Posts Tagged ‘ Rotterdam ’

Flip flop folly

So in my previous post I stated that I have not done much of interest to remember in the last few years, that’s not actually true. I did travel across Europe by bike and the following story is one I wrote for someone about an incident that happened along the way. Might as well pop it up here.

So during a trip across Europe, I stopped in Rotterdam for a few days rest because the old legs were starting to complain louder than normal by refusing to work when I tried to cycle. Anyway… I camped in this nice little park area right in the middle of the city that’s hemmed in by large trees. You pay a few euro and you get to pitch your tent and use the facilities, All good and useful, lovely… So on the second day of rest I decided it was time to stock up on food and booze because the nights are quiet in the park and some whiskey would make things a little more interesting.

I headed out having absolutely no idea where I was going, the city was unfamiliar and I only realized that I had left the map behind me twenty minutes into walking around the city, street after street, so I wasn’t going back. I also stupidly wore the flip flops I used to let my feet breathe at the camp site. Long distance flip flopping, I do not recommend it, It’s absolute murder on endless paved path… But the real problem with the flip flops came about forty minutes into the ordeal, still wandering under the baking sun trying to find the shopping mall I stepped on a rather large pile of dog shit.

Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be so bad, right? You scrape it off on the side of the pavement and move on with perhaps a mild curse, but something magical had happened… To this day I am still not sure how… But as I lifted my flip flopped foot from the dog shit… A large piece somehow launched into the air and landed right under the skin of my foot inside the flip flop, by the time I had processed what had happened it was too late, my foot was back down upon the pavement… Squish. I stopped dead.

I don’t know how long I stood there, as long as I could get away with it until passers by noticed this strange statue of a man grimacing in place, not long. I could feel it, It was against my foot, fucking dog shit, crushed… Against my foot. Disaster. I now faced a terrible dilemma… Either I turn back now after forty minutes of wandering to clean my foot off, because it was an absolutely disgusting sensation to endure even for a second, Or… I push on. I don’t know why I did it, but I decided to keep going and get my shopping done. I pretended like it wasn’t there, even though each step squished the shit more tightly against my skin…  I had to act normal, no one must know.

You’ll forgive me for being graphic with this, I have to get across just how nasty it felt. With a renewed sense of focus and urgency I found the Mall after another twenty minutes of wandering, at this point I could smell it even as I walked, the heat of midday and my foot just cooked the stuff. I walked faster and faster to escape the smell but it caught me all the same. Finally after much speed walking in my shitty flip flops I’m at the food store.

It was really busy. My heart sank… Why did I do this? Why God? Doubts gnawed my resolve. But I couldn’t stop now, If I stayed still for more than a few seconds the game was up.. People would figure it out. I’m the one that smells like shit. So I grabbed a basket and moved with surgical precision. I had my mental checkl ist firing off in my mind as I walked. Bread roll, cheese, meat, grapes, apples, bananas, cakes, assorted chocolate bars and of course… Don’t forget the all important whiskey, I’ll need it after this.

I zoomed around the entire store before I picked up a single item, recon. I had to know where everything was because if I stopped to figure something out I was lost, it was crowded and the people behind me were most likely looking for the culprit, they could smell shit all right, but they couldn’t pin it on me If I kept moving, guilt followed closely at my heels. With a rough idea I started grabbing everything I needed, Bread, meats and fruit.. I got nearly all of it. But it was time to go… My foot was actually sliding against the flip flop at this point, my skin greased with shit… I was starting to visibly walk funny, not good. Time for the biggest test of all… The Checkout.

I found the least busy one, there were still three people ahead of me and that meant standing still, and that meant doom… I was sweating badly now, not just from the heat.. But because I knew the people in line with me could smell the shit. A little boy with his mother said something in Dutch behind me, It could have been anything since I don’t know the language, but I’m fairly certain it was something like “Mom, why does it smell like poo poo”? Then it happened, an older gentleman in front of me turning with this disgusted expression, waving a hand across his nose and pointing at me at the same time.

“Me!?”

He looked down at my shorts, so did the woman behind the till, they think I shat myself, they think I am some kind of pant shitter. I had been with this lie for so long now, invested so much into it, that I wasn’t going to give it up. All I could do was shake my head and shrug.. I don’t know his damn language. A security guard standing along the aisles came over and said something dutch and stern to me after a brief discussion with the lady at the till. My mouth flopped and I jerked out a few words while pointing at the checkout. I am not going without my items. Not after everything… Please, you don’t know what I have been through you Dutch bastards. They think I’m a vagrant and perhaps I am, but this ordeal has to mean something… So I refused to budge until she scanned my items and I paid… Walking out shame faced, flanked by watching faces with the security guard who kept talking to me in Dutch even though I clearly did not have a clue what he was saying… So I just nodded and carried my shame… Along with my shopping.

After another near hour of walking back under the hot sun I made it to the park… Slipping and sliding on my flip flop the whole way. Finally this nightmare can end though, I made a beeline straight into the fucking showers because this shit has got to go. The sole of my foot was pure brown, I scrubbed it for all I was worth, again and again and again until my foot was as new. So smelling fresh as a daisy I walked back to my tent with the shopping bags in my bare feet, the flip flops were thrown in the bin along with the shame. I unpacked everything, Bread, cheese, meat… The lot, but I had forgotten the whiskey. I almost cried.