Monday 14 November 2016

aan de amsterdamse grachten

After a week like the last one, H and I needed to redeem a gift and spend the weekend in Amsterdam.
Even if the rhetoric were to cool down and the candidate were to conduct himself in a more becoming manner, for the partisans in the US that elevated the forty-fifth presumptive to high-office, that pot has already been stirred. Even if genuinely capable of healing the polar divide of the American people and its broader mission that validates nationalistic leanings, those who put him in office are not wanting to see a conciliatory, contrite candidate who might retract some of the more outrageous hyperbole. There will be consequences for each campaign promise not lived up to—and sooner rather than later.  Maybe the city’s reputation as Pinocchio’s Island of the Donkey Boys is not undeserved as it’s always prepared and equipped for a good time—and not necessarily one tinged with regret and near-misses, and I wonder if it’s not some apt metonym for the hard repelling to the right.
It’s a living community obviously but limned with the extremes of revelry and reflection—in the history, the museums whose curation is an ancient one, and its once pinnacled past as the richest spot on Earth due to mercantilism and a service economy, whose tulip-based stock exchange is a cautionary-tale. I wonder what it’s like for the denizens to cope in that sort of environment. I’d imagine that it would be pretty fun to switch—if it weren’t for the crush of tourists and vested interest to make the Amsterdam the backdrop of their expectations, and I’m sure that individuals with a certain threshold gravitate to such places on a more permanent basis as well. Amsterdam is no political surrogate so no matter and it was a treat exploring the alleyways and canals and watching the juxtaposition and wondering how those forces of Nature that drove different proclivities had the wind knocked out of their sails just here at that moment—just short of cancelling on another out.
The XXX that’s featured prominently all over the city—on its banners and emblems, is not the origin of an explicit rating or highly potent liquor though that might seem appropriate but three crosses (saltires) of Andrew the Apostle—patron of fishermen who was crucified, tortuously tethered on the more common x-shaped construction—but according to legend represents the triple threat to the city of fire, flood and pestilence and are probably of a mutable character, given the drift of the times.