Amsterdam

July 2002

Sometimes things happen that just boggle the imagination.They are not outside the realm of possibility, just highly improbable.

In Winter of 1998 or ’99, I was in Amsterdam doing a cd with an electric bassist for an obscure little record label. The label got all of the musicians a little house to stay in out of town, but it was not right- the beds were too small, it was freezing cold, crowded, far away from everything, in short, a nightmare. After one sleepless night all of us insisted on staying at a hotel in town, so they moved us to one. Unfortunately, all the hotels were very busy, so I had to change my room the second night. And after 2 nights, they had to move us to another hotel down the street. Meanwhile, we were recording live to 2-track all day long at a nearby church, and it was a lot of hard, stressful work.

I know one person in Amsterdam, a harmonica player that I thought I should call, but I waited until the recording was done before I called him. I don’t know this guy that well, and the atmosphere at the church was too tense to invite a stranger into.

We finally finished recording, but not before the hotel made me change my room again. This time, I noticed a strange poster on the wall. It said “Dr. Hot and Neon” – I had no idea what it meant. Most hotel rooms have abstract paintings or touristy pictures on the wall. It was kind of odd, but I didn’t pay much attention to it or try to figure out what it was. After all, it was Amsterdam, a pretty eccentric place, and I was really tired.

So the next morning I called Steve to come meet me for lunch. When he came into my room he had an astonished look on his face.
“That’s me!”, he shouted, staring in shock at the poster on the wall. He was “Neon”, part of a juggling/music/comedy act that he used to do in Amsterdam at least ten years before. After all the hotels and different rooms, I finally called the one person I knew in Amsterdam and his picture was hanging on my wall! I had absolutely no idea that it was him when I had looked at it, and none of the other rooms in the hotel had that poster. We both laughed for a long time.
It falls into the “possible but highly improbable” category, and was a much-needed dose of humor for me after a rough week.


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