About thirty feet away to my right is the big window opening onto the Schiphol Airport runway, which in the receding hours of the day is being misted upon. The pretty view is being ignored by a man, who, too old to retain full Partybr0 licensing and rights and yet still with the requisite orange Nike Miami Dolphins tee, adjacent phalanx of downed Heinekens, and sunglasses suspended, hazardously, above a confusingly co-orange forehead, to suggest his days of wholly exalted Partybr0dom aren’t, in his mind at least, too far gone, is giving a tentative middle finger, for seconds and seconds, to the woman sitting two seats away. It is amazing how long he continues with this uncertain display of bird-flipping, his hand wavering under the weight of that lofty peaking digit. His whole mouth is screwed up in concentration, and whenever his arm begins to give way, it appears to cost him a great deal of willpower and mental discipline to vault it back to its onetime grandeur. His tongue is actually poking out of his mouth a little. The woman, for her part, appears cool, totally unfazed, like this happens to her all the time—in fact she radiates un-self-conscious confidence like a poised sage, a great teacher, a conductor even, intuitively calling forth strengths unknown and unimagined from her raw students. She is the middle finger whisperer; gentle, harsh and demanding, the consummate auteur, she expects nothing less than greatness from her pupil. Sweating a little now, stretching the lead phalange out, out, an almost unbelievably erect spur from the ball of his taut fist, the man is present as never before in his existence, the ghost of a thin triumphant smile floating from his eyes to his lips to hers. Shivering, he drops the hand. They collect their bags, leave the Heinekens. They exit together.

I am ready to go home. This is my last post from Amsterdam; tonight, assuming we don’t crashland in a geothermal vent or something, I’ll arrive in Reykjavik, and will have the day largely to myself tomorrow to explore the scenic bounty of Iceland—I mean the cliffs and vales—before another flight deposits me in Portland. In there somewhere I’ll probably do one last Blogoblag and be done, forever, with the Internet. Until then, with the inevitable self-reflection of a Final Post slowly gathering in the back of my head, I’ll say buhbye, friendly readers, and see you in yet another time zone.

Vaarwell, Amsterdam was last modified: July 14th, 2015 by Miles Hewitt