Great news everyone! My bicycle and I have been reunited!
That’s right. After a week of searching everywhere I have finally managed to find the spare keys and free my bicycle from its chains… Well… To be more specific; my wife found the keys… after less than five minutes of looking… in the bowl were we keep the spare keys… The bowl I had forgotten about…
But details are not important. The important thing is that I have my bike once more and it did not involve risking arrest while attempting to saw through my own locks (but thank you for all the suggestions. They will come in handy the next time this inevitably happens again).
I didn’t even recognise the keys at first when my (wife held them out in front of me). It was only after successfully unlocking my bike that I was sure they were the right keys, at which point I proceeded to cheer loudly and fist pump the air. This coursed several nearby people to give me worried looks and take a few steps away. But I didn’t care. I was just happy, happy to be reunited with my faithful bicycle once more. I cycled off, with a warm feeling inside, thinking about how lucky I can be at times and how I will never let anything bad happen to my bike ever again… and then the bicycle chain snapped… and I nearly crashed.
If one day you find yourself wondering through the bicycle racks of Amsterdam and you happen to see a lonely and forgotten red bicycle, please stop for a moment and spare it a thought.
This poor bicycle will never know freedom again. It will never be able to do all the thing that bicycle’s enjoy and are supposed to do. Never again will it cycle… anywhere…
But it does not know this yet. Instead it waits faithfully, each morning, for its owner to return. It becomes excited by every passing tourist with ginger hair who looks slightly like the owner it loves and adores.
But time will pass by and it will stay where it is… forever chained… slowly rusting… silently waiting for a freedom that will never come. And then one horrible day it will finally lose all hope and realize that no one is coming, no one will ever ride it again. And in that tragic moment it will know the fate it has been left to suffer… Because its owner (me) is an idiot and lost its keys (again).
I’m actually really sad about this (even more so after writing this farewell). It is true that this is not the first time something like this has happened. My bike has been lost to me before. But I fear this time might be the last time. With each fruitless search for the spare keys my hopes of freeing my bike from its bicycle rack prison diminishes a little more.
I’ve had my faithful little red bike ever since I first arrived in Holland in 2001. It is… was… the only bike I’ve ever had. I don’t know if I will ever learn to love another bike again but I guess I must try to get on with my life… somehow. I will always treasure the happy cycling memories that we had together… me and my little red bike.
Good bye old friend. I will miss you.
“You are irritating.”
“Excuse me?” I ask, puzzled by the sudden opinion of my character.
I was very surprised by this. It was not something I was expecting… That’s not to say that people are not allowed to find me irritating. I’m sure there are people who do. However, it’s always surprising when they say such a thing to your face. Especially when it comes from your Dutch dentist who has just spent the last ten minutes cleaning your teeth in total silence. I’d heard of Dutch directness before but this was taking it to a new level.
“Your gums are irritating.” He added, somehow managing to make the earlier statement even more confusing.
It was not a question. It was more of a confused ‘should I be apologising about this’ apology attempt.
I had not been aware of anything my gums had been doing to offend people or even that gums could be offensive to some people, especially dentists. And if it was possible… well… maybe he had made the wrong career decision.
“You’ve not been brushing properly. They are irritating.”
That made a little more sense I guess… in a strange sort of way. It must be pretty irritating as a dentist when people don’t brush and floss properly. Every day must bring a new level of frustration as cavities and infections that could have been prevented slowly chip away at his soul piece by piece. At night he must go home, infuriated by the insanity of it all, not knowing how he can possibly face another day of drilling and root canals. And when his wife finally breaks the silence by asking him how his day has been he does the only thing he can do. He screams out in an anguished reply, “Why can’t these damn people take oral hygiene seriously!”
I’m suddenly snapped out of the imaginary scenario by the sound of my dentist (the real one) saying something.
“You have to look after your gums better. Otherwise they will become more irritating.”
I blink. I’m suddenly confused again…
There is something strange in the way he is using the word…
It does not actually sound like he is annoyed with me or my gums…
And then suddenly, as if from a great height, the penny drops…
Oh… He means ‘irritated’.
You people are terrible… I confess my terrible struggle with Speculoos addiction to you and what do you do? How do you help me? Do you offer words of encouragement? Do you organise surprise interventions? Do you help me through the difficult stages of Speculoos withdrawal? No. You find even more speculoos products for me to become addicted to.
“Hey Stuart. Did you know you can get chunky Speculoos spread too?”
“Have you tried this Speculoos ice-cream? It is so good.”
“Would you like a Speculoos Easter Egg Stuart?”
“Stuart! You simply must try this Speculoos pasta sauce!”
Ok, I might have made that last one up but that does not make my point any less valid.
Some of you have even sent me ‘free samples’ likes some kind of Speculoos drug dealer trying to get me hooked on the latest Speculoos product, each of you trying to find the strangest and weirdest Speculoos/random food combination possible.
And what is the latest product you have found? What is the newest thing you are all trying to get me addicted too?…
Great! Now my Speculoos problem is in danger of becoming a drinking problem… I never thought Speculoos would be able to give me liver damage. Thanks a bunch.
Many of the long term readers will already know the story of my long and difficult struggle with Speculoos addiction. For a long time I was powerless against the desire and the uncontrollable need for its delicious goodness. My addiction to the Speculoos sandwich paste was particularly bad.
When the addiction was at its worst I was on two, sometimes three jars of the stuff a month. Sometimes the need would get so bad that I would lick the empty jars clean. In fact, I would continue to eat the stuff even when it made me feel unwell. I tried to seek help but apparently you can’t actually OD from Speculoos addiction according to the so called doctors who dismissed me from the hospital emergency room.
I just couldn’t stop myself. One time, when the shops were shut and I desperately needed a fix, I tried crushing Speculoos biscuits and mixing them with butter to make my own. It was not a pretty sight (also, it didn’t work) .
It took hitting rock bottom to make me realize just how serious my problem was. I knew something had to be done.
It was not easy. It was a long and difficult road to recovery but I got myself clean. I got my addiction under control and I got my life back. I have not touch Speculoos for three years. I am no longer tempted by its delicious goodness. I am free of its control… At least I thought I was until I saw this…
Oh my god. It’s sooooo good! I can’t help myself.