the key.

I carried our two suitcases into the room. I’d packed a change of clothes, a shaving kit, and bandolier of condoms for our two short days in paradise. We made love night and day . . . in bed and standing up, on chairs, and in the shower under water, on the couch . . . a living Kama Sutra. First time I had ever seen a fully naked woman.

“Damn, my tits are getting sore,” she wrapped a towel she’d thought to bring around her. “And some other body parts as well.”

“Mine too.” We used a lot of Vaseline and only left the room to eat, ignoring knowing smirks on faces of the cook and waitress at the Maple Leaf’s small dining room. We drove back on Sunday evening, faces flushed with glutted satisfaction and resurfaced paranoia as we reached the railroad depot where we kissed goodbye and waited for a cab to pick her up. I drove back to my dorm alone and happy, sleepy, saturated with erotic memories.

*           *            *

I didn’t see her for the next three days. I knew that she was cramming for a test, but was a bit surprised I didn’t run into her somewhere, between classes or the library. I tried to call her, but the phone at Alpha Gam Sorority was always busy. It was never easy to get through. She saw me first, outside Old Main on campus, Thursday. I could tell before she spoke that all was less than well.

Next Installment – Wednesday

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Observing Sweden – Driver’s Test

Still flogging my way through the practice driver’s license test.
More elk questions:

You are driving at 90 km/h. Suddenly an elk runs out 45 meters in front of the car and you brake heavily. What speed will you have when you collide with the elk?

Wouldn’t it be better to just go around the elk?


ELK Speed

The math is killing me!

What is true about wild animals?

FlocksI’ve never seen a flock of elk, but looking forward it.

Which of these options is the most appropriate way to turn in this intersection?
This is one of my favorites. Obviously not ‘C’, but A or B? What’s your best guess? One would think left or right, but not that easy.

□ According to picture A
□ According to picture B
□ According to picture C

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Dearie 5

Dearie Final CoverDearie 5

I put my arm around her and we kissed again. “I love you. I knew that when I first saw you, coming down the stairs, when I was all tied up. I’m still tied up.”

“I don’t believe in love at first sight. Lots of guys have tried that line on me.”

“I didn’t.”

“You just did. After the coital fact, I must admit. Who knows how long romance will last? A month? A year?”

“Forever?” I tried hard to think of words that might convince her of my feelings, but was at a loss. What did she feel for me?

“Dave, I don’t want to fall in love—with anyone.” She pulled away.

My heart sank like a rock dropped down a well.

“I’m just not ready, and I sure as hell don’t want to end up as some kind of frumpy housewife, like my mother.”

“I’m not asking you to marry me, just be my girl . . . go steady with me—see how things work out. What can you lose?”

“I guess there’s not much left to lose.” She smirked. “I guess it had to happen sometime.”

“Let me prove my feelings for you.”

“Umm. I’d better go.”

I got out and opened the door for her, then walked her to the porch of Alpha Gamma House. We kissed good-night with other couples locked in similar embrace. I knew that some were having sex. Virginity was a prerequisite to marriage, but most men were willing to believe whatever they were told. A birth control pill, Envoid, had become available to married women – by prescription only. Times were changing.

“Can we get together Monday?” Sunday seemed too soon. The other coeds had begun file inside. “When can I see you?”

“I don’t know, Dave. Call me. I need time to think.”

PADUKAHThe Road to Perdition

Whatever issues Linda had about us as a couple were resolved, or put aside, and time passed blissfully for both of us. She had stopped going out with anyone but me, but no commitments had been made. I was afraid to ask. One night beneath a sickle moon she whispered in my ear, “I love you.” An emotional amalgam, love and sex, transported me to a euphoric high.
I saw her every day on campus, between classes, and on wonderfully erotic interludes on country roads, both night and day. The most amazing thing was, she loved sex as much as me. We couldn’t get enough. One night in passionate embrace she fainted in the midst of an astounding orgasm. I thought she’d died—been fucked to death. I panicked, then I kissed her, blew my breath into her mouth and felt her lungs inflate like paper bags. Her eyelids fluttered open with returning consciousness. She wanted more, and I had more to give.

As time went on I longed increasingly to have her in a more permissive atmosphere than in the confines of my car. “We ought to rent a motel room some night,” more space to move around . . . uninterrupted hours.”

A single eyebrow raised. “Umm. I don’t think so.” Linda was a good deal wiser, more mature than me by light years. “If somebody saw us, or your car, around a motel somewhere, I could get expelled.”

I didn’t push the matter, but it never left my mind and I conceived a plan, revealed to her a few days later. “We could tell your sisters you were going home, back to Chicago for a weekend.”

“I don’t know . . . if they found out. . . .”

“It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve gone back.” I took a schedule from my pocket. “There’s a train that leaves at 7:30 Friday evenings and another coming back 10:30 Sunday nights. You could pack up your things and I’d stop by to take you to the station. We’d make sure somebody saw us leaving town, and on the way back you could lay down on the back seat. It would look like I was driving by myself. We can go out of state – Kentucky. It’s not far. Paducah’s only sixty miles away, and on the way home I could drop you at the station. You could take a cab from there to Alpha Gamma house.”

“What if somebody noticed you were also gone that weekend?”

“Who would notice? If they did, I’d tell them I went home, or somewhere with my roommate. That sounds logical, if you were out of town.”

She thought about it for a while, then finally agreed . . . reluctantly.

Next Installment Tuesday. I will be in Amsterdam next Wednesday.


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