This might be one of those stories where you just had to be there…but anyway:
Last summer, I hopped a train from Brussels to Amsterdam for a day trip. In my pocket, I had a ticket, a few euros, my cell phone that was in the “off” position because I’m too cheap to pay roaming charges, and my passport, which was mostly unnecessary unless I was planning on going to the slammer.
That’s it. I didn’t even carry strawberry lip gloss in case I met a random Pierre who wanted to kiss me under a cobblestone bridge.
If I was smart, I would’ve had a multi-lingual traveling companion or at least a Dutch-English dictionary, but I’m wild about adventure. Or at least, I like to watch it on the teevee. Adventure is why I have six kids. Actually, I’m more of a big picture, concept person who likes to delegate details and worry about the particulars later. Pesky details are for the house help. (I do not have house help.)
On the way to Amsterdam, a French nun sat down next to me in the second class cabin. At the next stop, a dark-haired woman boarded the train and took the open seat on the other side of me. She was a prostitute. So there we were– one, two, three – quite the traveling parody.
My husband later asked me how I knew both of their occupations since none of us knew how to speak the others’ language ( <--subtle nuance alert), and I said, “There were both in uniform.” I was in uniform, too, with my sale-priced JC Penny pink v-neck sweater and kicky little gold hoops. Well, this was just too dreamy. Maybe this was a movie. Irony is delicious to me. Do you ever feel caught in the middle of two extremes? I was feeling sure God had a sense of humor. That maybe the angels were teaching a lesson on superlatives -- clothed, clothed-er, clothed-est -- and they had to line us up to make the lesson easier to understand for the concrete thinkers in the group. Or maybe someone was just messing with me. Or maybe this is normal and I need to get out more. [caption id="attachment_3319" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I toured the city by foot before getting into a cab, fighting with the driver for stealing my money, and then getting dumped off in the Red Light District."][/caption]
I don’t know how or why it happened. I just know that there was a nun, a housewife, and a prostitute sitting in a row on a gray train one summer in Amsterdam. As it turned out, the nun’s train ticket was for the wrong day. Since I was paying attention, I looked at us all and smiled.