by Niall Doherty


You know when you’re in the gym or at the supermarket and you’re all happy with the world and smiling at strangers and saying hello and they just blank you and you wonder what the fuck is wrong with people, why are they so cold, so heartless, where is the human connection? I was one of those strangers today. Tired was all.


I’m not going to make a lot of money this month, surely less than $1k. Which is to be expected, since I’ve cut back on almost all my freelance work to focus on building the course. I know this is necessary, and my savings will tide me over, but psychologically it’s tough to deal with. Spending more than I earn always feels uncomfortable.


There’s a bike shop down off Heinekenplein run by a couple of Serbian dudes. They do good work, offer fair prices, don’t screw anyone over. I like popping into them every now and then, having the chat. This is the kind of neighborhood feel I missed on the road, seeing familiar faces and places on the regular, a sense of home.


I get there early, a bar off the Nes. Was going to bring a book to pass the wait, but it’s better I warm up and get the social juices flowing. I take a stool at the end of the bar and strike up with two ladies alongside. They’re nice, receptive, laughing easy. Then my date calls, stuck across town. “You’ll have to choose me or the light show,” she says. Easy choice.


Texting back and forth, different girl. She wants me to meet her in Utrecht tonight. I could go, but it would be for the wrong reasons. Not because I really want to, but to be a nice guy and not have her pissed at me. So I say no and watch the texts turn upset. I don’t like being the asshole, but sometimes it’s the right thing to be.

7am at the gym

7am at the gym


At the supermarket a fellow shopper comes over to recommend I buy the organic bananas because the others are genetically modified and they pay the farmers pittance and it’s a government conspiracy and big corporations and yadda yadda yadda. I put a hand on his shoulder and say, “Yeah, thanks. I’m still going to buy these bananas.”


Been in Amsterdam almost six months now, and just signed a year-long extension on my apartment. The rent ain’t cheap but people tell me it’s as good as it gets for this part of town. And I am very happy living here. I like not having to pack all my shit and move every few weeks/months. That was fun for a while, but not forever.


In Parkour, your best chance of making a jump is to commit to it fully. You have to fling your two feet forward. Half-assing it means you fall short and may hurt yourself. In other words, taking the scariest action — jumping with two feet — is how you’re most likely to succeed. Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier.


Dutch kids have a favorite game in the school gymnasium. They call it “apenkooi,” which literally translates to “monkeycaging.” This evening I played it with a bunch of grown-ups over in the Jordaan. The floor is lava so you can only step on mats and benches and gymnastic equipment and avoid being tagged. Great fun.


She’s not supposed to be here right now. I have to keep it a secret. There’s me and her and a man with a beard. She talks about ditching her friend in Vietnam, feels guilty about it but shouldn’t. Dawns on me that it’s easier to end a relationship than a friendship. Few people expect a friend to break up with them.

Date night

Date night


I walk into a bright room and see clothes strewn about the floor. Black boots, black pants, black shirt, a tie. In the corner there’s a woman moving like a breeze. She’s blonde and she’s beautiful. She looks at me as she removes her bra, an intense look, and I try to stand strong and return it but we both know she has all the power.


“The only time a man should even contemplate monogamy is after experiencing abundance.” So says Rollo Tomassi. I don’t agree with him completely — it’s in some men’s nature to be monogamous — but abundance is something I’m seeking. Not so much lots of women at the same time, but lots of options.


It’s after midnight on a Saturday and I wade through the merry and loud coming out of Central Station, trying not to begrudge them their silly dances and bad jokes. I’m two hours delayed for having to double back but she was sweet and came to meet me on her bike, what I’d forgotten in hand and a little gift to go with it.


Ran out of patience today with a reader who took issue with what I wrote back on November 14th. He found it offensive “from an Asian stand point and scholarly sociological view for women’s global equality.” I asked that he explain more because I wasn’t seeing it. Then he brought up the Nazis. Wow. He’s going to have a tough time in this world.


Realized cycling home this morning that I’m starting to experience exactly what I wanted in my dating life. And looking back I remind myself that I’m pretty good at making my dreams come true. It never happens as fast as I want, but so long as I persist it always seems to happen. This bodes well for my business goals.

Apenkooi warm-up

Apenkooi warm-up

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

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