Shit happens here too.
It’s not all wine and roses.
I was riding my bike over the bridge that crosses the Amstel river on one of those beautifully cold, wet, rainy days. You know, one of those wonderfully nasty days when the wind is so strong its blowing you backward and the rain is coming at you sideways so there is absolutely no place you can hide except maybe say…hell. This kind of weather even the most hardened Dutchie can tell you is certainly not for the faint of heart. But I made peace my with the weather a long time ago as it is part of the deal for living in Amsterdam. So onward I rode backwards!!
Suddenly a motor scooter came speeding by from a side street heading straight towards me. I knew that in this rain it was going to be difficult to avoid. I only had a split second to react.
So I dumped my bike and
took a spill right at the end of the bridge. I was the lucky one. I was ok.The guy riding in back of me was not. From my vantage point on the ground I watched the scooter careen head on into the elderly man resulting in a obscenely loud crash.
I jumped up and quickly rushed over to the scene of the accident. The driver on the scooter began to get up as well and she seemed to be alright. However, the older gent was laid out like a rag doll in the rain. He laid there motionless on the bridge, blood gushing from his forehead.
The scooter-girl and I began administering aid to the man, I took off my
scarf, wiped away the blood and pressed it firmly against the gash above
his right eye. The girl was on her cell phone with the ambulance while
simultaneously placing her scarf under his head. All the while we kept asking, are you ok? Are you ok? He started to move his
head from side to side. The scooter-girl and I let out a deep sigh of relief. We sat there, the three of us waiting for the
ambulance. In the rain. We kept talking to the man and he began to regain consciousness. We exchanged names, forced smiles
and waited. On the bridge. In the rain.
The Ambulance finally arrived and took Jost, I learned he was called, to the hospital. Explaining that he suffered from a concussion but he should be fine. We all said tot zien, and left.
A few days later I got a call from Jost. He said that he had contacted Anne, the scooter-girl and wanted to get together with us to celebrate that the rain had stopped. So there we were, a patchwork of characters three days later at a quiet little cafe sharing beers. Somewhere near a bridge on a canal.
The bridges in Amsterdam support the canal system and connect the streets, boulevards and passageways. But there are other more subtle bridges being constructed between the people of the city every day. New relationships being forged between strangers in a cafe. Clandestine meetings among would be lovers. People of diverse backgrounds and nationalities of every stripe finding common ground to travel by. Profound and deep relationships develop beyond the cheap narrative and popular stereotype being built daily in this amazing town. It is indeed something to celebrate.
Three people were randomly slung together and shared a fortuitous experience at a bridge on an awful day in the Amsterdam rain. On occasion the three of us still get together for beers. Despite the rain.
A friend of mine once mused that people are so busy building towers that they have little time to build bridges. Here in Amsterdam you will find your bridge.~ZT