On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Dooood, I'm from California

Odd thing happened to me during my afternoon stroll with Nigel. It started off normal enough, I guess. This scruffy guy saw Nigel and immediately squatted down to make that kissing noise that dogs find irresistible. What is it about that smooch, smooch, smooch that they love so much?

So, I'm happy to let people experience the joy of petting my dog. He really is incredibly cute, and I can't blame them. In fact, I worry that someone might steal him. Don't laugh. It happens. My aunt's dog was stolen.

So we're talking, and he starts telling me that his neighbor had a dog like Nigel, only it was clear he was confusing him with a daschund because he informed me that, "in the States we call them wiener dogs." I figured out he was a little off because then he asks me how you say "beagle" in Dutch.

"Oh, I have no idea."

"Oh, you're not Dutch?"

"Oh no, I'm American." Of course, we'd already been talking, and I was amazed he hadn't figured that out as he was clearly American too.

"Doood, I'm American too! Where are you from?" he says, talking a bit faster and with a few extra hand gestures than seemed necessary.

"I'm from Washington."

"No way, I'm from California."

And this goes on for awhile. Here's this older guy with sun-damaged skin rambling off his whole life story to a total stranger on the street corner. I could smell the alcohol on his breath, and I knew immediately what was up. I felt bad for the guy, and I think he was genuinely excited to talk to a fellow American. So, I kept talking to him. Nigel was clearly brightening his day. But he still manages to just slip in that pitch for my pocket change. This one goes down in the record books for smoothness. After talking to him for a good ten minutes, he goes:

"Oh oh yea, what was it that I was going to ask you? Oh yea, I was going to ask if you could give me some change."

I don't take money with me to walk the dog. I had nothing, and that's what I told him.

To which he said, "Oh yeah, forget about that." And then he just continued chatting. Thankfully Nigel finally decided he wanted to go. There's just no escaping the awkwardness of that request.

What's really weird is that I always attract bums. But not just any bums. I attract bums from California and Florida. And here I am living in the European country with probably the fewest Americans, in the city with the fewest Americans, in a neighborhood full or Turks and Surinamese folks, and I run into the American bum from California.




Anonymous Lanichan said...

Dood - you like totally never told me about your blog. But I can like forgive you since you were totally cool with that Cali dude you met on the street.

Luck has it that the kids are sleeping and that areseven told me about this blog when he visited last month so I thought I'd check in and say hey. Drop me a line sometime!

11:54 PM GMT+2


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