Urban Quagmire

So during my workday I get to bike around town a bit, for lunch or for meetings with key people. Once again, the beauty of life in Amsterdam. HOWEVER, as I was biking back from an appointment today, ahead of me I noticed what looked like a father hitting his child. It was violent, and there was alot of screaming. I immediately decided I was going to stop him, I don’t care if it’s sort of not my business. And as I approached them, I began to notice this childwas being punched, and the child was in fact a woman… and her screams were in English; HELP HELP, SOMEONE HELP, GET THIS MAN OFF OF ME.

So of course, now I’m ready to jump on this guy, I don’t care what the situation is, this aggression will not stand. (as the dude said) At that same moment, an elderly dutch cyclist and a young female dutch cyclist must have decided similar, because we all stopped, shouted, and began approaching the man. He released her, and looked at all of us and said in Dutch — She’s crazy, she was stealing my bike, she’s crazy. To which we all responded, Bullshit — we’re calling the cops, which the dutch girl promptly did. The man tried to act confident and dared us to do it, as if he had nothing to fear. And a split second later he was racing down the street on his bicycle. None of us gave chase.. it was one of those paralyzing moments.

Then it gets weirder, the girl, after thanking us in Slavic-accented English, changes from a crying expression to one of “no.. you know what.. don’t call the police.. I don’t want trouble.” And of course, we don’t listen, and sure enough — she starts running the opposite way down the street.

Picture three strangers. Standing on their bikes, on the side of the road. Trying to make sense of what just happenned and what to do next. The cops wouldn’t come, the girl informed us, claimed there was nothing they could do. The three of us road away together, chit chatting about how we can’t just ride by when someone is getting beaten up. We all agreed, wished each other a good day, and rode off as strangers.

On a more positive note: It’s JB’s birthday, and I can only imagine she, madame L, and the rest of the family/neighbors are celebratin – french countryside style. Happy birthday!

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