(An also possible title could be "Why You Shouldn't Go Overboard with Weed.")
Throughout my week-long trip to the Netherlands, I spent my time hanging with a good friend who had flown over from Dublin.
Now, this friend of mine is a rather decent individual: he is polite, well-versed in general culture and has a fine appreciation of the arts and aesthetic beauty. These qualities meant that the two of us hit off an immediate friendship when we met in Ireland last year.
However, he is extroverted whereas I am introverted. With the exception of one day, nearly every waking moment of our trip was spent with him talking, talking, talking and inquiring if everything was all right with me in the several moments I would run out of energy for social interaction and become silent.
Another way my friend and I differ is on our views of smoking Marijuana. I literally don't care for the stuff and am sensitive to the presence of any smoke. He constantly spent the trip with a bud of pot dangling from his lips, which meant that I had to walk three paces ahead to avoid the smoke blowing in my face.
It was odd for me, the non-smoker, to observe what effects the soft drug had on my friend. Some notable side-effects included his usual garrulous demeanor being maintained in a more subdued form, having the need to laugh and giggle for no particular reason, and frequently repeating questions. He also took to accusing me of not loving animals whilst we BOTH ate meat-based food.
My friend also reported that visiting the Van Gogh museum while high was particularly enjoyable due to the bright, swirling colors of the Impressionist paintings coming to life before his skewed vision.
|"DUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuude..." (Yes, that is the recently discovered painting, complete with a "TARDIS" in the background.)|
|"Oh my God. Dude."|
|"Dude. This chair. It's like it wants to speak to me."|
I had to take his word for it.
My friend also reported experiencing headaches from his smoking. On the one day we parted ways, I
I had expected that he would have remained in the city centre all day long. I was therefore surprised to discover that he had returned to the hotel at four in the afternoon. I joined him in the hotel room and found him lying in bed, in the dark, with Dutch T.V. blaring on the screen. I asked what was wrong and why he had left the bustling city so early.
"The Coffee Shops were all crowded, and I felt SO ALONE without you. I really, really missed you. I'm so glad you're back."
"Interesting that you felt lonely while surrounded by other people. Knowing you, you would have started to socialize with somebody in a heartbeat..."
"Yes, I did talk to a couple of Spanish guys, but they left. Then I got a massive headache from all the weed I smoked and needed sleep. I'm so glad you're back. I haven't had lunch. I'm really hungry now. Have you had dinner?"
"I've had some beer and bitterballen, and if you want something now, my friends gave me--"
"THAT'S NOT DINNER. I want FOOD. I want steak!"
We eventually found steak and my friend, while tucking into his medium-done chunk of Rib Eye, accused me of being a meat-loving carnivore.
It was January 1st, 2014 and it being our last day in the Netherlands, we wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum. My friend disappeared for a few minutes inside a souvenir shop and presented me with a gift. I was wary that, being the first of the year, quite a number of places would be closed. Luckily, the Rijksmuseum was open and we spent a few hours of our day drooling over the works of Rembrandt and Vermeer.
|The Milkmaid, currently seen in France as the symbol for selling French custard.|
Prior to dinnertime, I wanted to take a stroll in Vondelpark. We didn't stay long because it began to rain and the sun had nearly set. My friend and I decided that we would scout a quiet place to have dinner for our New Year's Day meal.
We tried finding places to eat around Max Euplein and Leidesesplein. My friend always made a detour to whatever Coffee Shop was open, simply to "see what it was all about." We kept walking and eventually settled at a nice place on Leidsedwarsstraat. The waiter welcomed us to sit wherever there was an empty table. I promptly ordered a nice Belgian beer, a plate of bitterballen and asked what the dinner special was.
"We have mashed potatoes, vegetables, and venison cooked in a red wine sauce."
Perfectly cooked venison, in a red wine sauce? My adventurous taste buds and adopted Frenchness said "YES" in a heartbeat. The waiter left our table to give us a few more minutes to decide on the meal. My friend said he would have the daily special, stood up, stated he would be back and walked out of the restaurant. The plate of bitterballen arrived and I dunked one meatball into the mustard. While eating it, I began to feel sad that I would soon no longer have easy access to such a delicious treat.
My friend soon returned with a plastic container holding a chunk of chocolate cake. His triumphant grin clued me into thinking that his purchase had not come from Albert Heijn.
