We, Pippi and I were biking back to the shop the other day – Thursday – yeah Thursday – just couple of days ago I guess. Seems longer already – well anyway we had just stopped briefly at the Wilsonsplein so Pippi could check out the newly refurbished bike merry-go-round and I said no no no time but… ok quickly cause there is someone waiting for Poppa in the shop and yeah I didn’t want to be a bad Dad, so we stopped at the playground and she was quck about it all and it was cold out, so we got back on the bakfiets and headed to the shop and along the Ged. Raamgracht there was this old man biking infront of us and just as he went to make the turn from the Ged. Raamgracht onto the Doelstraat some guy came bounding down along the sidewalk from the opposite direction. Now this guy was moving at a quick pace, not running but bounding down the sidewalk, waving his arms and yelling, eyes wild and this guy sees the old man there making the turn from the Ged. Raamgracht onto the Doelstraat and starts shouting at him and then bounds right across the corner of the Dolestraat and the Ged. Raamgracht and pushes the old man off his bike – wham! The old man goes down hard onto the sidewalk and the guy is still yelling at the old man and I stop the bakfiets and jump off without thinking twice and start shouting at the guy: “What the FUCK are you doing?” And I move to see if the old man is ok and then this guy: – eyes ALIGHT comes at me – fits swinging screaming and raving and I’m like – “Dude what the fuck are you doing man, back the fuck off!” And the guy is coming at me and I hear Pippi screaming and the guy gets in close and clocks me in the nose and my glasses go flying and blood just starts pouring out of my face and I feel my left knee buckle and I am hearing Pippi screaming and crying and my brain tells me, Josh Josh Josh – fuck this fucking guy – so I lean in with all of my 3 to 5 days a week Fit for Free middle aged muscle and move to tackle this asshole, taking him down by the legs and somehow I get on top of him and with ski gloved hands start pummeling down upon him and now as I write this I have no idea if I was hitting him in the face or the chest or where or what I was doing but I knew that I was just going to keep punching and trying to keep this guy down and then all of a sudden there is this hand pulling on my left shoulder so I look up and its some fucking construction worker and he is yelling at me to fuck off and to get off of the guy and I am screaming back at him: “Fuck you! He attacked me!” Over and over and over and I think I am still punching and then finally somehow I am pulled off the guy and I stand up and look for my glasses them on the street and I grab them before someone steps on them and then the guy pulls himself up off the sidewalk and starts running up the Doelstraat where at the corner of the Doelstraat and the Lange Lakenstraat and he just stops in front of the Bolster office and pulls his pants down in front of the door and squats down like he is going to take a shit and then he pulls his pants back up and heads down the Lange Lakenstraat and people from the neighborhood are gathering and I am yelling for someome to call the fucking police as blood is pouring out of my nose and I remove my gloves and try to stop the bleeding with a dirty bandana and Pippi is screaming and crying Poppa Poppa Poppa and I go to her and pick her up but don’t wanna freak her out and get blood all over her and I am trying to explain to her what just happened by saying that the man was probably a bit sick in his head. More neighbors are gathering offering help and asking if I am alright, if Pippi is alright and so woman says: “Oh gossie” and the old man is thankfully back on his feet and finally the cops show up and start chasing down this crazed guy and people are saying that “he is there, he is there!” and some woman is standing there crying, saying that this guy is her son and that he is normally not like this and that he is a sweet boy and all that they did was smoke some weed and I am hear this am like WTF! and there are neighbors offering Pippi candy and peppernoten and Capri Suns and I am grateful and thank everyone fort heir support and tell them that I am ok and try to explain what the fuck just happened and down the street closer to Jan Monnikendam four cops catch up to the guy and pull him down and get him face down on the cobblestones and the guy is still yelling and sceaming as they try to subdue him and Pippi is thankfully no longer crying and she is calming down and I calm down enought to call Esther to come down from the shop and pick Pippi up and she does and she shoots me a look like WTF is going on and I say that I will fill her in in a few minutes and Pippi calmly goes off with Esther to the shop and I am waiting and still no cop comes to talk to me and I am getting a bit impatient honestly so I step up and the female officer says that she will be right with me so I step back and wait and then she comes over to me and I tell her what’s what.
So I do. And the cop asks if I want to do make an aangifte and I am like uh, I don’t know and at that moment I am probably in a bit of shock but am doing my best to play it cool cause yeah like I have an image ya know. Really I was just trying to contain myself and breath. For that very morning I had decided to start meditating, so I am doing my best to stay calm and the cop, she says to me that I can always do an aangifte after the fact, so I say ok, that I would think about it. I am wiping blood from my face and well there is no ambulance or medical assistance offered by any of the cops on the scene and well the female cop was pleasant and professional enough but again WTF. So I say to the crazed guys mother, who apparently doesn’t speak Dutch, that I have a shop up the street and that well when everything calms down if she would please just stop by and explain to me what the fuck had just happened. That I would like to know this and she is crying and apologizing to me and I tell her that it is ok, cause I do that for some reason. And then I just turned and walked away.
And as I walk up the Doelstraat it is quiet and my hands are covered in blood and my nose hurts but as far as I can tell doesn’t seem to be broken. I get back in the shop and there are people actually in it and everyone is like what the fuck happened and the guest musician who also grew up in the same hometown and now lives in L.A. yet whom I never meet in person is there and he offers a hand and I show him my blood covered hands and say that an elbow will have to suffice till I can clean myself up and Chris Murphy says, man you just earned some mean street cred and I just laughed and thought man, you just meet me. And a little bit later two women from the neighborhood who had seen the whole chaos go down came into the shop with a stuffed unicorn, a chocolate lollipop and a mandarin for Pippi and Pippi was of course super happy with the unicorn and the chocolate lolly that she ate right away and of course didn’t want the mandarin and the instore was a bit too loud but also quite fine. So was the mandarin.
Now, to make a long story just a bit shorter…, I spoke to the cops on the phone the next morning and they were pleasent enough and shared with me whatever info they could. The officer on the phone even asked if I was ok. I said that I was and knew that I even though I thought I was, that I was lying. I asked again about doing an aangifte and the officer on the phone said that the old man had already done one and that the guy, who was a British citizen had become very calm once they got him to the station, that hi mand his mother were here visitng and that he would have to return to Haarlem on the 9th of February to stand before a judge. What his sentence or fine might be the cop could not say. I was curious who this guy was and yes, what the fuck was going on with him. I couldn’t and still can’t conjure up his face. If I had to sit with a sketch artist I would know where to start. Maybe under hypnosis like in the films I might be able to dredge it out of my subconscious. Anyway, I thanked the cop and hung up the phone. I decided not to go to the gym yesterday instead fell back to sleep on the couch. The adrenaline was up.
When I woke up from my nap I decided that I was going to do the aangifte after all. If the old man had done it I figured that I should as well. So I first dropped some stuff off a the shop and then headed over to the Koudenhorn, where it took the cold and seemingly couldn’t be bothered cop behind the counter 15 minutes to find anything in the system about what had happened, asking me over and over: “Where did it happen, what happened, where is that what street again?” And I was all like, uh sir someone from here called me this morning, not more than three hours earlier to discuss it all with me, so there has to be something in your system about it all and then he just mmm’ed me and hunched his shoulder and took off his fucking reading glasses and rubbed his chin and asked me to take a seat. And yeah 10 minutes later he calls me back to the counter and says: “So you want to make an aangifte?” And I say yes, that since the old man did I thought that I should too. And the cop says that I shouldn’t base what I was going to do on what the old man did and I am like what???? And I say that I need to make the aangifte so I can give this whole fucked up situation sort of possible closure for myself and the cop just mmmm’s and shrugs his shoulders again and then says that me doing the aangifte can’t happen then and there, that it was not possible and that the next available time to do so was the following week Friday, a week from then. And I start to get a bit upset and am on the verge of either telling him to fuck off or start crying and instead I just get angry and say “are you kidding me?” and the cop just mmmm’s and awwwee’s me more and points to the celing saying that it comes from upstairs and that they don’t have enough personel and I am like WTF and I take a deep breath and say, my voice trembling just a bit “sir, with all due respect, I am just a citizen who stepped out of his bubble to help another citizen who was randomly attacked by some crazed person and then I am violently attacked by this same crazed person, while infront of my five year old daughter and I got my nose punched in and am standing here less than twenty four hours after the incident to make the aangifte and you are telling me that I have to wait till a week from now before I can actually do this.?” Ja uhm Ja ummm, waaa, mmmm, ja van boven, he replies…and I continue to say “does it suprise you at all that people have little faith in what the police do anymore?” And then I turned and just walked out, resisting the urge to give the Koudehoorn the middle finge. Instead I just took a deep breath, cursed a bit then got back on my bike and rode to the shop and when I got there Rob and Clemens asked me how it went and I said “Ice Cube said it best. Fuck the Police.”
And my shoulders are tense and the back of my kneck is sore and everything that happened is weighing on my mind, out of balance in my imagination and by now I may have told the story of what happened over 25 times and I am already tired of it and I tried to meditate but could not focus on my breathing so I just accepted that and let the meditation go and that was when I had decided to take that nap before talking to the cops on the phone and then going to the Koudehoorn where I came face to face with how a civil service system, that asks from us as citizens to work together with them can fail us when we need them the most and how this makes us feel small and frustrated and then I figure well it is a good thing that I don’t have to interact with the police that often and that it could have all been much worse and how people need to be very careful when smoking that skanky chemical Dutch weed and I am wondering if that was the only thing that had set that guy off or maybe there was something else that led tot his psychosis. But I am trying to stay cool and calm so I just shrug it off for now but I know it is not as easy as all that. I am in no need of playing the tough guy roll but I do feel a sense of being proud of myself for being the type of person who will stop to help out another personcause that is what citizens should do for one another and and sometimes people just don’t help one another out for many different reasons and random shit happens all the time and it is scary and this time it happened to me and other times it may happens to you but I hope not. And a thought drifts through my mind, that if Pippi and I had not stopped at the Wilsonsplein so she could ride the refurbished bike merry-go-round then none of this would have happened to us but to someone else and well, I guess that now again we all have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to take a hit for someone else, for one reason or another.
Yeah, that and whatever.
Headerfoto: Wiebrig Krakau