"Do you want some bitterballen," I asked. "You might as well eat one as it is still hot."
"Soon enough," he replied, still grinning.
The waiter came by our table again, pen and notebook in hand. Before he asked if we were ready to order, his attention questioningly turned to the chocolate lump sitting on the table. He pointed his pen to it and observed "Ah, that's for after dinner."
Little did he know that after our order had been taken, my friend would sneak out once more and eat half of the Space Cake before he had even taken his first munch of bitterballen. I wasn't too worried about him eating the Space Cake because, according to the explanation that accompanied the container, one only began to feel the effects kick in an hour later.
What I had not known about the day was that when my friend left to purchase the cake, he had also smoked an entire joint before eating the Space Cake.
The striking effects of the weed had an immediate result. The conversation during our meal was interrupted by periods of giggling coupled with him making introspective observations and asking me questions.
"I feel sad that we're eating venison. It's just not right," he stated.
"Why? Don't you eat meat?" I asked, fearing that in his drugged state, my friend had suddenly sworn allegiance to PETA.
"Yes, but you are a right carnivore!" he accused. "You absolutely enjoy eating meat, don't you?"
"Yes, I do. And so do you."
"Yes...yes, I do," he conceded in a murmur.
He began to eat his vegetables and mashed potatoes. After a few minutes, I noticed that he made a point to avoid cutting the venison.
"Eat the venison," I said like a mother scolding a picky eater.
"No, I don't want to. I keep thinking of the poor, little deer that was slaughtered for this meal."
"Oh, come now. I know this isn't the first time you've eaten meat."
"I know, but still...the poor, little deer. What did it do to us to deserve this cruel fate?"
I restrained a groan and tried to make him reason.
"You've eaten chicken, right?"
"And beef, and fish, and pork."
"In fact, you had steak the other day. And you liked it."
"Yes. And it was SO GOOD. You really enjoyed eating that steak, too, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did."
"I know you did, because you are a carnivore. You really enjoy eating meat, right?"
"You've already asked me that question about three times."
"Oh. Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee. You ARE a carnivore!"
"Riiiiiiight. Well, what makes the deer so different to the other animals in terms of eating their meat?"
"They're not as cute as the deer."
I made the conscious effort to not let my flat palm smack my forehead in public. My friend stared at me with his blood-shut eyes.
"You don't love animals, do you?" he inquired sadly. I wouldn't stand to have my dietary habits be vilified by someone who ate meat as much as I did.
"Well, I do like to eat 'em. But I'm not going to sit down to eat a cat or dog anytime soon," I snapped.
He looked down at his plate with guilt.
"Oh, go on," I insisted. "The food is really, really good!" He conceded and took his first bite of the venison.
"OH WOW. THIS FOOD IS SO GOOD. AND THESE MASHED POTATOES ARE DIVINE!"
I thought the mashed potatoes were slightly above average at best, but agreed with him. He had great difficulty cutting his meal and I offered to help. Offended, he struck his fork against the plate with a clatter and said "Who do you think you are, some kind of mother? Do you think that I can't even cut my own food?"
I looked at the plate streaked haphazardly with sauce and vegetables. It resembled a Van Gogh painting.
"No. I don't. That's why I'm offering to help."
He sighed and told me not to worry. He began to giggle for no reason and voiced a desire to drink warm chocolate milk. With whipped cream. And he stressed warm milk. Not too hot, not too cold. I placed Goldilock's order with the waitress, who looked inquisitively at my still-giggling friend. I explained to her that I was a bit concerned about his state, mentioning that he had eaten some Space Cake.
"Oh, well, he should be perfectly fine," she said, being a veteran at seeing drugged tourists. "Usually, you don't feel the Space Cake until after an hour of eating it."
"Yes, but he had also smoked a joint prior to eating it."
"Oh, well..." She rushed to get the warm, not too hot, not too cold, chocolate milk.
"You're in luck. It's apparently Chocomel." He began to drink the warm Chocomel with gusto. He giggled. Then frowned.
"What's wrong?" I asked, fearing that he had found the beverage unsatisfactory. He stared at me once more.
"Oh, the poor little deer...You have no compassion, you carnivore."
To this day, my friend still isn't a vegetarian.
And the gift he gave me?
|I should have no trouble fitting in the Netherlands now. :P|
I just checked the number of posts (published or not) I've got saved.